Third time lucky

9 09 2009

As I’ve referenced before, my decision to get back into role-playing had a variety of drivers, but once I decided to get back into it, I did so in earnest.

My shelves had a small selection of materials even before I decided to restart playing – mostly due to my writing interest.  Star Wars (WOTC), Warhammer, Babylon 5 (Titan) and GURPS comprised almost half a shelf between them.  Star Wars had the most space allocated and Babylon 5 was just the main rules.

great-britainIf it’s not already apparent, I’m based in the UK – hence the correct spelling of English words like colour and grey.  I say this, as my experience is England-centric, but I’m ready to believe not unique to this country.

Anyway, I digress (for a change).  When I considered getting back into the fold, I turned to the resource that wasn’t around either of the first two times I played – the Internet.  How easy it would be – I presumed – to find fellow gamers with so many forums and web-sites available to help me.

Yeah, that was the plan.  I found a handful of sites that either were geographically specific or covered my area too.  And I trawled and I trawled.  I found a few fellow gamers – but most hadn’t posted anything in two years.  I did find a really good board-gaming group that meets once a month locally, but no role-playing.

After about two weeks of searching and posting, I decided the old-fashioned way of finding a game was best.  So I decided to set off for the local gaming shops.

Except I couldn’t really find them anymore.  Back in my second era,  I could pick up gaming material locally at six book shops, there were two specialist role-playing shops, there was one toy shop that had a huge role-playing section and there were four comic/collectables shops that had decent role-playing stock.

Fast forward and I thought I’d check out what I could locate by using the internet.  I now had two bookshops to choose from (both have half a dozen books at most now).  There are no specialist role-playing shops left.   There are just two comic/collectables shops and the toy shop has long gone (this was my personal favourite as its bargain bin always had great stuff in it).  The shops have either gone or their stock choice has changed significantly.

So I was left with two shops that I could hope to find players through.  I visited both and found maybe half a dozen cards offering games etc.  The first thing I found out is that Sunday afternoon is the popular time for role-playing where I live.  As a parent, giving up every Sunday afternoon is a definite no-go. 

Which left me with a couple that I could pursue.  Except that they were no longer looking for players.  I heard about plenty of groups, but they were long-running and didn’t even consider new gamers.

So I had a brainwave.  I decided to print off my own card advertising that I wanted to role-play.  The first shop I visited reviewed the card and promised to post it on their board.  Two months later and it still hasn’t been put up.

The second shop put my card up immediately (I was told I had printed it on lovely paper).  They also mentioned that there was role-playing every Tuesday night in-store.  My heart leaped for joy!  Better still, a GM was going to start a new Dark Heresy campaign next week.

I turned up for my first Tuesday with great expectations (no, not the book).  I spent the evening rolling a character and noted that most of the people assembled were either board-gaming or playing collectable card games.  There was, however, one other group that were role-playing some D&D.

As the evening finished, the GM explained that he was about to move house, so wouldn’t be around the following week – but would start the campaign the week after.

Slightly disappointed, I was about to leave when the other GM came over.  He’d heard I was looking to role-play and wondered if I wanted to participate in a one-shot Shadowrun adventure the following week.  Two game offers in one night…

Six weeks later, and the Dark Heresy GM has yet to show.  The Shadowrun GM hasn’t returned either.  For those weeks, I’ve played a few boardgames and rolled a character for another game (Mouseguard) and had a brief session of it (I won’t call it role-playing). 

In case there are too many hankies out at this point, consider this blog sponsored by Disney.  As my frustration grew, I received an email from someone who had seen my advert in the gaming shop.  As I waved goodbye to the in-store gaming group, I said hello to my new RPG career, third time out.

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