The Inexorable and Undeniable Approach of Grognardhood… or Is It?

Posted: October 12, 2011 by pointyman2000 in Articles, Roleplaying Games

Sometimes, I wonder if I’m staring to get too old.  I used to be quite happy about the fact that I was a “system-dabbler” back in college, whereupon I would try and study as many game systems as I could possibly get my hands on.  I was more than eager to get my hands dirty, elbows deep into the guts of every system I could find.

Today, I find that trying to learn a new system has become somewhat more difficult now.  I’m not certain if it’s because of a shortened attention span, lack of focus, or the fact that I’m just old, but my trusty grey matter has had difficulty grasping concepts and rulesets that many others find trivial.  For example, I could never wrap my head around the FATE rules completely.  I’ve had some exposure to it thanks to my review of Bulldogs! but at the same time it doesn’t come as naturally to me as say… nWoD’s Storytelling system, or L5R’s Roll and Keep, or even the HERO system.

So what does this mean for me?  Have I finally reached the period of decline when it comes to learning new systems?  Should I look forward to my GMing to calcify, my brain no longer able to keep up with new plot twists and interesting ideas?

Probably not.  Sure, learning things is a little harder now, but I’m still of the opinion that it may have something to do with the fact that there’s a lot of distractions around right now.  Given that I read most of my RPG books on PDF format lately, it’s easy to multi-task, and I will be the first to attest that multi-tasking when you’re trying to study is a very bad thing.

I suspect that the best solution to my current predicament is to pick a system, hunker down in a PC without an internet connection or other distractions and go at it like I’m studying for my finals back in college.  Focus and determination are my two best weapons against this sort of thing, and I’ll be damned if I’m going to let a little difficulty slow me down.

  1. Anthony says:

    I would also point out that you just compared a new system to something that has been around for 15-20+ years. So, sure L5R seems familiar, it has been out for 15 years. Same with HERO, and same with WoD. Sure, new editions have come out, but they are still built on the old framework giving you a point of reference.

    It could just be a matter of time to get it all with the same experience.

    • That’s a good point, Anthony. All of those are old systems, and they’ve been around for multiple iterations already. That’s why I’m looking at trying this focus and determination approach on one of the newer games out there.

  2. Tallgeese says:

    I love FATE, but reread the rules every time I need to run the game. 🙂 I love FATE, but need to read each implementation of FATE carefully because there are very subtle difference in how it is used in different systems.

    I do wonder about the same question myself at times (“Am I too old to learn a new system?”, and “I getting thick?” with age), but I also find layout and book design matters a great deal: is the design to busy to follow, the columns too wide to read, the font too small, the book to heavy (I’m looking at you, Dresden!), yadda yadda yadda.

    I definitely get further with B&W books with a decent font/font size. Good grammar helps me maintain interest, too!

  3. Hikkikomori says:

    Ah, yes. Getting old. The inexorable march of time.

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