10 April 2013

The Grass Is Greener (In the Other Rulebook)

I get these moods when I really want to dig into a new RPG rulebook.

Often it happens when I'm supposed to be preparing for a game. I enjoy reading rulebooks, but when you have to do it, well, it just becomes a chore, and you... procrastinate. I guess I'm also a rather restless person at heart, and like my bit of variety.

Right now, while my next game sessions already loom on the horizon, there's no acute rush. However, for the past few days I've been suffering from a slight cold, which is another good excuse for procrastinating and a sure way to get your mind wandering and looking for filler to fight the boredom.

It is not really a rational desire. I already have many games in my shelf that I've never played. And I'm already participating in several games, so the likelihood of having a chance to try anything new any time soon is fairly slim. Sure, you could maybe squeeze in some one-shot adventures, but to be honest, I'm not really too crazy about one-shots. Seems like a lot of work, getting to know the rules, creating characters etc. just for one evening... Reading RPG books without realistic potential to play them in the foreseeable future does seem a little... hollow. But this knowledge seems to count for little when I get the mood.

The problem, however, is finding those new books to delve in, me not being made of money and all that. Even if I could afford some particular book, I'm not one to buy a 'pig in a poke', so to speak. I've discussed some free games in my blog before, but finding new genuinely interesting and high quality material for free is... well, probably unsurprisingly, pretty challenging. And, superficial as it may sound, I do like my RPG books high quality, with lots of lovely art etc. The aesthetic experience is an important part of gaming for me.

Currently I'm still quite interested in Monte Cook's Numenera. But that won't be out for a good while yet, and still costs a lot of money. Another game that has caught my attention on a few occasions already over the past few months is Tenra Bansho Zero. Japan has its own RPG industry, but very few of their games make it to the west. This translation has been a fan's labour of love lasting many years, and from what I can see on the website, it looks fairly impressive. It's now available as PDF, with a print book available for pre-order.

The PDF version of Tenra Bansho Zero currently costs $14, which, I guess, is actually a pretty reasonable price, all things considered. However, I'm not sure I'm mentally capable of paying even that much money for something that I can't hold in my hands. Plus there is the 'pig in a poke' factor. Yet without access to the book itself I can't actually learn more about it. Do you see my dilemma?

So probably most often these moods of mine end with me cursing about not finding anything really worthwhile (or economical enough) to read... Life can be so frustrating sometimes...

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