RPG Retrospective – 2015

As has become the tradition, this RPG Retrospective looks back over my gaming year. It’s been one hell of a year for me.

ORC Edinburgh

After a management change at the Peartree lead to the possibility of being charged to play, ORC Edinburgh moved to the Kilderkin pub on the Royal Mile. It’s been a good fit for us – great food and drink and friendly bar staff. Plus plenty of room to play makes quite a difference.

We said goodbye to some old faces, and hello to a lot more. ORC membership now approaches 450 folk (some of course are just lurkers). The monthly pub meets have been quite useful to put names to faces and to discuss stuff relating to ORC, as well as being social. Alternating between Fridays and Saturdays was a good move. Although numbers have dropped off a bit, it’s a good way to mingle.

In the grand scheme of things at ORC Edinburgh, I’ve been keen to fade a bit more into the background this year. There’s a growing expectation that I’m the sort of person that will fix everything, simply because I’m the “Face” of ORC. I run – and pay – for the website, but I’m not responsible for every game or the behaviour of every ORC member. I can offer advice, and the the various facilities of ORC, but I can’t get you players, or interest people in Game X. GMs need to do that and market their games better: I merely provide the facilities.

We have so many games going on that I’m now finding it hard to keep track. We’ve also had folk trying their hand at GMing for the first time. There’s been a few casualties though. Some games have folded owing to time constraints or lack of interest. We’ve also had GM/player commitment issues – failure to appear, deciding not to run, etc. – in a lot of cases, these were new players first exposure to RPGs. In an age where communication is practically instantaneous, it’s pretty unfair to the other players or GM.

I’ve tried to have a word with those concerned to find out why and try and work out a solution, but it’s an uphill struggle. There’s only one of me and my time is limited – so instead, I’ve often had a word with those affected by this behaviour. Sadly, it seems to be on the increase. People (both players and GMs) put their time into the game, not to mention the GM planning the game, so it’s a little ignorant to fail to turn up without an explanation. Anyway, rant over.

Edinburgh Gaming

Edinburgh has had two new gaming cafes open as well, and they’re proving popular – Tabletop Cafe in the Royal Mile, and Murphy’s Vault in Gilmore place. Plus 6s2hit’s cafe finally opened. I’m hoping that they’ve all had a successful year. Plus Black Lion may open a second premises very soon, with space to demo RPGs and similar.

I’d hoped to try and get around a bit more to these places, demo games, and also to some of the wargame conventions and club nights like ELG. However, time has become a finite resource for me; as you’ll see. I’ve become conscious that I’m doing  a lot of this stuff off my own back – and its something the community should do as a whole, not just one person.

I didn’t make it to Claymore this year, but did make it to Conpulsion. I’ve detailed that particular event elsewhere in my blog. Nor did I make it to Edinburgh ComiCon. Will I attend them in 2016? Possibly. My level of participation (e.g. demo games) won’t be as much as this year though.

Personal Achievements

Well. It’s been quite a year. To say I’ve been busy is an understatement. I’ve made it to a lot of conventions this year – the UK Games Expo, Dragonmeet, Conpulsion, and Q-CON. I ran demo games for Modiphius at all of them, in one case (UKGE), running games from 10am to midnight (and Cliché too). With that in mind, I’m very much aware that I am actually working at these conventions to some extent. So I’m planning to dial it back a little, take my time, and also network – and try to participate in the actual convention more.

Sadly, it looks unlikely that I’ll make Q-CON next year. It is a fun convention. UKGE and also Dragonmeet are certainties, though. To be honest, I love meeting gamers from across the world, and running games. If I’ve run a good game, there’s a sense of achievement – I’m sure other GMs can relate. You have a short space of time to engage your players at conventions – people you’ve never met before in most cases – so it’s a challenge. I’ve made a lot of friends at these conventions, and there’s a growing sense of camaraderie among GMs at these cons. It’s nice to be included.

But the biggest news I’ve left till last. I’ve made the decision to go freelance officially. This is mainly thanks to Chris and the Modiphius team, who have have accepted me into their collective. Right now, I’m compiling indexes for the Mutant Chronicles line – but have credit as a writer on the Dark Symmetry Campaign too. I’m enjoying it. There will be more from me, don’t doubt it.

One of the things I’ve realised this year is balancing procrastination versus practicality, including my technique regarding writing. My Oath of Shadows series is still on the cards, but I’ll come back to that in later years (!). Yes, there’s entire books written about writing, but I do pick things up naturally. While I’m not insightful or innovative, I’m technically proficient. Give me a task, and I’ll complete it.

I feel I may have been a bit negative in this review of the year, but it’s more actually reflection on my part.  I’ve a sense that the times are a’changing.

Published by Bill Heron

Wannabe game designer and would-be author. I've been playing RPGs for over 25 years and have recently started creating my own RPG called Mandragora: Ashes of Freedom. I also run a number of RPGs: Cthulhutech, Call of Cthulhu, WFRP, and D&D. I'm active in the Edinburgh RPG community at http://orcedinburgh.co.uk and regularly play RPGs.