Sunday, February 24, 2013

Shaming My Space Opera

Jay recently commented on my gushing post about X-Plorers (the RPG):
I'm late to this party, but just wanted to pipe in that I'm running X-Plorers with a space opera setting (having jettisoned the "corporations in space" conceit, which I found dull).
So far, two different play groups - one of novices and another of veterans - have all found it to be great fun.
Attached were links to the Red Astra-themed posts on his blog.

Well, I read through his posts and his play-tests and Jay's take on what "space opera" is all about and I have to say he made me feel...O what word should I use? Shame? Yeah, that's a pretty good one, though perhaps a little harsh.

First and foremost, he reminded me that KWN has been back-burnered in recent weeks and has yet to have a single play-test. That is me totally dropping the ball, and pretty f'ing inexcusable. Why? 'Cause the thing is practically done (it's 42 out of maybe 48 or 50 pages total!) and ready to roll out. But it needs the play-testing at this point...I've just had such a damn hard time getting a game together lately. Either people are sick or have other plans or else I can't make it 'cause the wife's out of town or she's been sick or the boy's been sick, and I've had to stay in. She's been back for two weeks, and sick for all of it, and now she's been called down to Latin America again, on short notice, and will be flying out tomorrow morning for a week...which means no game for me this week either. So I' gaming session in a month? And I've got four or five things I'm trying to test? That makes for a very sloooow publishing process, even as I've managed to find some time to write it all up.

Not that my life is bad, folks...I'm not so stupid as to say I'd trade it for anything. I'm just venting my frustration. Frustration is a feeling...we all have feelings, regardless of what logic dictates we should be experiencing feeling-wise.

Anyway, I could be concentrating on KWN and play-testing it, but I actually allowed my frustration to get the better of me about 5 or 6 weeks ago, and so went back to working on 5AK...not to mention a 1-2 week stint with DMI, Legendary Might, right? Um, yeah...that was the most recent name. Anyway I could be concentrating on KWN, and I'm not, and that's leading to the project gathering dust on the shelf which is the first part of my shame.

The second part is...after reading Jay's posts...maybe I'm doing it all wrong. Maybe I don't know space opera the way I least, if I want to write a space opera supplement for X-Plorers.

Ugh...the problem I have, or that I suspect that I have (and that I've had for awhile) is that I take myself too goddamn seriously. Or rather, I don't take myself too seriously ( was a different story fifteen or eighteen years ago), but I take my WORK (that is the stuff I'm writing, game-wise) too seriously. Like, the subject matter, silly as it is, needs to be treated with some high degree of sanctification or dignity or something. Like, I'm not allowed to put specific rules for capes into my game even though I was considering it for DMI (and even though Jay has totally come up with a slick way to do just that in his space opera campaign.

What makes me have such a stick up my ass? It's like I'm trying to do a Jedi version of Dogs In The Vineyard or something using a B/X chassis (actually, I've often thought DitV would make the ideal vehicle for a Jedi-centric space opera game, but I've...duh...just never been able to find the time to try it; plus, ship-to-ship combat would be problematic). Anyway, part of why space opera kicks ass is its super-duper wahoo factor...and there is very little "wahoo" to be found in my KWN supplement. Or rather, "none." That would be a better way to describe it.

So I'm feeling a little shame...a little for letting the project slide, especially when it's so near to completion, and from doing it in a terribly serious fashion, as I seem to do with ALL my games. I purposefully tried to make my fantasy cyberpunk game more "over-the-top" but OTT for me is still pretty staid and serious, I'm afraid. I mean, compared to some things out's probably NOT as serious as Shadowrun itself (which it apes), but well...never mind. I was talking about space opera. And shame.


I have an interview for a promotional opportunity Monday at my regular job-job, and I don't think I even have a damn suit that fits me anymore, it's been so long since I had to wear a tie or button-up shirt that you "tuck in." And I don't even really want the gig, because it will mean I need to commute downtown again and learn a whole new skill set and deal with all new people in a managerial/adversarial position, plus possibly be working longer hours with less time to write. On the other hand, I'd make more money. Frigging money. And the only thing really on my mind right now is space opera.


I really need to get a couple more of these books finished/published.

Okay, that's all for now. Thank goodness tomorrow is Sunday. Maybe I'll drop Diego off with Grandma for a couple hours and go write. Like at the bar.

@ Jay: You are not late to the party, man. You ARE the party. Keep up the good work, and maybe I'll be buying your book.

P.S. Want to play-test a 40+ page supplement?


  1. Just wanted to say I was wearing a cape while reading this. . . LOL

    Good luck with your interview!

  2. JB, thanks for the shout out and the kind words! I'm humbled, really. For my part, I'm having fun with my little land of make-believe. And THAT is what it's all about. That's all you need to worry about--so don't be getting down on yourself about taking yourself "too serious;y". As long as you're doing something that makes you proud and you're having fun, then that's a worthwhile effort, in my book. I'm really looking forward to seeing your game when it comes out--I know it'll be great!

  3. @ Jay: No need to preach to the choir about creating for the sake of creation. However, "humbled" is perhaps the word *I* should have used instead of "shamed"...your gonzo space opera sure seems a lot worthier of the cape than my little opus (which, by the way, does NOT even include a mechanic for capes at this point). I'll continue to plug away at mine...YOU just keep doing your own bit for inspiring the masses.
    : )