December musings and self-pity
It's a while now since I made did very much Cthulhu-related, the Derelict post being the exception. I've had low-level health problems for the last few months which have just cut my available energy, and also made it hard to focus. Since work demands quite a lot of that focus, there's not a lot left for hobbies.
The following self-indulgent, self-pitying whinge is skippable, but there might be some broader points of interest in here somewhere...
Gaming writing (be that scenarios or blogs) is surprisingly demanding. I shouldn't really be surprised by that any more, but a lot of the time I am able to roll out a tolerable post within just a couple of evenings, mulling over the finer points in quiet moments at work. On the other hand, those evenings I tend to suddenly realise it's 11pm and I've been typing editing blogposts for four hours - which goes to show how much attention is actually involved. When I can't muster that focus, it's slow and painful work.
I suspect my particular style of writing doesn't help either. My blogposts tend to be fairly analytical, which means I need to be able to muster the points and arguments in my head, juggle them around, think up counterpoints. I like to understand how things work, mechanically and psychologically. I like to consider counterfactual cases - what if instead they did this? And I do like to feel they're reasonably comprehensive, at least as far as my own capabilities allow. But that sort of thing, while it falls very short of academic writing (thankfully no longer needed), still requires a certain amount of the same skills and almost as much energy.
Case in point: I'm trying to write a follow-up post for The Derelict discussing the issues involved in single-monster scenarios. I have bits of it floating around my head, but it's so frustratingly vague, and I don't have the energy to force it to coalesce. Oh, I can put down a line or two, but I can't hold the article in my head and write in a coherent way, and I quickly run out of motivation. It's not the article, it's just exhaustion.
So! That aside, the year has been okay in gaming terms (though in few others, I think most of us can agree).
I'm waiting for feedback on Lincolnshire II, and hope to look it over again in January with an eye to playtesting it sometime soonish. If it works out well I'm wondering about trying to combine the non-plot parts of both, giving me essentially a Gaslight Lincolnshire resource with two scenarios associated, and then looking to add the third when I feel ready to tackle it again. At the moment I'm duplicating a lot of background material across the two.
As usual I'm getting ideas vastly faster than I could write them, even if I didn't have a day job. Only yesterday I had what I think is quite a cool idea, though it would need a lot of input from some archaeologists. I feel writing a scenario about archaeologists, substantially based on doing archaeology, probably requires more information than even Helen's Handbook supplies. To be fair, I'm already writing one, but it's... let's say less authentic.
I've started listening to The Curse of Ninevah and am enjoying it so far. It's nice having some longer things to mix with the little BBC programmes for my 45-minute walk to work.
One thing that does strike me, as a biggish listener to actual play podcasts, is how grim a lot of it is. There's a lot of Call of Cthulhu (I think it's one of the better games for the format, being low on mechanics and high on events) and I've sort of struggled to find much else since some of my older podcasts ended, but I find many of them are quite bleak or grim. The players tend to be having fun (YSDC certain do, as do RPPR for example) but the games themselves rarely seem upbeat, even when they aren't Lovecraftian horror. I do repeatedly come back to the idea that I'd like to find some positive and cheerful games to play and listen to. Surely it must be possible? Or does the medium just not really lend itself to the kinds of narratives that work that way?
Anyway! I'm hoping Christmas will give me the time (and the break from work) to recover from whatever mystery illness I've got, and recharge for a thoroughly productive 2017. It'd be nice to bludgeon down that Unwritten Scenarios pile a little, especially as there's now at least three campaigns on there - one of which requires essentially writing a full CoC supplement :S