The five things right now: #2 – roleplaying games

I my last post, I started this short series of articles on how I’ve been living since the death of my wife Vickie on the 10th of April this year.

It’s been not just coping with her dying, but also finding things to fill the time that I used to fill with taking care of Vickie as her illnesses took their toll; ideally, with activities that don’t feed into isolating me further (much as I do need some alone time nowadays).

In the first article, I wrote about how I’ve been connecting more with friends and family. Here, I want to write more about one of the ways I’m connecting; the hobby I’ve had to put on the back-burner for the past few years – tabletop roleplaying games.


You’d think this would be number one on my list, eh? Hell, my online moniker almost everywhere is “GM Radio Rob” (if you’re not aware, “GM” is short for “game master,” a master of ceremonies, improvisational actor and rules referee who does the most to keep the exciting – or thrilling, or suspenseful, or scary – pace of an RPG session going for the other players).

Yet here it is at #2, because I’m realising that (while we’ve been spoiled to think otherwise by video games that allow you to engage with a challenge with no other human being in the immediate vicinity) a game is ultimately as enjoyable as the people you’re playing with, no matter how interestingly complex the rules are. Hence, it’s more an outgrowth of list item #1 – friends and family.

I’ve been putting some of the extra time I now have on my hands toward getting better at the hobby I genuinely enjoy, and sharing my talents with some awesome folks:

  • An old friend invited me into his friends’ Tuesday fortnightly game of Dungeons & Dragons (5th Edition) played online using Roll20.
  • I am GMing Star Wars: Force and Destiny for some friends in town once a month, although we’re talking about making it a both-days-of-the-weekend thing.
  • Finally, I’m playing in a game of Dogs in the Vineyard fortnightly in town (in the main area of The Pier, a local shopping centre, of all places).

For a while, I was also GMing Wrath & Glory, the official Warhammer 40,000 RPG, fortnightly for another group of mates at my place until I realised I wasn’t enjoying trying to develop plots and opposing characters in the grim darkness of Warhammer 40,000’s far future.

Not only has this hobby allowed me to connect with folks I’ve not seen in a while, it allows me to indulge my geekish obsession with details in creating the worlds I will be presenting to my friends and players for their adventuring enjoyment and cement my skills as an entertainer by portraying the varied characters that their alter-egos will meet and interact with.

A big thank you to Corinne Shardlow for this photo of my Star Wars: Force and Destiny session at her ClubHouse Collective hangout!

Part of me is entertaining the idea of resurrecting my RPG actual play podcast, Only In Death: the Secret Mission Logs of Kill-Team Atromitos. I feel, though, that I need to get better in the game master’s craft before I look at making an RPG actual play podcast again.

I would like to start blogging about my experiences a bit more. I think the things I’m learning as I re-explore my hobby could be helpful to those getting into it or just after a different perspective.

And hey, I’d like to have a podcast more like Happy Jack’s RPG Podcast, where a bunch of friends get together, read letters from listeners and give hilarious advice. I really enjoy the shows where friends hang out and shoot the breeze in a semi-structured fashion.

Still, any ambitions of mine need to be tempered by my present circumstances and the needs thereof, which I will discuss further in the next post.

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