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Speak Out With Your Geek Out – My Manifesto

For Day 4 of Speak Out With Your Geek Out, I will make a few promises to myself:

  1. I will not suffer Geek Shame.  For most of my life, when people asked me about my hobbies, I usually answered with reading, grilling, computer games, computer hacking, etc., but I always shied away from the role-playing games.  No more.  I will make that one of the first things I mention, if not the first.  I’m through with Geek Shame.
  2. I will engage others in conversation about my Geek passions.  This flows from the last promise.  When people ask, “What do you mean by ‘role-playing games,'” I will explain it, to the best of my ability.  However, I must make sure that I don’t drone on, bore the questioner, and possibly drive them off.  As a geek, I do tend to get overexcited about my passions.
  3. I will try to bring people into my Geek hobbies and/or passions.  This, too, flows from the last promise.  Excitement is contagious, and if the person with whom I am conversing seems interested, I will invite them to my next game, perhaps, or loan them a rulebook.  Gaming is a social activity, after all, which is improved with more participants (to a point, of course).
  4. I will cultivate the Geek traits and interests in my daughters.  Flows from the last, again.  (Hmm, a pattern emerges?)  Being a father is a pillar of my self-definition.  I see the nascent traits in all three of my girls.  I will do my best to encourage their Geek to grow.  At the same time, I will do my best to instill in them the self-confidence that I lacked.  I must, must, must be certain not to force them into anything.  I know well enough what that is like.
  5. I will work harder to make time for my Geek passions.  (And the pattern falls!)  Real life rears its ugly head oh-too-often.  I have obligations to family, friends, work, home-upkeep, etc..  I am not complaining, but this does take up nearly all of my time.  I will work harder to live up to these obligations in a more timely manner, so as to open up the time for my Geek.

Looking over my list, it seems I want to focus on being myself at all times, teach others about my Geek hobbies, as well as bring others into the hobbies.  Perhaps I’m not being too ambitious, but I’m happy with it.

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Posted by on Thursday, 15 September 2011 in Gaming, Personal

 

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I Am A Geek

Speak Out With Your Geek Out

I am a Geek.  I have been for as long as I was aware of what it means to be a Geek.

I do not advertise my Geek at work, or church, or in my neighborhood.  But, I do not deny it – not any more.  It took many, many years for me to feel confident enough to get to this point.

I imagine most of my old girlfriends would be surprised to learn that I played Dungeons & Dragons while we were dating.  I imagine that most of my high school and college friends would be just as surprised.  That was due to my Geek Shame.  I learned early on in life to hide the Geek within me.

But everything I am today I owe to my Geek.  My love of math, science and logic helped me earn my degree and get the jobs I have had since college.  My love of reading, science fiction, and fantasy has opened my mind to what could be, and provided countless hours of entertainment to myself and my family.  In my daughters, I see and encourage the growth of their imagination, and delight at their creations.  I also do my best as a father to instill in them the self-confidence I never had as a child.

My name is Mark Perotti.  I play Dungeons & Dragons, and other RPGs.  I love science fiction and fantasy.

And, I am a Geek.

This is my first post in participation of Speak Out With Your Geek Out.  Tune in tomorrow for more.

 
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Posted by on Monday, 12 September 2011 in Gaming, Personal

 

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So, Let Me Tell You About My Campaign…

I’m a gamer.  More precisely, I am a role-playing gamer.  If you don’t know what that means, feel free to use a search engine to learn about it.  Go ahead… I’ll wait until you come back…

OK, so you know what an RPG is.  I’ve been the GM of my group for nearly three years now.  I’ve been a member of the same group, with slight changes in player composition, for thirteen years.  The problem, throughout the entire run, but especially for the last three years, is the frequency with which we are able to meet to play.  The reasons are numerous, such as family events, sickness, work, life in general.  The most recent game with this group happened way back in January.  (Dear Lord, it’s really been half a year since we last gamed!)

So, with this dearth of gaming, I have really been itching to game.  Circumstances haven’t changed, so I don’t foresee us gaming for a while.  So, what does one do when one is jonesing for a game, but one’s group cannot meet regularly?  Well, one could find new players and start a new game.  Unfortunately, one would also have to be able to meet regularly with said new group, and this one can’t really commit to that.

Alright, then, what does one do in that case?  Well, in my case, I’ve found a new gaming outlet: Play-by-Post (PbP) gaming!

PbP is a style of RPG that occurs entirely online.  The game itself is played out on an online forum, where the GM posts about a situation, and the players post their characters’ response to the situation.  The GM then posts how the situation changes due to their actions, and so on.

Here’s the conundrum: I’ve never participated in a PbP before, as a player or a GM.  I’ve read many PbP game forums, so I have an idea what PbP games are like, but I still have no first-hand experience with them.  Nevertheless, I wanted to forge ahead, and learn as I go.  I was fortunate –  I was able to find three players who have never been involved in a PbP either.  I call myself fortunate in this regard because we are all learning together, and I feel a little more confident because of it.  It is parallel to my initial foray into tabletop pen-and-paper (PnP) RPGs… but that’s a topic for another post.

Another difference for me is the game, Gamma World.  I’ve only ever played and GMed Dungeons and Dragons, in all of its editions.  Well, once I did GM a Toon RPG game, but that was all, and I considered it a disaster – not a fault of the game either, but of the person running it.  But I digress.  So, this is my first time GMing Gamma World, my first time being involved with PbP, leading a group of first-time PbP players. Whew!  For those who may be interested, the campaign, But Not A Drop To Drink, can be found on the ENnie Award-nominated site Obsidian Portal.

So, what have I learned about this new (to me) style of RPG so far?

  1. The pace is slow, even glacial, compared to the traditional, face-to-face PnP game.  We’ve been running this game since July 7 – ten days ago.  I’ve made three “in-character” posts, each of my players have made two.  Fifteen minutes of in-game time has elapsed so far.  I anticipate that to slow even more once combat breaks out.  This pace has its advantage – each of us has ample time to consider our actions and reactions, to read earlier posts for information (just in case we missed something previously, or, perish the thought! – forgot something), or to ask for more information or clarification.  It has disadvantages – for example, every time I post, as GM, I find myself waiting eagerly for my players to respond.
  2. Your words are paramount.  In a text-only communication medium, your writing must be clear, precise, understandable, and informative.  This is more important for the GM, it seems, because the GM is responsible for the world, the NPCs, the events, and, basically, everything the players are not responsible for.  Still, the players must make sure they are clearly describing their characters’ thoughts, emotions and actions.
  3. PbPs are more akin to collaborative fiction than to traditional RPGs.  Depending on the protocols agreed to (or set in place by the GM), the players have more narrative control over the scene than in PnP games.  Is there a rock on the ground that the character can use to smash a lock?  Well, there is if the player says so, and as long as it doesn’t contradict how the GM has set the scene.
Honestly, I’m very happy with how this PbP game is unfolding.  I find myself eagerly anticipating the players’ next posts, as well as the opportunity to post my own replies.  The next “deadline” for the players’ in-character posts is tomorrow evening, Monday, 18 July at 11:59 PM.  I plan to post a follow-up report here at Elf Steaks in a few months, once we all get into a grove and our game and style has more time to develop.
Do any of you have experience with PbP games?  What were the protocols you followed?  Please comment below.
 
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Posted by on Sunday, 17 July 2011 in Gaming

 

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