Walking across the school yard this morning, I had my hands in my pockets and felt the three six-sided dice I usually carry drop into my hand. As I sensed the dice it also occurred to me that it’s been several weeks since I rolled them in a game. The sense of loss and sadness was suddenly overwhelming: I need to roll these dice!
As I have entered into a deeper and deeper hibernation within my hobby, I’ve also felt myself increasingly saddened by the loss of enjoyment that ceasing to play causes. On the one hand, I don’t have the energy and interest to drive my motivation – especially given how hard running a game can be – but on the other hand I am drawn towards the dice, maps, and imaginary worlds that I love.
The answer, as I have mentioned before, is not to rely on motivation and energy. The need to play is strong but you have to find easier and simpler ways to do it. In a huge shift in the way I generally prefer to enjoy my roleplaying games, this equates to using simpler game engines and classically familiar tools. At the school club, for example, I found great joy in presenting an introduction to D&D using the much simpler 1981 Basic Rules rather than trying to motivate myself to run 5e.
As I approach another weekend, I am keen to roll those 3d6… or, at least to find some way to get myself a few minutes of light solo play. It’s fortuitous that I have a conversation with a very experienced solo GM, the awesome Simon from Legend of the Bones, scheduled… and I am hoping to pick his brains.
In the end, what I am realising is that in a hibernation – even in the depths of an emotional winter – you can still poke your nose out of your cave and go explore the territory, if only for a short while. There’s nothing wrong with taking a simple turn around the metaphorical block and play something simple. We don’t have to give up our whole hobby, even when we are struggling to maintain it.