In which our intrepid hero tries to convince his dear readers that his thoughts have touched upon roleplaying numerous times in the past four months.

One of the downsides of gallivanting about the country is that I get behind on my blog reading. I’m slowly catching up again, though, and I’m only trailing the rest of the world by about three weeks.

I’m up to the part where everyone stops celebrating GM’s Day and word of Gary Gygax’s passing starts to filter across the Net. Ouch.

At the time, I dedicated a Facebook album of photos of Tasmania’s Newdegate Cave to Gygax’s memory—the AD&D1e “D” series really sparked a lifelong interest in caverns that I’ve really only just been able to indulge.

I never had the opportunity to meet Gygax, and I can’t think of anyone I know (off the top of my head) who met him either. Nonetheless, the man had an enormous impact on my life and although I failed to keep up with his efforts in recent years, there will remain a Gygax-shaped hole in my heart for a long time to come.

Whilst replying to this entry on game designer Charles Rice’s blog, I realised that I haven’t posted a roleplaying-related post myself since last November. (Coincidentally, it was this review of five of Rice’s products.)

Which is not to say that I haven’t been writing them—just that I haven’t pulled finger and actually gotten them finished. Sorta like that whole WoAdWriMo thing.

Part of the problem is that I haven’t gamed in some time, so the whole subject of gaming lacks a certain immediacy. For about a year, I’ve been on the cusp of moving interstate, hampered mostly by family concerns and the slowest probate solicitor ever to drag his feet across the face of the Earth. Consequently, I’ve hesitated to start a new game, aware that I might have to start packing at any moment.

Which sucks, because I’ve been itching to run parties through Masks of Nyarlathotep, an epic mashup of campaigns from both editions of Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, the Freeport Trilogy, Pathfinder: Rise of the Runelords and an experimental D&D sandbox game based on homebrew conversions of Chaosium’s excellent Lovecraft Country supplements. And perhaps even playtest the aforementioned, very, very late WoAdWriMo entry—once I get it finished of course.

Frankly, Mim K/W and I are fed up with waiting, and we’re moving to Tasmania in 4-6 weeks, regardless. In North American terms, it’s like a move from New York to Halifax, Nova Scotia.

I’d love to game remotely with friends staying behind in Sydney, but Skype—whilst it supports conference calls and video calls—doesn’t support video conferencing. When I’m at my peak, my GMing repertoire incorporates all sorts of theatrics, including facial expressions; voice-only or text-only games, as far as I’m concerned, amputate any nuance of performance down to a stump.

So I guess I’ll have to find a new group. Randal Graves’ climactic speech from Clerks II comes to mind.

In the interim, however, D&D4e will come out. I’ve deliberately stayed out of all the supposition and hype, only taking in what I’ve heard on the D&D Podcast. For the moment, I’ll buy the three core books when they come out, but I’ll otherwise reserve judgement until I’ve seen what all the hoopla is about.

If I can’t find a group playing 4e, or I just don’t like the system, then I doubt that I’ll buy more products. And I’m yet to be convinced that the $USD120-180/year online component will be a worthwhile investment in any case.

(Hell, at this stage, I’m not even entirely certain I’d be up to GMing 3e/3.5 again—it just got too slow and cumbersome for its own good.)

On the other hand, I watch FFG‘s newfound stewardship over Warhammer FRP and Dark Heresy with mounting interest…