I initially intended this to be a post about all the progress I’ve made on boring stuff, but really I just couldn’t bring myself to write it. Everything simply boils down to “I’ve gotten a bunch done, but not as much as I would like.” Most likely that will always be a running theme so this time I may as well skip it.
This time I figured I’d talk about some things I do to relax/avoid working on my writing. This could go on and on, as my interests tend to drift, so I suppose I’ll restrict it to things I’ve done in the past couple weeks.
Crusader Kings 2
I’m a sucker for any game with a historical slant, but this one has really taken my imagination because unlike many games it pulls away from a combat focus and instead plays more into the concept of managing a dynasty. Although wars happen in the game, the combat is really abstract and basically a matter of numbers. Even getting into a war can be a difficult achievement as it requires a valid justification to declare war on a target.
Some claims are easy to assert. For example, a King can lay claim to lands that are historically a part of his kingdom and thus attempt to reclaim them. A unlanded son may attempt to lay claim to one of his brother’s holdings after his father dies. It is also possible to trump up claims to press in war, but doing so is quite costly. In many cases it is more advantageous to carefully pick marriages for your heirs, both to secure alliances and to potentially end up with claims on other territories.
This section was originally going to be WAAAAY longer, but then I caught myself. This isn’t a gaming blog after all. Still, it is easy to lose entire afternoons in this game.
This probably isn’t a huge surprise, though lately I haven’t been reading much fiction. Instead I’ve read a bunch of non-fiction, which I find equally enjoyable so long as it is a topic that I’m already interested in. Unsurprisingly I’m reading about self-publishing just to make sure I have a handle on things I need to make sure get done, but that is simply business and not really relaxation.
Other things I’ve read are less focused and fairly muse driven. Oddly, I’ve read a lot of amazon pages for other books to get a feel for what categories mine should fall into. I find this relaxing, in a perverse sort of way, as I search for books I think are similar to mine in some ways and look up how they are categorized. While I’m there I also look at stuff like the product description.
There has been some fiction reading as well, of course, just very sporadic. A lot of it is me reading particular scenes or snippets of dialogue I really like. Really, I should get back to reading seriously as I’ve got three or four books that have been on my to-read list for some time now.
Tabletop Role Playing Games
In this case it isn’t actually playing them so much as reading some of the materials and thinking about running a game of my own. My interests here have more to do with the collaborative storytelling aspects of the game. I’ve run games in the past, and been a player in other people’s games. Both are very different experiences, and completely different from normal writing.
Being a player is about exploring a story world around yourself and trying to figure out the best way to interact with it to bring about your character’s goals. Of course this means interacting with other players who have their own goals. Even in a party where everyone agrees on the general direction things should take there are going to be disagreements on the exact methods. And of course you have the GM watching over everything, throwing wrenches into the works to make things more interesting.
From a GM’s perspective, they are in control of the story but have limited ability to move it forward without the players. In general there is a general sketch for how the story will go, which is then tossed out as the players decide to do something completely different. The result is that you need to keep an eye out for ways you can coax the players in the general direction the story needs to give the game some sense of structure while keeping on your toes to deal with the ideas your players can throw your way.
These are both so distinct from typical storytelling where the storyteller has complete control over what happens in their story. I feel like the “choose your own adventure” books for kids are trying to recreate this feeling for the reader, but ultimately the experience falls short because the control the reader has over their “character” in the story is so limited that they only get to really paint the broadest strokes.