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Finding new RPG groups when you move.

By Belinda Kelly


After going through a particularly-gruelling mid-twenties crisis, where not even the joys of editing state legislation got to me any more, I decided to move down to Sydney for a tech writer gig. Sydney is supposed to be Australia's big smoke, but didn't have Friday night late shopping. I was unimpressed, even with the spectacle of Queen Victoria's barking dog statue.

The new job was near Parramatta. One thing about Parramatta stands out (apart from the sea of beanie wearing, flannelette-clad individuals) is this amazing melted-looking statue in the middle of the mall. It looks like two melting mutants fused together, wrestling in the mud. I thought it must have something do with rugby - everything else in NSW seemed to. You couldn't go for two suburbs without running into a leagues club of some description.

Despite the excitement of corporate life and trying to document software with lots of hidden features ("What does this screen do then?" "Oh, Terry did that. He's not working here anymore. We weren't sure what it did, so we just left it."), I was compelled to seek out roleplayers, unable to restrain my innate nerdiness. And so the quest for a roleplaying group began...

Roleplaying group #1

I'd agreed to run D&D3E as they said they didn't have a regular GM. It was at the guy's parent's place. Not a good sign, I reflected. Alex was quite a substantial guy, practically spilling out of his Babylon 5 T-shirt. Mum (also a bit on the substantial side) was pottering in the background. "Don't mind me!" she called out as she dusted things in the background. Alex's friend had a nervous giggle that seemed to go off every five seconds. The third guy called up and said he couldn't make it. Alex mentioned that maybe it was glad that this guy wasn't coming, as he'd come in high for the last few sessions.

Alex and friend rolled up characters, and the giggling friend scored four eighteens in a row. Alex claimed that his mate had rolled them straight. Sigh. I ran a bit of a canned module and wasn't surprised at the fact they succeeded on every roll. I was also aware they kept staring at me as though I was some strange, primordial creature that had dragged itself across their doorstep. This stares sort of reminded me of my time at Dreamlink, Brisbane's RPG club for subhumans and truly desperate roleplayers (I plead the latter category). I erected my trusty screen and hunched behind it, finished off the adventure and quickly mentioned that I had to go somewhere. I promised to give them a call back when I was ready to run another session. I haven't yet.

Roleplaying group #2

This group was cursed. It was bog-standard D&D, sure enough, but every person who GMed the group had to drop out due to work or renovations or spousal complaints or zombie plague or... Soon, our numbers dwindled into insubstantiality. The gaming table also had a spell of preservation cast upon it. Pizza crumbs left on it would magically be there in the same position the next week and the week after...

Roleplaying group #3

D&D again. Man, I needed my White Wolf fix. Did no one in Sydney roll ten d10s anymore? This was another trial game where I got to play some one else's character. My name was 'Cleric'.
"Cleric, I need a Cure Light Wounds!"
"Turn that zombie, Cleric!"
"I reach for my holy symbol, the divine energy of Pelor seething through me. I raise out my hands and..."
"What did you roll?" the DM interrupted. Sigh. This game was also interrupted every five seconds by some little kids who wanted Daddy to do stuff with them.
"Daddy, can I help you roll the dice?"
"Daddy, Brendan said a swear word!"
"SHUT UP!", Daddy raged, "Go to your ROOM!"

Kids and roleplaying are a tricky subject, I guess. You want to game and they want you. I think I found 'Daddy's' sudden outbursts a bit more alarming than the constant mewing of the kids, though.

Roleplaying group #4

I went to an animé party. I stared suspiciously at this girl who was wearing cat ears. She kept miaowing. Someone showed me her collection of yaoi drawings (that's homoerotic animé, mainly written by women - you learn something every day). I reminisced about Sephiroth (that's a character from Final Fantasy VII) a for a bit. And there - in the corner - someone was talking about Exalted! Woot! Ten-siders again! I had struck pay-dirt. I went to the first game after that. It was like a small clan gathering or something. Eight or so players. Some people did stuff, others sat around. Someone went off to visit a brothel (In a game, I hastily add). One guy was amusing: "So, this demon comes at you," (the ref says)
"What do you do?"
"I don't know," the player says.
"It's appearing right in front of you, dripping slime." (Ref shows picture - NPCs weren't described, they just looked like photocopied drawings from various animés...)
"What do you do?"
"I don't know..."
"It's ripping and tearing into you! Blood's flying everywhere! What DO YOU DO?!!!"
"I don't know!"

Anyway, after all that, I finally managed to compose a group (my current one) with players gathered from this or that group. It took a bit of time - about six or so months to find a decent RPG group. I guess it's something you either get lucky with or it takes a while...

Belinda Kelly works in Sydney, Australia as a full time writer. To read her work, you'll need to buy some software from eBet Gaming Systems or get employed there so you can read such exciting treats as the 'MemberAssist Installation Guide' and 'Design Specifications for the ZBV Relational Database Model'.

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