Hoo nelly… it’s been a looooong time since I’ve written anything here. The reasons for my lack of activity are threefold.
First, a lot of what I was posting here was cutscene blurbs from my weekly, in-person Pathfinder 2nd Edition Age of Ashes campaign. That group has broken up indefinitely and the campaign ended (at level 18 of 20… so close to the end!), a result of clashing personalities made worse by trying to make a podcast together. It’s a bummer, but in-person gaming groups are a rare and precious thing, really only disbanding because of either conflict or life-events (moving or having kids, usually). We had a fun three-year run, and I’m thankful for those hundreds of hours of memories.
Second, I started a new job last Fall. It’s an incredibly different job than I’ve had before, and has demanded, among other things, a major shift in schedule. It’s taken me awhile to figure out how to layer in online games to replace Age of Ashes alongside a brand new kind of work, plus establish modified exercise, family, and friend routines. On top of that, my seventeen-year old daughter is in the heart of college recruiting for soccer, which is taking up a ton of time (exciting! but stressful. but exciting! but stressful).
Finally, I actually HAVE been writing regularly, on a novella that I’m planning to publish on the Pathfinder Infinite site later this Spring. I’m genuinely excited about this project and you better believe I’ll link to it here when I’m done — I just crossed 33k words this morning and have the final proof of the cover art. I’m guessing that I’ll have a complete first draft in a month or so, and then spend a few weeks getting feedback and editing before I hit “Publish.” But I haven’t wanted to spoil any of the prose here.
Right before I took my hiatus, I had just started a series of deep-dives into various superhero tabletop role-playing games (you can find my Golden Heroes exploration here, and the Aberrant one here). These two installments were great fun to write. Unfortunately, while I’m still obsessed with my list of every superhero TTRPG ever published*, given everything I’ve said above, those deep-dives are rather more work than I have the bandwidth for right now.
But! Obsession is obsession, whether I have an in-person group, or life is full, or even whether I’m currently writing a long-form story in a different genre. Superhero TTRPG lists must be explored, people. I don’t make the rules, I just live by them.
So, very soon, I’ll begin a different sort of series based on my list. I’m going to just focus on modern superhero games (and I’ll define “modern” in the first installment), and zero in exclusively on the character-creation process of each game.
Why just modern games? Primarily because, while there is a lot of nostalgia woven into my love of superhero role-playing games, some of the older systems are truly obtuse and clunky. Thinking about writing about those older systems sounds slightly painful, whereas the chance to familiarize myself with newer games is exciting. Plus, the list is just too danged long; narrowing my focus to the past decade or so of games helps give me a manageable group of games to tackle.
Why just the character-creation process? Because it is my belief that one of the distinct features of superhero gaming is that making characters is at least half the fun. In other genres like fantasy, sci-fi, and horror, making characters is awesome, but playing those characters is considerably more awesome. It’s the unfolding story and those surprising die-rolls that keep me coming back again and again. Meanwhile, playing superheroes in stories where literally anything can happen (aliens! mutants! robots! time travel! martial arts! magic! other realities! spycraft!) is great. Honestly, it would be a dream come true to have a local group of friends who wanted to play a long campaign of supers. But, oddly, superheroes is the only genre where some of my fondest memories are making characters instead of the game sessions themselves. Writing about making new superheroes for new game systems sounds like a blast, even if I don’t get to play them immediately (or ever).
I’m not sure when this new series will kick off, exactly, but getting an idea like this one in my head usually means my fingers start moving of their own volition. So… sometime soon.
* As always, if you know of a game not on the list please let me know! Literally every time I do even a small bit of research I discover new games.