Got three very interesting e-mails in the last coupla days. The first is from my good buddy Don. He's working on a D&D tweak in which he removes feat selection. Instead, he hardwires them into the classes, so that every fighter of level n has the same n feats. It's an interesting idea that simplifies the game while preserving much more of the D&D rules than my draconian Adepts & Warriors project, which gets rid of most feats and spells simply by dropping all the standard PC classes in favour of the stripped-down NPC classes. I think I like my idea better, but his idea is also really good and could appeal to a broader audience. Adepts & Warriors is a little too plain for modern D&D sensibilities.
The second email I received was from Gabriel Strange, a.k.a. gabby2600, author of the forthcoming Wraeththu roleplaying game. I've been documenting the development of the Wraeththu rpg in my "Wraeththu Watch" series of blog entries. It looks like gabby found some of my comments about the game in the RPG.net forums and decided to respond directly to me. At no point did I ever suspect that such a thing might occur, but stay tuned to this blog for what should prove to be my most interesting Wraeththu Watch yet.
Finally today I got an e-mail from my brother-in-law Jim inviting me into his relaunched gaming group. It very nice of him to make such an offer. Jim's a super guy as are the other two members of the group, Bruce and Carl. What's particularly interesting about this offer is that these guys are boardgamers, not roleplayers. I've never been involved with a regular boardgaming group, other than the period in which my high school group played more BattleTech than D&D. I'd love to play some games with these guys but I'm hesitant at the moment, for several reasons. First, they want to start at 8:30pm on a weeknight. That's later than I normally like to do these things, but certainly not a dealbreaker.
Second, I haven't played enough with Carl to know for sure, but I feel pretty confident that all these guys are way smarter than me. Even if I was intellectually on their level, they are boardgamers and I'm a roleplayer who also plays boardgames. In short, they will probably whip my butt on any particular outing. That's not the end of the world. I long ago decided that my ego was not on the line every time I played a game. Which is a good thing, because I'm a lousy boardgamer most of the time. So I'm not worried about going home crying to my mommy that the big kids all beat me at Candyland or whatever. I don't mind fighting to occasionally earn 3rd place in a four man field. What worries me is that I might drag down the level of play for the other guys. I don't want to do that. Now Jim, Carl, and Bruce are all nice guys, so I'm sure they would tolerate me even if I was a total game-gimp. The fact that I know how to behave myself at the game table probably earned my nomination for this spot moreso than any 1EE+ skills I might have. Still, I am somewhat concerned that my participation might bring down the level of competition.
Finally, I don't want to over-commit myself. Right now I have this every other Wednesday gig, as well as irregular sessions of Sue's Dungeons & Dragons game and my own Heroes Unlimited affair. Pat and I continue to talk about this Experimental Game Group idea and we've actually done some work on the Starmada campaign project. Do I also want to be out of the house on Monday nights until God-knows-o'clock? Yet I can't help but think that actual play occuring perhaps as soon as Monday night trumps any lofty plans for theoretical play at some future point. This realization was one of the things that spurred me on to sign up with Dave Hoover's game, whether or not I liked the rules or particular campaign proposal. Real gaming now is always better than maybe gaming sometime.
Anyway, I'm gonna obviously need to discuss this situation with my wife before I can offer a proper response to Jim's nifty e-mail. Whether I take him up on the offer or not, it's awefully nice to be asked.