Making Myths and Monster Memories
My mother stopped by the house the other day with a folder filled with old papers. And by old, I mean gaming papers that are around 30 or more years old. These were from the time before I joined the Marines. So yeah, incredibly old.
I went through them to see if anything might prove useful now. Of course, it turned out to be mostly junk. Character sheets from first and second edition D&D, and character sheets from Stormbringer. At least I think that was the name of the game. It was a game put out by Chaosium when they held a license to the Elric of Melnibone series. A quick search on Amazon and people are still selling the game, though it has been out of print since the early 90s.
Now to put all this into focus, I also found a Xerox copy of an article from Dragon Magazine from May of 1982. Notice I said Xerox copy. We didn’t do photo copies back then like we do now (granted essentially the same thing and I am not getting into the technical details of this. Or maybe it is all the same thing and we just called them Xerox copies back then because that was the brand name used for the process. I’m just reminiscing, and this side note has gone on for far too long already).
The other tidbit that I found in this set of papers was a group of monsters. I want to say about 5 monsters, I per page and all with just about the same static pose. I had created the pictures with a Mighty Men and Monster Maker. You may not remember these. You had templates that could be mixed and matched to create coloring pages of super heroes and monsters. I would create the images and color them and then create stats for use in RPGs.
Back then it was the Wild West days of games. Sure, there were a number of different games with their own rules or rules similar to D&D but the amount of supplemental material was fairly limited. Back then we made our own scenarios and dungeons. Campaigns that ran for years were created by the Dungeon Masters that didn’t have a clue about what it was they were doing. You don’t see as much of that now. The RPG world has expanded so much into our culture that it is easy to find just about any style of game or story line you might want to experience. At times it can be overwhelming to think about how much is available.
But old habits die hard. At some point in there I switched. For a while now, I have been more inclined to be a player in someone else’s game than look to set up something of my own. It’s easier, you only have to worry about your own imagination. The stories that unfold around you aren’t as impacted by what you do. Much like life.
Sure, we have an impact on those around us. But life still happens even if we aren’t directly involved with those around us. For many people we are simply a blip in the radar. There are those we make a larger impact on but still we are separate beings going through the motions of our own individual games.
And this got deep faster than I expected.
Look at that, I spend a few minutes reminiscing and I jump into an existential thought that somehow ties in with gaming in my past. Mind you I didn’t spend too much time building to this analogy so if you didn’t catch the shift, it can be a bit jarring. I’m ok with that.
I guess the point I was making in all that goes back to the idea of being a creationist in gaming. There are so many roles you can take on when you game. Much of it coming from the early days of gaming, the Wild West days of the beginnings where you had to build so much of your own stuff in order to have anything to play. I miss those days.
Granted I don’t really have a desire to step into the role of game master any time soon. That role takes so much time and energy. But I would like to spend some time building new memories, creating new things for games to reconnect to my roots of gaming.
I have been looking at a couple different miniatures games. Most of these games are set up in a way that you don’t need the game master element of the game. The setting is essentially built into the game, so you don’t need someone there to guide the story. It’s an entirely different aspect of storytelling. Which is funny, because the role-playing games and such we have now all have their roots in the table top war game model.
I realize I could continue talking in these spiraling circles for pages and pages more. But at this point I feel like I might have overstayed my welcome. So instead of droning on, I will cut it here. More of these thoughts will return I am sure. I am still creating and building new things within this area. I say this because there is one truth, I have found from all of this. My story life has been fueled since a young age by the story elements I find around me. It is within the realm of mental creation that my well is filled. As much as I find in my past, I am reminded of the futures to come.
If you enjoy these stories, consider leaving some coffee money in the jar or you could buy a book or two. Either way helps keep the stories flowing.