The dissolution of a game

The Friday Shadowrun game WO ran was riddled with problems from the beginning. One of our players was very argumentative outside of game and a bit of a rules lawyer in game. He was always on time, though, and his mannerisms eventually grew on me.

The other two players were never on time after the first week and couldn’t be bothered to notify anyone, much less WO-the-GM (game-master), when they were going to be late or not show up. Each of them had problems with money, to the point where one often didn’t have bus fare.

$1.65.

He could have called for a ride.

WO, the regular player, an myself would sit for an hour or so in WO’s apartment, waiting for one of them to arrive so we would have at least three people to play.

Finally, WO moved the game back an hour, to give those two time to arrive without being late. That was cool with me, because I could go home, shower, and play with the cats before game started. At this point, I was complaining almost every week about my Fridays being taken up with a game we barely got to play. I could be home, relaxing, reading, cleaning, writing, or out socializing.

This week, WO and I each got two emails. One was from regular guy, saying he was dropping game for work-related reasons. That alone really spelled the end of game. The second, just yesterday, was from the fellow without bus fare. His money issues drove him to move to another state, and so, needless to say — although it was kind of him to do so, for once — he wouldn’t be in the game anymore.

Leaving me and the other irregular, money-issues man. Meaning, no game.

WO had a really good idea for a campaign, and his execution was good. We were warned before we started the game, though, that people who like Shadowrun tend to rules-lawyer and nitpick on history, because there’s so much back-story in the books. WO and I are big believers in stretching the book-given world to its limits, which has caused us strife in folks’ D & D games. (“Wait, you really mean that when I’m 5th level, I’m in the top 1% of people’s abilities? 5th level? And no one has heard of magic? Really. Fuck the DMG 2. Who wants to play in a cookie-cutter world? This isn’t going to work for me.”)

Unfortunately, just that sort of thing happened. WO was nitpicked on historical details and rules and had to put up with a player who decided to get revenge by “min-maxing leading to invulnerability”, in WO’s words. It was, in many ways, a very rough game. There was never any party cohesion, and the players grew increasingly annoyed with each other. It wasn’t a game where any of us were inclined to kill each other (out of game) — no insults were thrown around or anything — but it stopped being… fun.

So on what is becoming a Friday of Finales, I say goodbye to this f’ing awful job and that slightly disappointing game.

I want to find the good gamers in Charlotte. The cooperative (rather than competitive) ones who want to create something, instead of destroy something.

Not-a-review: A Very Hungry Girl

I wrote yesterday that I was 39 pages into Jessica Weiner’s A Very Hungry Girl (beware: affiliate link!).

I went ahead and finished it last night.

I’ll admit that I was a little disappointed by the book, as it soon began to describe Weiner’s work in far more detail than her personal struggles. It became — to a certain degree — more about “stuff” than “people”, even though her work as a writer, director, and performer of motivational works is very much about people. But we went from a nitty-gritty view of her world and the people around her to a 1000-foot view of her work. Even the occasional mention of her struggles with eating didn’t really return us to the trenches.

As I wrote yesterday, I went into the book without many expectations, but I found I’d built them rapidly within those first 40 pages. I expected a story about the author more so than about her work.

The very end of the book contains bits of guidance toward leading a fuller, more satisfying life, for varying definitions of those words. Weiner repeats advice I’d heard from my own therapist — you can’t live well avoiding your emotions and problems. The only way to get past them is to go through them.

That’s hard. That’s something I still struggle with, in part due to the fact that one of the key people I talk to about my issues — WO — has such a different life history than me. It’s hard to be emotional about an experience when you’re struggling just to relate the basic concepts and to deal with someone else’s shock about the fact that traumatic things happen to real-live people.

We are a culture so desensitized to violence, sex, sexual violence, and general suffering that I’m rather curious as to how someone who regularly takes in television and movies feels reading the first half of this book. For example, can you regularly watch and find entertaining a show like The Biggest Loser and still feel the pain of the people in the book who are also doing such extreme things to their bodies? Do the people on TBL not seem to be “ill” because they have some doctor’s approval to do what they do to their bodies?

Tastee (del.icio.us) links! (April 25th)

Links for April 25th from 15:30 to 20:48:

Step 0, done

Thanks to my NC and federal tax returns, I am now current on all credit cards and ready to “snowflake” my way to a starter emergency fund (with the help of my IN tax return and the economic stimulus check, yes).

In the process, I paid off what remained of my tax debt from last year with no additional money out of pocket.

Lingering headache aside, today is starting off very well. Windfalls are nice. Paying well over $900 toward my high-interest debts in a month is nice, too.

Now I just need to get those interest rates lowered with some phone calls during lunch.

Tastee (del.icio.us) links!

These are my links for April 22nd through April 25th: