*stone hits window*
*stone hits window again*
I sleepily open the window and stare down at the dimly-lit street below my bedroom. It's Nick.
'What? What do you want?' I whisper down. The neighbour's dog has already started barking.
'Are you okay to game?' Nick tries to whisper, but let's face it, he's shouting.
'It's... it's 1:00 in the fucking morning!' I blurt out loudly when my eyes finally focus on the red glowing numbers on my alarm clock.
'Yeah, but are you okay to game right now?'
Now, I was still living at home at this time. I wouldn't move out until the end of this year, but it was the only place many of my gaming friends could come to regularly for games. And I was gaming a lot. Even at 1:00 in the morning, on a workday, when Nick had had a few beers and decided that playing his Star Wars character was a good idea. And he'd walked three miles to do so.
I worked out recently that I was gaming four times a week - Paul, PaulG and group, Paul Mark and Nick, and Nick. Nick, at 1:00 in the morning. The games did get intense with Nick, sometimes too much so, and we'd game until stupid o'clock in the morning... when my mom had gone away, of course. I perfected a few GMing skills during this period, learned how to combine a player's need to control his PCs destiny without compromising the story. In fact, these were some of my first ever sadnbox games, the kind of games I revel in. Sometimes I was given such short notice I had to run a game on the fly. After all, 1:00 in the morning is pretty damn short notice. I learned by the seat of my GMing pants.
That was a lot of gaming. I was playing a lot, only GMing every now and then, but playing a lot. Some games were good, some bad, some amazing, some atrocious. Now, Tere Swordsong had retired - not died or been defeated, he'd just retired - and we were playing a lot of Star Wars D6. A lot. Me and Paul had kind of locked horns on how cool our primary PCs were, and we had started to not only have a stab but royally screw each other over as we GM'd for each other. This was my Mary Sue period - my Star Wars PC, Goah Galletti, was simply the best and I expected respect when I played him and demanded respect when I GM'd him as an NPC. Me and Paul fought back and forth, always trying to outdo each other, and awarded our PCs special plaudits and equipment whilst NPCing them. I'm sure there was some great gaming in there somewhere, but mostly it was juvenile rubbish. Sadly, it's the juvenile rubbish that I remember the most.
I was also partying. A lot. My hair grew long, I started to smoke, I barely got through the weekends sober. Towards the end of the year RPGs had suddenly become a week-time thing, as weekends were far too valuable to use up on dice when there was beer to be had. Beer and cigarettes. And girls. By the end of December I'd moved out of my home and into a house with Nick and Stan, and that house became the party house for not only our friends but pretty much everyone we ever met.
I'm not saying this to give myself some kind of street cred, considering that I've been going on and on about my roleplaying. I had no intention of giving up RPGs as I loved them too much, but I found out that there was more to life than rulebooks and dice.
It's when I tried to mix the two that things went crazy.