Thursday, 1 March 2012

Therapeutic Dungeon Creation

Amongst my other vices, as I've approached, and passed, my 30th birthday, I've become a complete workaholic. Since Christmas I think I've worked every single day including weekends except for New Year's Day and one or two other days I can think of. You would never have guessed that I'd turn into that sort of person if you'd met me when I was 25. Just goes to show you never can tell.

So today I took the day off. And I spent almost all of it drawing up a dungeon - one called Sangmenzhang which I've been working on for a long time, and which has been through several iterations.

And it feels good. Along with its many other virtues, there is something therapeutic and stress-relieving about creating materials to use in a game. In a nice quiet room with paper, coloured pencils, dice and some music you can while away hours in a fugue-like, relaxing state, just keying in rooms and writing up random encounter tables. In this age of instant gratification there's something almost retro about it, and perhaps that's part of the charm - the idea that you're putting time and effort into something that won't see any "pay-off" for quite some time.

But also, just exercising your creative muscles is a tool for de-stressing, and in that regard there's really no difference between writing up dungeons and painting, playing an instrument or whatever. It's just that for some reason the former would be viewed as odd and aberrant whereas the latter two aren't. Strange. 


  1. I totally agree. I wish more people could see the creative benefits of gaming and making games.

    In the end it doesn't really matter I suppose. It'd be great to have more people to play with though.