I’ve run some 3e recently. I think it’s been good for me.

Since I started down the hardcore path of design years ago, I hadn’t really taken a lot of time for fun — and I’m starting to see how that’s taken a toll on me.

I should point out here that there are a lot of different ways to have fun in D&D. It’s a pretty all-encompassing kind of experience. You can have fun tinkering with your character, you can have fun imagining cool stuff…

…And you can have fun slaughtering 10-minute PCs like nobody’s business.

I’ll admit that my fun fell in the latter-most category. Since TableCon back in January — and technically some six-odd months before that — I’ve been hankering for a splatterfest. That means almost a year that I’ve been waiting.

The last couple weeks have been glorious.

Running concurrently with some one-shot meat-grinders, I’m running a fairly torpid play-by-post adventure over at the Brilliant Gameologist forums.

I say torpid because we’re talking probably less than a dozen posts per day on average — and I don’t update it on weekends.

So far, I’ve induced a heart attack in a ninja, flayed three dwarves with a swarm of evil midges, chewed up a halfling’s soul with a manifestation of Tim Curry, and devoured a half-orc with a swamp reptile. It’s bloody brilliant.

Along the way I’ve conjured up several Weird Set Pieces like exploding planar-resonance crystals and acid-moss trees. And the tree possessed by Tim Curry.

It’s been fun. And cathartic.

After beating my head against a brick wall for a year and a half trying to “play a story” in 4e, this has been a really good break for me.

Psh. I might not even go back. I mean, sure I’ll use the 4e system again — but I can’t foresee a time when I’m going to try and “tell a story.”

After months of disappointment in Skyrim and Borderlands 2, this is exactly the kind of thing I’ve been craving. Admittedly, I’d rather be playing, but maybe if I can show my players how much fun it can be, they’ll be inclined to try.

Of course the downside is that I’ve been running on sheer “mania.”

I stopped running this kind of game years and years ago because it simply isn’t sustainable. It isn’t ultimately satisfying. It’s “junk food gaming.”

This is the perfect chance to acid-test my Rumor system. I have the chance now to see where it will fail and adjust for it. I haven’t used it yet because I’ve been too far removed from the game long enough that I spotted flaws in it immediately and had to forgo it in favor of “running the game.”

But! I’ve already designed a half-dozen fixes to get it going.

We’ll get there.