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August 1st, 2015

Which Not-Really-Gaming Thing to Do?

In the midst of self-examination, trying to answer the great question of what it is I actually give a flip about (and trying to turn that into a meaningful career/pursuit/vocation), I have worked out that I pretty much want three things:

  1. To make my comics.

  2. To play D&D (and variants).

  3. To live comfortably, securely, and for a long time, in order to achieve items 1 and 2.


So all week, when not working on art projects or mucking around with job search stuff, I've been jonesing for gaming, but there was none to be had. So in desperation, I pulled out the recent re-release of Icewind Dale and started grinding through it.

Now, unlike apparently every other RPG nerd in the world, I really disliked Baldur's Gate. But back in the day, I did enjoy Icewind Dale, so I thought, "A-ha, a high-res remix, that'll scratch my gaming itch!" Result? Eh, not so much.

IWD has not aged well. My patience for having the random number generator randomly one-punch half the party before they even get to act and having to reload is a lot thinner than it was when I was 30. Being released on the cusp between 2E and 3E rulesets, IWD still has a lot of the stupid "because f*ck players, that's why" junk rules of older editions, such as scrolls randomly failing to write to the spellbook and getting burned up anyway (which was bad enough in a tabletop game, but is frankly pointless in a CRPG where players will quickly learn to just save before writing to their spellbook and try again).

I did figure out how to min-max a party such that they only died one time in three instead of three times out of four, reducing the amount of time I spent loading saved games, but... ugh. If there's only one right way to build a party and go through the game, what's the point of even having custom built parties?

Upon realization that I just plain wasn't having fun any more, I punted on IWD and decided to spend my not-gaming time on doing game prep for my Silver Coast game instead. I need a break from being the DM, but as the game is heading for a new hub for at least a few sessions, I decided to go ahead and build it out a bit. It's kind of a detour from the main story, so I don't want to put a whole lot of time and effort into it, but I do want there to be enough there that if the players decide to poke around there will be things for them to find beyond the random encounter table.

So, it's still not really gaming, but it has at least been more productively not gaming.

-The Gneech

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