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12/13/07

The Ages.

I separate my gaming habits in to "ages" to help keep things organized. Each age has a name that sort of sums up the period. The time span isn't really consistent between ages, as that's not really the most effective way for me to remember. Rather, I look at the characters and try to come up with a descriptor for how I felt when making them. The individual ages are discussed below.



Golden Age
The Golden Age was the beginning of gaming. It was a prosperous time, marked with new experiences and lots of learning. Most of this time was taken up by our first characters. These were our children - our avatars. We wanted them to be perfect. We also wanted them to be better than each other. The Golden Age made our characters obscenely wealthy and powerful. We wanted to be like gods, and came fairly close. However, after the Golden Age reached its peak, it dissolved into bitter infighting. We had no solid rules, as the very foundation was built on a game called Dragon Quest, which had no scalability, and we were forced to create it. We fought about whose character was overpowered, and who needed more gold, and on, and on, and on. As the bickering increased, the Golden Age waned until we entered the Dark Age.



Dark Age
The Dark Age was a time of despair and hopelessness. The old characters were forgotten, left to die, their fall to obscurity sudden. The Dark Age lasted several years, and was marked by the creation of nameless, faceless, first-level characters that were doomed to obscurity from the very beginning. We were afraid to return to our previous ways, and overcompensated by preventing any advancement at all. Characters were made with little or no thought, as they were certain to be forgotten by the end of the night. Wealth and power were basically nonexistent, and characters had no personality. Eventually, the group was altered and expanded and the Dark Age finally came to an end.



Age of Rebirth
The Age of Rebirth marked an age of new beginnings and restored hope. Our group gained a few members and also lost some, and it was beneficial. Characters lasted longer and were more interesting. They gained power, but did not become unbalanced, and were enjoyable to play. Adventures were engaging and persisted longer than a single night. This age picked the gaming scene out of the depths of the Dark Age. Though some characters were lost, the life expectancy was much longer. However, all good things must come to an end.



Age of Strife
There came a time in which we all had to leave for college. Enter the Age of Strife. Separated for months at a time, gaming came to a halt. I made some attempts to play at school, but it was with strange people and in strange lands. During the breaks, we returned, but these were difficult times. Prolonged adventures were nigh impossible, and characters' life expectancy dropped significantly. However, despite all this adversity, some of the finest characters were created during this age. Perhaps the long periods of downtime allowed us to "recharge" and produce excellent characters as a result. Therefore, the Age of Strife is marked by struggle, with a few rays of hope shining through.



Technology Age
Eventually, we found other ways to communicate. The traditional conventions were thrown out and replaced with technological advances, allowing us to game digitally. We discovered software allowing us to easily run campaigns and used well established voice transmission methods to take gaming to new levels. The result was interesting. Chracters were not well-developed personally, but developed numerically rather quickly. Unfortunately, the technology was not perfect, and had some major shortcomings, the largest being the time factor. Battles sometimes took hours as each of the sometimes-huge party decided what to do. The Technology Age was mediocre - it allowed for gaming, and for new experiences with the very concept. However, it felt strained at times and people were not always available. As college ended, as did the Techonology Age.



Age of Discovery
The Age of Discovery began as one member of the group moved far, far away and another member began to try many new systems as DM. This age is named for this very thing: we were "discovering" new systems almost weekly. The other players started out running D&D 4th Edition games, but times changed and towards the end we had settled on FantasyCraft. Strangely, one of our longest played campaigns took place during this age. However, the DM still took several breaks to try new systems. Overall, the few persistent characters from this age were excellent but there were many throwaways.



Age of Structure
The Age of Structure began with the departure of the system-discovery DM and the return of another member. It is defined by relatively regular gaming nights with persistent and organized campaigns. There are some one-shots mixed in when people were absent, but overall character life is quite long compared to previous ages. This is probably the most consistent of all ages with only two real systems being run: D&D 5th Edition and Star Wars: Edge of the Empire. Sadly, all good things must come to an end and the Age of Structure will likely expire during the summer of 2018.
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