March 29, 2018

[Questing's Musings] Reviewing Gaming Quests for 2017

Questing's Musings is a column where I give my disorganised thoughts about gamemastering, timely topics happening in the gaming community and gaming in general. Part of my wish for this column is, at worst, for it to be a place for me to rant, rave or speak out my random thoughts, and ,at best, spark discussion and exploration of new discourses in gamemastering and gaming. Other than that, it is also most likely where I will put up posts that are not suited for any of the other columns on this blog. The posts here are mostly an unfiltered capture of my thoughts on the topic at hand and should be read as an opinionated soapbox, rather than one that tries to further any sort of agenda. As such, feel free to ignore this column if my personal thoughts on gaming does not interest you in the slightest.  

Once again after trying to commit myself to restarting this blog, I end up going silent for another year's worth. I know you all are tired of reading my excuses and resolutions to get back into blogging, so I will stop declaring my intentions and let my posts do the talking.

I had intended to make this my last post for 2017, so I'll be using this post to close my year of gaming for 2017 before I get into any 2018 content. Despite my silence on this blog throughout the year of 2017, it has been my best gaming year so far as a working adult, and I'm glad to report that gaming is now firmly back in my life again.

So I'll be going through my Gaming Quest of 2017, and report how well I've done by the end of the year.

Start running regular games again

The good news is yes, I'm running regular games again. My current schedule as a DM is currently on a bi-weekly basis on the weekends and I'm currently my group through Out of the Abyss for 5th Edition Dungeons & Dragons. We managed to wrap up half of the module by the end of year 2017, and will be continuing to run the module for 2018. It was good to be back on the saddle to relearn old and new tricks, and I fully suspect this would get me on track to talk more about gamemastering and pondering on gamemastering subject for as long as it lasts. 

Find a new regular gaming group

By far my proudest achievement for 2017 is the current group that I am currently gaming with. Shortly after posting my quest to search for a new group, I was contact by a couple of players I met in 2016 that they wanted to meet up for drinks. What started out as a friendly chat turned into proper plans to start a regular gaming schedule and we got back together, with a few more additions. In the midst of our gaming schedule, we added a newbie player of RPG into our ranks, and we now plan ahead for our games as part of our routine schedule.

Things got much better with the group when I floated my intentions to try out new RPG systems, other than Dungeons & Dragons, and the group was receptive to the idea. So we were not a group that would stagnate with one system for too long.

The best part of this group, however, is that we have all decided to give GMing a go, and as of the end of 2017, every player has also DMed for the group, and we still have ongoing campaigns that each of us are still DMing for. This is my ideal group that self sustains itself, while also having the possibility of expanding our sights on the world of RPGs. A great group makes a world of difference when playing RPGs, which only solidifies my thoughts that RPGs are great when the people you are playing with are great company. 

Complete an RPG project

From here on is where my gaming quests for 2017 start to falter. While I have made small strides in some of my pending projects, none of which I would consider completed as the limited time that I have is taken up for prepping. Some I would consider are nearing the final stages, but the process itself has also helped me to refine my tools for gamemastering, as well as lay some foundations for future works that would not be as hard to startup. I have also learned to plan my time and resources a little better throughout the year, so I'm looking forward to be able to make much progress in some of the projects to end by 2018. 

Start making content for the DMG

In between all the time of prepping for games, this one has been laid on the wayside completely. It's starting to become a tough market nowadays, and I'm not sure how soon I can start making products without certain skills, and I'm not in the best financial position to afford commissioning for these expertise. I still myself in the learning stage at the moment, and hopefully some new resources in 2018 would help to kickstart my plans for making content for sale. 

Start new columns on the Questing GM

Second to my failure of making content for sale is the maintenance of this blog. The only consolation I have is that I've been collecting plenty of ideas to last me more than a year if I were pushing them out on a weekly basis for the rest of 2018. This doesn't mean that's my plan now, as I try to find my natural rhythm to be more consistent, but having nothing to write about would be the least of my worries. 

However, all is not lost. As an alternative to the lack of my own content, I have been contributing to the Faerûn History YouTube channel and have been wondering if I should dedicate more time to increase my contributions there. Forgotten Realms lore has been one of my favourite topics since I got into the setting.  

Learn to change my gaming mindset

While I don't think much has changed for me on this front, but being able to interact with more gamers, I think I have seen more points of view of other gamers. If there's anything that I really learn from 2017 is that I can start differentiating what philosophies and mentalities are toxic to me as a gamer and to the community, and it's never worth trying to change someone's mind. So I've learned to distance myself from those who are unhelpful, and try to provide the best help to those who ask or willing to listen. Life is getting shorter to engage in discussion with anyone who are not open to explore different discourses, or who only entrench themselves further as though we are talking about politics. If anything, I've starting looking for like-minded gamers, and leave those who disagree with me alone.

Try a new game every month

Given my already less frequent gaming schedule with my group, my gaming schedule was not filed to the brim with new games to try. However, I am still glad to report that my group has managed to try several games throughout the year. We've run short sessions of SpyCraft, the Lone Wolf Adventure Game, Numenera, and Tales of the Loop. Naturally there were hits and misses with the group, and it made clear to me that trying a new game every month is rather ambitious, given the amount of pre-reading and pre-planning that needs to be done before we can even try a sesion.

However, my happiest achievement is that I've found a group who is willing to experiment with me, and we have already suggested a few other games that we would like to try. I am looking forward to trying more games in the future.

So here are my ups and downs for gaming in 2017, but overall I would still think it's an extremely positive year for me in terms of gaming. My plans for 2018 look to be pretty much the same for 2017, with plenty of opportunities to make some real progress in some areas. So here's to hoping that 2018 would be a better year for gaming! 

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