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Unread 20th of October, 2013, 07:33
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Majnun78
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Newbie Seeks Advice

Hi everyone. I'm making this post here since it seemed like the intuitive place to put it, though if it needs to go somewhere else the admins are free to move it as suits their fancy. It's going to be a long post, for which I apologize. What I want to do is to provide some background about myself, why I want to role-play, and hopefully find some help in achieving this goal.

I'm coming "back" to roleplaying after about 20 years of "absence," and I've taken the plunge and am making my first post on an RPG forum! I'm looking for one or both of two things 1) advice, 2) information on online games to join (here and anywhere else--the web presence of RPGs is overwhelming to say the least!) I'm also hoping that, if I share a little bit about my role-playing background and interests, DMs who read this and who are looking to recruit and who have similar interests might take me under their wing or keep me in mind when they have a game coming up. I know there is a recruiting thread here, and I'll keep my eye on that, but there don't seem to be many new games started on this particular forum.

Anyway, some background: I'm 35, and my last role-playing experience was when I was around 16 and my cousin and I finished our last campaign of Iron Crown's MERPS (Middle Earth Role-Playing System). I had actually "caught the role-playing bug" about three years prior to starting MERPS, when I purchased the D&D Red Box set, and I've never "gotten well" again, since for whatever reason the D&D rules, imagery, artwork and general culture really set my imagination on fire, in the subtle but profound ways that are usual in childhood. These things became almost archetypal for me, in my imagination. Sadly, with D&D, I spent a whole lotta time reading the books, making characters and dreaming, and a "whole little" time actually playing, since I couldn't find anyone to play with me, and I was rather shy to go hang out at hobby stores, etc. Remember, this was before the internet.

When I finally purchased MERPS and my cousin took an interest, it was a great joy to me. We soon became rather obsessed with this game for about three years, and throughout that time, all we ever talked about was the game, our characters, and the situations we were currently in or had previously been in. We were actually frequently "in character." My cousin was always the GM, and I had one character that I always played. His brothers also had characters, though we rarely all played together. This is where I really caught a glimpse of the imaginative possibilities of role-playing. We didn't take ourselves too seriously and had a lot of comedic fun, but we also often wandered into the realms of epic and serious high fantasy. Also, we had such a blast coming up with stuff out of our heads and just telling stories that I strongly suspect that my cousin didn't worry too much about the MERPS rules when rolling the dice or doing any activity, which didn't decrease the enjoyment in any way.

Anyway, when we got a little older we got away from role-playing. For about two years I basically had no impulse to role-play; or rather, whenever I had the itch, I would play a video game like Final Fantasy. I also tried Interactive Fiction and text adventures. However, they're just not the same.

So over the years, I've kept this part of my imagination alive mostly by being an enthusiastic reader of fantasy and science fiction, and here I am. Just recently, I've felt this deep urge to get back into role-playing--as player and/or DM--in a sort of serious long-term sort of way, not so much--or not "only--as a way to "pass the time," but rather as a way to develop my skills as a fiction writer, and to furnish my imagination with ideas, characters, scenarios, and images that could serve as an inspiration for stories of my own.

Ever since coming upon Tolkein in the sixth grade I caught the "world-building" bug, but this, again, is an itch that I rarely got to scratch and has remained dormant for many years. I feel that educating myself about and immersing myself in role-playing, as a character and as a DM, will provide me with some of the tools I need to built realistic fictional characters and worlds.

