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Seeing the World through RPG-Colored Glasses

I began writing my first parody volume, Dwellings & Driveways: Keep on the Cul-de-Sac, in 2020, a few weeks into the pandemic. Like many families, mine was trying to adjust to a life lived almost completely at home, with work and school happening through computer screens. I was trying to stay productively creative, and to find a way to keep my spirits up by looking at quarantine a different way.

I’ve been playing RPGs since the early 80’s, so it’s not surprising I should land on the idea of reimagining my experience as a roleplaying game adventure. Since Keep on the Borderlands was my earliest memory of a setting, the pun in my title came naturally. And what if those daily interactions with grumpy kids, harried spouses, or boring chores were really just encounters, with the appropriate skill checks? Not only did they begin to seem humorous, particularly when illustrated in classic fantasy style, but they almost seemed manageable.

And if there was anything in my life I wished I could manage, it was parenting. When my

sons were little, they would me ask me what happened at my gaming sessions, and I would make up stories about my PC going to the grocery store or taking kids to school. The boys groaned and clamored for the truth. As I watched them navigate high school through and after the pandemic, I felt the same urge to redefine the experience through RPGs. Diapers & Daycares: Parents Handbook was born. Imagine being able to choose what kind of parent you would be—the Druid, the Coach, the Time-Traveller—and selecting feats! Raising kids could be a game, with rules and skills, rather than a non-stop rollercoaster ride of emotions and fear of making a mistake! With dice and Parent Player Character sheet in hand, one could venture into the Temple of Elementary People with confidence. Or at least a smile.

So I guess it’s no surprise that as I adjust to life with the kids off to college, and come to terms with the fact that I can’t seem to sit or stand without groaning or sighing , that I am turning once again to RPGs to make sense of my world. Getting older is not the most fun I’ve ever had, but as they say, it beats the alternative. And what if all these aches and pains are just the monsters we face on this level of our adventure through life? What if we can read their stat blocks and look at them from a different point of view? That’s what the MID-LIFE MONSTER MANUAL is all about—seeing the world through the games I love and having fun along the way.

Follow the project here.

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