Friday, February 12, 2016


This is probably my last post, for several reasons.

First, I appear to have well and truly fucked my blogger settings, probably by accidentally hitting some sort of unicode key combination or obscure hotkey that changes whether lines run left to right or right to left in the composition window. This makes writing posts rather inconvenient.

(No, I did not find a solution by googling. Yes, it persists across deleting and starting a new post. It is wreaking hell with my punctuation placement, so I apologize for anything that gets messed up.)

More importantly, I'm pretty well done with fantasy, RPGs, and related. The more nonfiction I read, the paler it all seems; our worlds are shallow and simplistic, our characters likewise. Even if they weren't, what's the point? To pretend to heroism or godhood has lost its appeal to me; better to strive for true abilities in this beautiful, chaotic, universe in which we find ourselves. I understand the necessity of the underlying social ritual, the weekly gathering, but the overt pretext, of The Game, is growing increasingly empty. I've picked up a couple of useful things in my several-thousand-hours of gaming and thinking about gaming over the last decade (exploiting systems, intuition for probability, memorizing rulebooks, historical trivia), but is it really worth putting in another couple of thousand hours to master DMing? I look at Alexis of Tao of D&D, who has made that investment, and I have to conclude that it doesn't seem sensible to me. There are so many other useful, interesting things I could be learning with that time. Opportunity's cousin, Opportunity Cost, also comes a-knocking on occasion.

Finally, I have recently made... not exactly an oath, and not exactly a wish (it was a weird, perhaps even wyrd, experience), and I feel that I must bring it to pass. It seems that the time has come to stake my fortune on an outcome dubious, to commit, to toil and bleed, and (universe willing) to work some figurative magic. Should I fail, perhaps pretending to godhood via DMing will regain some of its luster.

Watch this space for a link to a programming blog to-be-established, but expect no further updates thereafter.


  1. I wish you well on your journey. Several years ago, I sat at the table as GM, looked at my players, and thought to myself, "I don't want to entertain them for 6 to 8 hours."

    I took several years off and it was the best thing I could. Yes, I came back, but I came back knowing that no gaming is bette than bad gaming and my sessions are no more than 2-3 hours now.

    However your journey turns out, I wish you well.

  2. Sorry to hear this. I have really enjoyed reading your blog. You sound perhaps burnt out on these things. I hope you are able to get back to at least gaming in the future.

    A good balance is needed. I am interested in the 'mundane' and the 'fantastical'. If DMing or playing stops being fun, don't do it. However, I think there is a bit of melodrama here, these interests are supposed to be fun hobbies. Not a reason for being.

    I wish you well.

  3. Good luck, and all that's related! And thanks for all the posts.

  4. Thanks for sharing your thoughts for so long. As Mark noted, a break from tasks that once were enjoyable but have become onerous can be magical. Hope you have much success with your new interests, and re-find some love of the game in the future.

  5. It has been an honor and a privilege to play in your games, John. I hate to hear that you're feeling so, but I have no doubts that you'll succeed at whatever you turn your attention to going forward.

    As the book says: "All statements are true in some sense, false in some sense, meaningless in some sense, true and false in some sense, true and meaningless in some sense, false and meaningless in some sense, and true and false and meaningless in some sense."

  6. And so the wheel turns.

    I gamed quite a bit in school, then got busy with work, travel and a new family. I stopped gaming until my two wonderful sons were just old enough to be introduced to what was then a reborn D&D 3e. The two of them approached gaming from very different perspectives consistent with their personalities. The younger - a professional child actor - loved the cinematic scenes he could create in his head and share with us. The older was more analytical and thus adept at exploitation and modification of the systems and rules. The younger no longer games, but makes movies and shares those scenes in the real world.

    As I shared my passion with them, they introduced me to other systems, genres, and types of gaming. Now after a second, shorter, hiatus from gaming, I've found myself in a position in life that allows me to return to it. Perhaps one day, you will too. Whether through having your own next generation to share with, or thru a change in your life situation, I'll be waiting either way.

    Thank you for all the fun over the last many years.

    John's Dad

  7. You don’t know me, but I’ve followed your blog for years. I played in a Champions game with Matt when he was in VA last spring. Funny coincidence: When he told me he played Traveler, I told him about an incredible blog I read called The Wandering Gamist.

    15 years ago I made the same decision you’re making now. I figured it made no sense to roleplay a martial artist when I could become one in real life. Why not spend the 10 hours a week I waste on RPGs on somehing real?

    Well, I never became a martial artist. But I did reinvent my career, meet a wonderful wife, and travel to Europe. And (obviously) returned to gaming. I discovered it was neither real nor illusory— it was simply a hobby. Just like martial arts.

    Hopefully you’ll return to RPGs and take up your blog again. Who knows what will happen between now and then? Whatever you pursue, I wish you the best.

  8. Again, like so many others have already said, your blog has been quite enjoyable, and I hope you can keep it public so we can continue to enjoy it. Either way, good luck with all your future endeavors!