I stopped playing RPGs for a few months. I got burned-out. But now, I'm back.
This happens from time to time. I know I'm not the only one. Eventually, you get tired of a Thing, so you step away from the Thing to get some perspective. Then, you either come back, or you don't. If you don't, it's because you're no longer into the Thing. If you do come back, it's because you love that Thing and you're ready to make it work again. That is me.
Here's the perspective I have gained from this self-imposed exodus: Story First. Not the rules. Not the game. Hell; not even myself or the players. When I am running a game, the number one priority is to tell a good story. That's all. If I want to tell a good story and I can't find a system that will do it, then I make up my own.
Of course, this is the internet, and I am writing with at least a hypothetical audience in mind, so I need to clarify. First of all, "Story First" is my motto, but it's not necessarily yours. Why Story First matters to me is because storytelling is what I do. I've played role-playing games for over 20 years now. I have two degrees in creative writing, fiction and non-fiction. So I have the talent, the education, the experience, and most importantly, a passion for storytelling. I may or may not be the best storyteller around, but I do know this: I am better at storytelling than anything else I do. So it makes sense for me to put an RPG into the perspective of telling a story. An interactive, orally-recited story, with rules that introduce swerves to the story, but a story, nevertheless. That may not be where you're coming from. That's fine.
To me, everything else is a distraction from putting the Story First, so this time around, I am going to keep that in mind. You're not going to see anymore blog entries about rules discussions, or what's the best game for this or that. I just don't care about that shit anymore. Whatever you see in this blog from here on out will be about one thing only: telling good stories, typically within a role-playing game. But a lot of the stuff I say here will probably apply to any storytelling medium. Stay tuned.