Armagideon Time

Archive for the ‘Role-Playing with the Changes’ category

The autumn of 1988 was an oasis of calm before the impending shitstorm. My family’s dysfunctions had metastasized into a weird state of equilibrium. My mother was still a basket case and my father was still out of control, but there was a sense that the situation had leveled out just enough for me to […]

While 1987 had been a non-stop shopping spree of (mostly ill-advised) game purchases, 1988 ended up being very subdued on that front. My family’s dysfunctions had begun to enter their terminal phase, marked by violent outbursts which made me increasingly reluctant to have friends over. Money became tight. My brother and I lost the paper […]

By the beginning of 1988, my enthusiasm for Dungeon & Dragons had reached a low ebb. My group tried multiple times to change things up with unofficial house rules and other ancillary material, but none of was able to mitigate my frustration with the system’s limitations and overall clunkiness. We were still into fantasy genre […]

Sometime during the last few weeks of 1987, my pal Scott spotted something interesting in the back pages of the current issue of Dragon Magazine. Buried between the ads for custom character portraits and play-by-mail adventures was an ad for the Compleat Strategist, a small chain of stores specializing in role-playing and other games. What […]

It’s time for the entry I’ve been dreading since I first embarked on this feature. It has little to do with the game in question and everything to do with the historical context. In the latter half of 1987, my dad got busted for drunken driving. He wasn’t technically operating the vehicle when it happened. […]

While the start of my sophomore was an academic shitshow, my routine outside school hours remained unchanged from my junior high days. I continued to spend a lot of time with my pals Scott and Damian (though almost never simultaneously). We were all still into role-playing games as a concept and cash sink, but our […]

My ninth grade year was a bright spot in an otherwise dismal junior high experience. It was the year I managed to hone my dorkiness and social maladaptation into something resembling a persona — a goofy pastiche of performative eccentricity and clearance aisle Hawaiian shirts. My delayed embrace of Dungeon & Dragons connected me with […]

If you haven’t been able to figure it our thus far, my younger self purchased a slew of role playing games which saw little (if any) actual play around our gaming table. I’ve delved into the various reasons for that in previous installments of this feature, so this time around I’d like to discuss the […]

In the last installment of this feature, I talked about the giddy accumulation of stuff which comes when one dives head-first into a new hobby. This week, I’m going to discuss a regrettable adjunct to that strain of over-exuberant consumption — the signal-to-noise ratio which causes the occasional jewel to get lost amidst the torrent […]

There’s a stage in every hobby when measured fascination risks turning to into unquestioned obsession. The mechanic is similar to addiction behaviors, where users try to offset diminishing thrills by increasing the frequency and dosage of each subsequent hit. Geek pastimes are particularly prone to this pathology, due to their long-standing conflation between consumption and […]

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