Sunday, August 20, 2017

These Dice Ain't What They Used To Be

So, tonight I unexpectedly got to play in a 5e game. I was thrilled to do so and had just said to my wife "I really need to play D&D, it's been weeks and I miss it." Well, someone out there heard me and granted my wish. Thanks, Universe.

I made my character easily enough and we sat down to play. From 6:30 to about 9:15. Not a long session, by any stretch. But here's the thing - I had an absolute blast. For two hours and forty-five minutes, I was Dregnr Bloodbeard, Dwarf Barbarian, and it was pure fun. Never once did I feel fatigued or overwhelmed, nor did I wonder if gaming was "worth the effort."

I learned something about myself - maybe I ought to slow down in my "old age." Ten years or fifteen years ago, a four hour session was standard. We often pushed for six or even eight hours. But tonight's "shot in the arm" of gaming, really felt just right.

For a long time, I had considered getting away from the table both as a player and GM. Just focus on design and playtesting. But tonight taught me that maybe, if I take it a bit slower and in smaller doses, that it's still as much fun as ever - even after 30 years.

This also reenforced why I love the OSR (and particularly White Box) so much. With rules light systems, you can get a lot of active gaming in, in just a few hours. That way time doesn't feel wasted by looking up rules, modifiers, and outlying material. Just leap right into the game, and head off on an adventure. Man, it was nice to realize that I may not be as young as I used to be - but the spark is still there and adventure still calls to me.


  1. I've found, personally, that if I don't actively play, my design suffers. It gets too theoretical - but I'm an overly analytical/mathematical bent, so others may not have that level of creep with time spent away from the table.

  2. Same with me Douglas. Great post James. I am in a similar boat, and have been quite happy playing every 3 weeks or so. (we did take a lot of summer off). Normally about four hours or so.

  3. I play up to three times a week. Sessions seldom last longer than 3 hours. After that people's attention surely suffers (we play in the evening) and the session degrades. Most of my people are college students or doing their doctorate, so firmly in the 20s.

    I don't find 5e really taxing unless somebody starts a rules argument.

  4. Yeah. Got back as a player after four years away and it's just as good as it ever was. I may be better than I was.

    But three hours is about right. My kids think so too so it's not necessarily an age thing.


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