Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The "E" Word

Apathy is the glove in which evil slips its hand.

Just to warn you up front, this post is going to have little if anything to do with the mechanics of running a game, it is almost purely personal drama.  So if that sort of thing does not interest you then you might wish to skip this and come back tomorrow.  I am writing this to hopefully get it out of my system so that I may move on, but then again it may not help a bit?

I have two brothers who are very different in terms of temperament and interests, but one thing they do share is this inability to let things go where their old jobs and co-workers are concerned.  One has not worked for a place for over ten years yet he still goes over the same stories about how terrible it was to work there, of the injustices suffered, of the terrible bosses.  And my other brother is not that much different.  He worked with a guy he could not stand and he still talks about him.  I think both of them should just let it go.  What good does it do to talk about events long in the past or people who no longer have an impact on your life? And yet, here I am feeling, as I imagine, the exact same way they do.  Only instead of co-workers and bosses and jobs, it is gaming.  It is this thing I do that I enjoy doing; running role playing games, participating in them.  It is gaming, or more specifically, a gamer.

This guy, Drew, my old GM, said some disparaging things to me and I really began to wonder about what I was doing here.  “Here” being this blog.  I began this blog for several reasons.  The first is I thought perhaps it might be a nice way to network with people, engage in conversations, exchange ideas.  That did not exactly work out.  I think I have had maybe four responses to all my entries (To be fair, I never really expected responses to things like Song of The Week or Wonder Woman’s new costume).  And I thought it would be a nice way to discuss the mistakes I have made in the past, talk about what has worked for me, suggest ideas for people’s games.  But I have no idea if any of what I have written has been at all helpful to anyone because I never get any feedback.  After a while even some constructive negative feedback might be nice.  Finally, I began the blog because I wanted to write.  I am a writer, at least an aspiring one, and writing articles like this was a way to exercise.  Only after a while the articles felt like work.  I am not being paid to write them and it appears I do not have much of an audience to write them for.  Sure, I have eight followers but two one guys I know from my college and table top days and to my knowledge neither are running any games, and at least another one are my players and I am almost certain he is not running anything.  Are any of my followers fellow GMs?  I don’t know; they don’t talk to me.  I called Drew one of my peers and he dismissed me, used the "E" word in reference to me.  Both stung and they made me take stock of what, exactly I am still doing here.  With Drew’s allegation of wickedness on my part compounded with personal drama (which I will detail below), and on top of that my purpose for writing this blog called into question, Apathy descended, so much so that I could not be bothered to look up a suitable synonym to shake things up.

And now…Now, something else has taken hold and like the affliction my two brothers suffer from, it will simply not let go.  Indifference has gone and has been replaced with anger.  Anger at Drew. Drew called what I did "pure evil", and all I did was express my opinion.  Evil.  That is a pretty strong word.  Had I tried to destroy his reputation or sought to wreck his marriage (if he were, in fact, married.  I have no idea.) like a soap opera villain then yes, I might be considered evil.  But for what I did, private exchanges made, one under the influence of annoyance and grief?  I sought to explain myself and this was the response I earned?

I will elaborate.  A few weeks ago I suspected my cats might be ill.  They are going on sixteen and honestly their age never really impacted me.  For some years now they always seemed to be the same.  Sure, the fat one got a little fatter, but outside of that there was this status quo.  Until I began noticing at least one of them was urinating more.  So I consulted my local pet store owner, who is a cat lover herself (Hers lived to be 23.  If there was any layman’s opinion to consult it was hers) and she suggested it was the first stages of renal failure.  So for the first time in years (and I will get to that in a moment) I took my cats to the vet.  Blood work was done and it turns out the fat one-Babooshka-has first stage renal failure, her kidneys are starting to shut down.  On top of that her teeth were in terrible shape and some were going to have to be pulled.  So not only was I slapped in the face with my cat’s sudden mortality, her quality of life was to be diminished and the latter was entirely my fault because I did not take my girls in for annual check-ups.  I was, am a delinquent parent.

So during this period of grief and self recrimination Drew sends me an instant message.  Drew was my GM and by this point I was coming to dread getting these things from him.  I had botched something terribly in his game and still felt bad about it and I suppose I was always expecting the next IM to be him telling me I screwed up again.  This time Drew was asking me to write a segment in a joint post where my character would do something Very Stupid, and this made me so…angry.  And yes, it is just a game, in the grand scheme of things it is utterly irrelevant but gaming is important to me, and when he asked me to write my character as being Very Stupid when I had up until that point written her in what I feel was a realistic, relatable and above all else smart character, I blew my stack.  All at once these issues I had with Drew’s game came to a head and I quit.  I told him off, told him the problems I had with the system he used to run the game and his GMing style.  Later I e-mailed him with a better explanation.

And that was when he used the "E" word.

Here is the exchange between Drew and myself concerning the falling out, I still have the e-mails should he or anyone else try to refute my comments.  I am not proud of my behavior but at least I did not call  Drew Evil for being a lousy GM.  And if I presumed he was inexperienced I just looked at how his game was being run and I assumed he was new to it.  If Exeter is the result of more than twenty five years of role playing then I shudder to think the sort of game he was running ten years ago.

And so that is part of the reason I am writing this now, I am going to address why I think Drew is a lousy GM.  If Drew wishes to think expressing my opinion in private "pure evil" then I wonder how he would feel if I voiced my opinions publicly?  What the hell, let me embrace the "E" word.  Let the hate swell within me and let me come over to the dark side...

To be continued...

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