I'm a regular visitor to Will Wheaton's blog. My article today is basically a cop-out because again, life happened when I wasn't expecting it. It's nothing more than a transcript of a reply to one of his articles. In the article in question, he sounded down because tabletop role-playing wasn't feeling like it used to. I figured I'd try to cheer him up (and others who may feel the same way) and let him know that it can still feel the same as it did way back when we were 12:
You and I are the same age, and I remember playing every edition but fourth (going to try it very soon though), and most of the other RPGs that were around then. I also remember that time as a golden age of imagination.
Over the years, I spent most of my gaming time as DM/GM/Storyteller/etc. The one thing I kept in mind was that no matter how many charts and tables, and how much calculus was needed to compute the results of an action, my job was to create an immersive story with engaging characters, well improv'd dialogue, voice acting, and even mood lighting.
I steered away from minis and maps to help my players visualise during combat, and to force me to visualise right along with them and describe things in a way where they could "see" what was going on in their mind's eye.
This has worked wonders for me over the years, and I've never lost that magical feeling of being whisked away to strange and wonderful places when I play, and my players (whomever they are at the time) seem to come right along with me.
It's been harder to find the time to game being a husband and a father of 3 young children (no more 72 hour sessions I'm afraid) , but I still ensure I make time to unwind, to escape from my worldly duties and responsibilities, and dive into magical places that I hope to share with my kids one day.
I hope you find this kind of game again, if you haven't already. May all of your hits be crits.
The article in question can be found on Will's +6 blog of amazingness (indredosity? uncanness?): http://tinyurl.com/ykm9wgw
Can't believe I haven't embedded a link to his blog before now. *facepalm*
Now to figure out how to do that...