Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Recurring Pattern

Aren't all patterns recurring? Isn't the repeating of elements what makes a pattern a pattern?  Although I suppose a recurring pattern is when the pattern as a whole repeats. 

See, I don't just over-analyze the semantics of other people's words. I do it to myself as well. 

The point is, I recently noticed a pattern.

While I love to try out new games and often get inspired to run RPGs based on genres, settings, or IPs that I am newly introduced to - or even re-introduced to as the case maybe -  even I tend to fall back on a certain set of preferred games.

Sure I'll run a short campaign of Smurfs here or Space:1999 there, perhaps suddenly be inspired (as I have been of late) to run a one-shot of Aura Battler Dunbine, but I always swing back around to my favorites. 

What I am seeing that surprises me is that these favorites often fall into a pattern of sorts. While not always exact and with a caveat or two (I often feel like running Star Trek after even a short length of time of not running it), I believe the pattern looks something like this:

Basically, I run a Star Trek game and at some point during it I get ideas for a Star Wars game. This lasts until I get one going or at the very least run a one-shot. In some cases, the one-shot is enough to fulfill my Star Wars craving, a least for a little while. 

After running Star Wars I'll feel as if I've either done too much IP Science Fiction or not enough. If I decide there's been too much, I usually drift over to Superheroes, with Champions 4th Edition my mainstay. I may be attracted to another system or a particular setting, but Supers of some kind is going to be run. 

On the other hand, if I am still very much in a Science Fiction mood I will want to run a Sci-Fi game very different from either Star Wars or Star Trek. This usually leads me to things like ALIEN, Red Dwarf, Lensman, or some other known space adventure universe. 

Once I've run one of these, I inadvertently drift towards Fantasy, for even though I am not really a big fan of it, I can't keep but feel the tug of 'ya'know what I haven't looked at in a long time?'. If I previous ran Supers then I want my Fantasy a bit more grounded and generally start looking at Ars Magica. If the Supers I was running was more low key, maybe with a bit of a more modern influence, then I'll want something more High Fantasy like Wares Blade, with it's magical, giant robots. 

If I went for more Sci-Fi, and an IP at that, my next game is likely to be my own universe of Aerth and The Winghorn Guard, a mix of High Fantasy and Superheroics. If not that then a period piece such as Pendragon or Bushido. Now say the licensed game or setting I chose was particularly heavy and dark, such as the Cyberpunk/Noir world of Blade Runner. Then I am going to want to go wild and do something crazy like the Japanese TRPG 'The Trouble With Aliens' (kind of a reverse Men In Black), Toon, Teenagers from Outer Space, Paranoia, Tales from The Floating Vagabond, Hunter Planet, a Muppets game, or what-have-you. 

When the dust settles and the smokes clears, I will, as sure as the Sun rises in the East and sets in the West, return to Star Trek. It is my favorite setting to run and like my dog, it always welcomes me home. 

Do you have a similar pattern? Share it with me.

Barking Alien


  1. Yes, I have definite patterns (I'd call them cycles) that seem to feed/bleed into each other. Some years they even seem linked to the seasons.

    1. I always feel like, as noted, my cycles are related other parts of itself.

      It should be pointed out that as I stated above, this is the pattern I fall into when nothing else is occupying my thoughts. This is what I do when no other, more unusual and 'unique' idea pops into my head. If that happens this pattern need not be tapped; perfectly content to sit on my mental shelf until needed.