The Gardens at Taskerland is the series in which I talk about this blog, the direction it is headed in, and any tweaks and alterations I feel like making. The rest of the series can be found here.
For a lot of people, the first lockdown was an opportunity to either try something new or rediscover something old. I fell into the latter group as I soon found myself running a weekly gaming session.
We started out playing old school Dungeons & Dragons until I realised that the sessions people seemed to enjoy the most were the ones rooted in mystery and investigation rather than acquisitiveness and violence. It was not long before we ported across to Call of Cthulhu.
Our weekly game has now been running for over a year and I find myself constantly surprised not only by my group’s reactions to the material I prepare for them, but also by my own reaction to ideas and habits laid down in the early 1990s when I first started gaming. Habits that don’t seem like a good match for the person I am today.
Returning to gaming has forced me to think more critically about stuff that I used to take for granted: Stuff like how to write adventures, how to structure campaigns, how to relate to your players, and how to buy material that will help to improve your game.
This blog was born of note-taking. The more I thought about how to run games, the more I realised that I should probably be taking notes and keeping track of useful conclusions, if only in order to avoid making the same mistakes over and over again. I decided to start putting my ideas online in the hope that sharing this stuff would a) motivate me to tidy up my ideas and b) help other people who might find themselves in similar positions. I am not a professional, an expert, or even a particularly good GM but I am trying to improve and I want to share some of the discoveries I have made.
Another reason for putting my writing online is a desire to return to regular blogging.
When I first started out, I made the mistake of thinking that blogs cohered around subject matter. In other words, you decided what cultural form you wanted to write about (films, games, books, clothes) and then you just started writing. I now realise that, far from producing something personal, this was a recipe for slightly shitty enthusiast press. But how do you tackle an entire cultural form? How can you hope to develop a voice or build an audience with such a broad range of potential subjects? No wonder so many bloggers either burn out or become part of the PR cycle.
I would like Taskerland to become something quite personal. I would like to write a little bit about my experiences as a gamer, a little bit about my current game, and a little bit about the things that inspire me when I sit down to write and prepare my current game. I am not sure where this process will take me, but I do know where I want to start.
I will start by placing Taskerland in a slow parabolic orbit of Chaosium’s venerable table top role-playing game Call of Cthulhu as that is the game that I am currently playing. I will then go on to write about some of the books I have bought, some of the films I have watched and some of the experiences that I have had because the only way to deal with the future is to consider the present in terms of the past.