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250 sessions of Antioch

I think it is difficult for outsiders to understand how highly I value Antioch (website in Swedish) and my participation and running of the game. Often when involved in role-playing projects, the tendency is to put in a lot of effort and receive mostly frustration and pent-up creativity. Not so with Antioch. Sure, I have invested a lot of time in Antioch, but if I compare administrative and boring time (including transportation etcetera) with actual, enjoyable playtime, playing Antioch online is probably the all-time winner.

Some years ago, when I with a friend developed the basic setting of Antioch with its grand plot, I incorporated some ideas and concepts which I thought absolutely brilliant (I still like most of them, actually, which is quite remarkable since brilliance is something ephemeral). I included the item to participate in 250 sessions of Antioch on my 101-in-1001 list in order to be sure to actually develop this story.

Since Antioch is mostly in Swedish, I feel I ought to explain what it is here, in English. Antioch is an online role-playing game that is played over IRC (entry on Wikipedia), which implies text only conversations. It might be regarded as a highly interactive way of co-authoring fiction, with the added element of improvisation. Long ago, I wrote why I enjoy online role-playing (in Swedish), but it mainly fulfills a need of outputting a certain amount of creativity, preferably daily. Antioch was started in 2005, which means that my accumulated 280 sessions (roughly) amounts to about two sessions a week. This is not particularly accurate, because the urge to play and the availability of decent players to play with have varied of the years. At the moment, I play far more than twice a week.

There are many reasons I like Antioch in particular, but I will discuss two of the briefly. First and foremost, the interchange of creativity between players is sometimes marvellous. It is simply astonishing and wonderful to be part of experiencing the seed of an idea grow, first into a small plant, then, over the years, to a vast tree with many branches. A heavy focus on continuity means that many events that took place literally years ago, still influence play and continue to be developed.

Second, the same can be said about characters. I have two characters who have been in play more than one hundred sessions each and they might be said to be vast trees by this time as well. They have so many relationships to other player’s characters and each other that they feel more alive than anything fictional I have encountered before. I have lived with them for three years (in one case, much longer, but that is outside of Antioch) and I still have not grown bored, and they have not stagnated and died as is usually the fate reserved for fictional characters.

Even though it might not be apparent, Antioch has also honed my writing skills. I do not put much effort into what I write when I play, but still, the habit of producing text is with me. Also, Antioch is an abundant source of inspiration, and in fact I have decided to write a novel which will be based on what has transpired from our playing. I cannot yet say what will happen to Antioch in the end, but at the moment, an injection of three new players make the game same more alive than ever and I look forward to many more enjoyable sessions.

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