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Fraser Simons @frasersimons
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Stress dreams. Those are fun. This one had me cutting through a large space that had kids in a semi circle with a projector going like a movie theatre. A teacher grabbed me and told me that I wasn’t cutting again. I said something like ‘I just don’t understand this stuff’/1
She got pissed and as we were walking she was saying something like ‘you don’t get to choose’, poking me in my back. When we ended up in the office the teacher appeared to be a high school student as she was yelled at by the principal, the only adult in the room now, apparently/2
An errant thought in my head was I’m a game designer now. Hearing it she replied, ‘I take a lot of pleasure in crafting music’. She reached to a shelf and shows me a CD. ‘But everyone NEEDS to go to class to be successful’. Suddenly my parents are there being told /3
I’m skipping school, etc. So I finally tell them I just don’t get this subject. Everyone struggles to remember what subject it even is. Math 101. 103? Something like that, everyone agrees. They decide they want to help me and we are all arranging desks so they fit in beside me /4
Because suddenly I’m in a desk as well; trapped. But there is no math textbook. There’s food on a plate instead (actually it looks like some killer tzatziki is on top). For some reason at this point I wake up. Probably because math is not good food. But who knows /5
So I have had the first portion of the dream—or something similar—frequently. I’m often walking by students learning. On the peripheral and I’m doing like a metal gear solid sneak mission through them with a backpack on. The room is always dark and the teacher hunting for me /6
I hated all school. I just did not learn the way most folks did. Unless it actually interested me, I just did not get it. When I got to grade 12 people were like, huh, Fraser might have that new thing we’re hearing about: ADD. But by then I had pretty much given up on school. /7
It started when we moved from Black Lake, Saskatchewan. An indigenous reserve where we lived for 3 years. There was one school. One general store. One restaurant. That’s it. I hated it. I was bullied often and my cousins who also /8
Lived and grew up there taught me how to fight so I wouldn’t get beat up all the time. But after we left and moved to Ottawa, it was apparent I was behind in my school work. Substantially. Like everyone knew multiplication tables and I didn’t know what they _were_. Behind. /9
I had never liked school in the first place and acted out often. There were a lot of times when I ran away from school as early as elementary. So being behind was basically an uphill battle that my twin didn’t face at all. He got caught up early but I didn’t, probably because \10
I just fucking hated it. Except for English and Social Studies, which I enjoyed and so did reasonably well at. But I never got caught up; ever. By the time I got to high school I was skipping a lot and barely trying. /11
My whole life I’ve felt like an idiot because I never graduated. I met the requirements but didn’t have enough credits. When I started writing and designing @TheVeilRPG years ago, I had to pretty much learn how to write. The last thing I had written was an English essay on /12
Nights by Elie Wiesel for my grade 12 final exam. I think that’s 13 years of not writing? And not really understanding the basics of writing, regardless. In high school the only thing I was sure about in English class was that I knew what an adjective was. /13
My brother had published Magicians and Worlds in Peril and got me into tabletop games. When I asked him if there was a cyberpunk game, at the time there wasn’t, he said no and to make one. But I told him I wasn’t a creative person, never had been. /14
He told me that I didn’t know if I was a creative in this way because I hadn’t ever tried to. Why not try? So I gave it a shot. When it was done my brother said it was awesome and innovative and we should Kickstart it together. It took me SO long to write the game /15
and it’s still not strong writing by any means, as people have pointed out. But I’m proud of the game because it does communicate how to replicate the desired table experience. That’s what #ttrpg texts are supposed to do. Indie creators don’t need to be word smiths. /16
The terrifying thing about the indie tabletop space is that a lot of the folks are academics. Indie creators are doing the work of whole teams in their books. It is ok that they are not perfect, especially the text. Most creators aren’t writers or educated on game design. /17
Yet most of the texts are criticized for not being perfect. Larger works, such as #dnd have literal pages of errata. And they make money indie people generally don’t! Most ttrpg designers don’t make enough money in their projects to pay for someone else to write the game. /18
I wanted to write it because I was told many times that I’ll never get better at it unless I keep writing and develop the skill. I’m sure that shows in my writing but it is what it is. I had to quit my day job a couple months ago so I can’t afford to pay another /19
Writer now regardless.

But my stress dreams always remind me of the most humiliating years of my life. Despite my writing and designing multiple games now, I feel like I might be discovered as some kind of a fraud at any time. My ignorance due to being uneducated “outed”. /20
That’s why in my dreams I’m always in the dark while some people “get it” and understand. The people in the circle of desks understand so easily, it’s like watching a movie for them. And my entire goal is to simply go through this space unnoticed. Praying I am not called out./end
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