How did it come to this? Four weeks ago I was cruising along through life, taking things as they came at me, loving my wife and enjoying our kids. Oh, and I was also reading a series of books by this guy called Shannon Appelcline. Why was I reading his books? Well a few months earlier I’d found this roleplaying game, the Unbelievably Simple Roleplaying game, and that’s where this all started.
Let me explain. a long, long time ago, in a different world called The Eighties, I was a nerd. I was a cool nerd, but a nerd none the less. I knew I was a nerd because I played Dungeons and Dragons and an awful lot of my peers were only too keen to let me know that, I was, in fact, a nerd.
But I had a secret, I didn’t care, because the thrill of being in the world of D&D with my other nerd friends was so great, so joyful and so…fun! We would gather at my apartment around 10am on a Saturday morning and play until mothers were making phone calls to get their sons back for dinner (and it was definitely boys only, not through choice, not our choice anyway).
So, from the age of 14 until the age of 21 I roleplayed whatever and whenever I could. Then, one day, I became a qualified teacher, I got a job, I got grown-up hobbies like bill-paying, worrying-about-bill-paying and trying-to-stay-awake-after-a-night-of-worrying-about-bill-paying! I discovered sex (very nice, thank you) and I fell in love (luckily those two things were mutually compatible). We got wed, paid bills and moved half way across the world to the mysterious and exciting city of Hong Kong. We had a kid, then another one, then two more. We paid bills.
And then it was 2014 and I suddenly felt sad. I was 44 years old and I hadn’t played anything that could even vaguely qualify as an RPG in over 20 years. That was when I decided to find out what had become of my first true love. Whither RPGs?
Was I in for a surprise?