Saturday, November 1, 2014

Nov-Dec: A World a Week

Now that Halloween has led to All Saint's Day, still heading into the Feast of the Assumption, the time for the macabre and ghastly has passed (at least a little even for adventure gamers). Along side doing my scenarios for gaming conventions and completing some for publication productions, I'll be throwing up old maps and notes from one of my "journals" over the next couple of months. I stumbled across the notebook the other day, a cat had peed on something near it, and was amazed to see that I hadn't filled every page as I have done with every other one before it, some 22, for the last thirty-four years of gaming.  The blank pages probably mean that this journal was started around 1994 and then tapered off as I discovered the internet while in Bosnia in '95. It has the details of active RPG campaigns, system play-tests, and go nowhere idle doodling, from '94 up until around 2006. I get the last date because the maps and notes start to line up with items published for sale around that time.

I tend not to be sentimental about my adventure gaming endeavors in the past. The other twenty-something journals are not kept as a library of any sort. I often trip over them after a cat has knocked over a stack of old paper products. More often than not their covers are peed, or worse, upon. With the advent of the inter-webs of the worldwide net tubes, long journals with maps, notes, and sketches of this or that became unnecessary as I was not only able to place things into an electronic format but get in touch with other fantasists and real artists-- frankly my head didn't have to be a boiler needing a hidden away draft pad for a vent. 

To get things started I thought I'd go with my "campaign summary" of a Starfaring play-test, with two then up to seven friends, done on the fly in 93-94. A fellowship of dudes I mind-gamed with at LP/OPs (Listening/Observation Posts) spread out on various training battlefields between Texas, Alaska, and South Korea over something called SINGARS (radios). We had to keep the mapping wholly mathematical, graph paper didn't come in water-poof notebooks. This helped us make the maps somewhat 3-D as we just read coordinates among ourselves.  We blocked the information into encrypted data chunks to avoid decryption by our superiors. They didn't care too much because OpFor (Opposing Forces) would be confused and bogged down trying to figure out what we were doing, that and the fact that most likely the bosses were asleep anyway. On a good run, we'd shoot totally encoded "turns" up to four times an hour, for three days straight in between doing our job. Using pre-set lists, I ran their starships across strange new worlds or not.

The three world's of Elvis, Solus, and Garm (mine) were the starting points for our respective ships. Star empires arose in our wake. Alien species were encountered. A few table-top Star Trek-styled role-playing sessions took place in hotel rooms during days off, as I was whetting my space opera campaign passions.

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