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Posts Tagged ‘dementia’

I’ve been playing tabletop Call of Cthulhu roleplaying (RPG) games for 13 years. Played in my case by web forum postings, meaning I can post when I’m able to, and play with people all around the world. The online asynchronous forum method of playing has been very practical for me with my neurological illness which would rule out face to face gaming or anything requiring longer periods of attention at a time. In the main games I’ve played we work through adventures and scenarios that combine Doctor Who with Lovecraftian horror. Tabletop roleplaying is a sort of communal improvisation / shared storytelling / puzzle solving experience. Each character takes on a different character, and acts out that role, responding to the situations posed to them by the Keeper who runs the game. It’s a somewhat difficult process to describe, but a fun pastime, and a dynamic form of storytelling and game playing. Past scenarios in our linked campaign have included battling ghouls in the 1930s British Museum, aliens on future Pluto, encountering fishy folk in 1980s Dunwich in Suffolk, exploring late republican Rome, and now the latest installment set in Blitz-hit wartime London.

I love playing these games, and have got a lot of pleasure out of them. Our Keeper, who runs the games, has written and designed some excellent scenarios which are great fun to play through. The game is a combination of description, player decisions and chance. The latter is usually handled with dice rolls, normally digital in our case, and we have had some shocking luck along the way. Which can upend plots spectacularly, but makes the game unpredictable and exciting to play.

My character is a schoolteacher from 1950s Scotland, and one of the original characters in the series of linked Doctor Who games. She’s a companion of the Time Lord character, and so travelled to all these times and places. It’s amazing that she survived some of the things she ran into, not least given how bad her dice rolls have often been, but it’s been a marvellous journey.

Sadly it is soon coming to an end, although exactly how I will leave is not yet finalised. I have significant dementia like problems from my progressive neurological disease primary cerebral vasculitis, and these have worsened over the last few years, even while the disease has been more stable in other ways. I simply can’t keep up with game plots any more, not having a clue what has happened before plot-wise, either recently, or further back. I forget things constantly day to day, even hour to hour, and frequently minute to minute. It poses enough of a challenge when trying to follow plots in books, never mind trying to follow the plot in a long-running RPG game. I’ve tried to keep on playing, knowing that I am one of the few original players left in the game now, but it’s simply not viable.

So yes, sad to leave, but many happy memories, at least those I can just about recall. All the games are currently still online for me to reread, and enjoy again, marvelling at everything I’ve forgotten since.

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