Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Epic adventure!

Last week, an inbox update from Matt at opened:
"My pal Keith Baker (the man who created Eberron among many other great games) is planning the adventure of a lifetime later this year. His aim? To travel around the world, running roleplaying games in exchange for hospitality. He calls it Have Dice, Will Travel."
Intrigued, I clicked through to find out more. The designer of Eberron, which I'd played back in 2006-07 with Bill, Tony et al? Looking for grub and games in exchange for GM'ing? Hooked, I signed up.

This is incredibly cool. Regular readers might remember when, mounting my final counter attack against the idea that roleplaying is art, I wrote, back in September 2006:
"Perhaps just a bit more novel is the idea that the advance that this movement represents is simultaneously a return, albeit one which recreates its point of departure in a more complex and sophisticated form.

"What I'm talking about here is the feeling that roleplaying often gives me of having 'returned' to the venerable tradition of fireside storytelling. Or, in even more grandiose terms, I sometimes find myself wondering if those legendary PC's whose adventures live on in the 'fish-stories' you and your gaming buddies share down the years don't represent the revival- in an appropriate modern form- of the epic narratives of the ancient cultures of man."
Keith is here setting out to avail himself of a feature of the contemporary gaming scene the full potential of which I first became fully aware back in the days when my Space Marines habit made me a regular at The Bolter and Chainsword. What I realised then was that, love them or hate them, you had to credit GW with the creation of a genuinely international gaming scene. With WFB and 40K and the help of the burgeoning internet gaming community, it was a case of 'have army will travel', in hundreds of cities across the western world. In this vein, I can only think of Keith Baker's journey as the adventures of a troubador of the world village. Like I said, really cool.

More than that though. As I had occasion to note only last week, way back when RD/KA! was brand new, I wrote:
"I have a theory that it is this very ICT which actually makes rpgs capable of being what they really are. Let me put that another way: I believe that rpgs are one of the great popular cultural advances since rock and roll, a true sign of our times; and that it is the same ICT technology that makes this blog possible that will allow this still youthful cultural phenomenon to fully mature. That might seem an odd thing to say about 'pencil and paper' rpgs, but it is a theory of mine all the same."
If Keith's world tour isn't a moment in the maturation of roleplaying then I don't know what could be. More even than that. This maturation can reach its full potential through the use of ICT, via the internet.

Keith's going to travel the world GM'ing a lot of Eberron. Roll that up into a campaign in which the players spend the year of Keith's journey using the web for online roleplaying as a backdrop to the crucial course of events that follows Keith on his travels, naturally enough. Like I said, "it is the same ICT technology that makes this blog possible that will allow this still youthful cultural phenomenon [of rpgs] to fully mature."

Good luck to Keith on his travels. Even if he's not coming north to try my cooking, I'm sure I'll catch up with him in Birmingham in June, because it turns out that he's to be a guest GM at UK Games Expo'09. Regular readers will remember I'm to run a Combat Commander tournament at this year's Expo. I can, BTW, confirm that the tournament already has 6 promises and 12 possibles; enough to go ahead in other words. More ASAP. ;)

- There came a wanderer #1: Well, that was unexpected!
- There came a wanderer #2: Return to Eberron
- There came a wanderer #3: Dining out and gaming on!
- There came a wanderer #4: the wind-down and the send-off
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