As for my genre/reading interests, I'm a big believer in the almost unlimited potential of fantasy and science fiction to to explore profound themes in ways that non-"genre" fiction cannot. However, since I've spent a lot of my life studying such non-genre literature, as a profession, and seen what literary art can accomplish, I always find it rather difficult to find fantasy that really satisfies me these days (although this isn't so difficult with science fiction). In addition to Tolkein, I enjoyed the Earthsea books, as well as George MacDonald's stories and those of William Morris and Dunsany. I'm a deep admirer of Gene Wolfe's brilliant Book of the New Sun, about which I could probably write all day, in celebration of its awesomeness. Dune was a joy to read and experience, though I never felt it necessary to read past the first book. I'm looking forward, hopefully, to getting into the Culture novels of Banks in the future. I appreciate Gibson/Sterling-esque cyberpunk, and I'm really getting into comic books these days as well. I was never able to really get into the hordes of Tolkien clones since they seemed just that--Tolkien clones, without the inspiration or skill. That being said, I have a real desire--again an "unscratched itch"--to read all the R.A. Salvatore books and the others about the Forgotten Realms. I do respect the stories of Robert E. Howard and especially Clark Ashton Smith; Lovecraft also, but more for possible role-playing themes, archetypes and settings than actual reading pleasure, since I find him to be at times a terrible and repetitive writer. In addition, I'm rather drawn to "low fantasy" as a genre (basically stuff in Howard's footsteps), such as the books of Glen Cook. I also read most of the Elric series when younger, which I don't remember much other than, again, to say that I liked the concepts/images more than the actual writing. Game of Thrones doesn't do it for me. I found China Mieville's Perdido Street Station quite impressive--he's obviously someone who's played his share of D&D :-) I'm also deep into mythic and legendary material such as Malory's Arthurian stories and the Volsunga saga. However, at the same time, I like to often spend a free evening or afternoon reading wacky or even crazy stuff--it's the "non-snobbish" part of my brain. Any sort of weird SF/fantasy from the 70s or 80s I can find in the bargain bin of my local Half-Price Books. There's just a part of my imagination that craves these things. In addition to all of the above, I also enjoy "weird stories" of all kinds (i.e. in addition to those of "the big three" mentioned above), especially horror and the Weird West. Moreover, I'm sort of obsessed with post-apocalyptic fiction. Last but not least, King's The Dark Tower has long haunted me. So I'm open to all these types of things.

Having followed me this far, reader ;-), I hope you will forgive me for being so wordy and self-indulgent in my introduction. I just want to give a good idea about the kinds of things I like so I have a better opportunity of getting good advice as to where/with whom/what to role-play. My guess is that if you've read this far, you might be the sort of person who is able to point me in the right direction.

As for systems, I'm open to everything, especially those systems which cater to more eclectic settings (like New Sun and Dune--i.e. "science-fantasy"), and those which have the potential to support real deep, intelligent, even symbolic storytelling as opposed to merely "roll-playing" or adventures of the "party enters dungeon to find treasure and slay necromancer" variety (those these latter can be fun as well). Don't get me wrong, I also like the idea of going around slaying monsters, exploring cool places and collecting cool items/weapons to use in future adventures :-) Something tells me that GURPS might be the ideal system to cater to my eclectic interests, but I still have to read up on the system, as I know next to nothing about it save what I've read here and there. In the meantime, I'm probably going to scratch the role-playing itch by playing some Tunnels & Trolls solo adventures and learning/relearning the rules of various systems like GURPS, D&D and its clones, Traveller and D6, just so I'm reasonably prepared if/when I ever find a game to join. Although I'm intrigued by the creative-writing potential of PbP, I'm also open to Skype-type live games, etc.

With sincere thanks for listening. Please feel free to PM me or send an email if you prefer to talk "off the record."
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Unread 20th of October, 2013, 14:43
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itches
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If you're a spambot this is the most epic spambot ever. Well done.

Sadly, if you're not a spambot I can't tell what you're after.
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Unread 21st of October, 2013, 01:43
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Not a spam bot, I sent him a PM which he replied to.

His post isn't exactly clear, but he's not a spam bot.
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Unread 21st of October, 2013, 01:51
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That's what they want you to think Link, but you can never trust these things. You think you know someone, you've been married for ten years and have three kids, you think you have them figured. And then BANG! Turns out they're a spambot.

Hell, you could be a spambot without even knowing. One day you just wake up and want to start telling people about great deals on viagra and wowgold.
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Unread 21st of October, 2013, 04:44
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, no I'm not a spambot, although I certainly understand that my giant post is probably pretty overwhelming to say the least. I'll try to summarize:

I'm introducing myself and "putting myself out there." I want to role-play after about 20 years of not role-playing. I'm looking for open games and suggestions as to where to find them online. I'm a bit overwhelmed by all the RPG resources online and am hoping people on here might be able to steer me to sites/groups that they find useful.

I'm interested in all genres but especially fantasy and science fiction and all "cross-breeds." I'm also open to all systems. I'm more interested in complex and intelligent stories/role-playing and world building than hack n' slash and dungeon crawls. I like the idea of PbP, but am also open to live games via Skype, etc.

I'm open to all systems, although I have a special fascination with GURPS because it seems to have a lot of potential for eclectic and unusual settings.

I have a lot of learning/re-learning to do about the rules of various systems, and am looking for DM's/groups that are willing to take on someone who may need a lot of help.

If anyone has any advice/suggestions related to any of these things, or in general as to how to get started role-playing online,--or if you know of any relevant games opening up--please let me know either here or via email or PM.

Thanks!
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