Christmastime is always rough on gaming. Any time you have large numbers of people gathering for large spans of time there is going to be a bit of a problem keeping things up when mandatory events intervene. This was always true when I was raiding in WOW as we would usually miss a week or two but this year was especially rough; I ended up taking a seven week hiatus from my DnD groups. I had figured that having two groups would guarantee having some roleplaying to do though any given group might be spotty but events conspired mightily against me. Each group shed a member or three and that never helps in getting back in the groove after some time apart!
The big thing I noticed was how much I depend on these groups as my social outlet. I am perfectly content being alone the great majority of the time but I seem to invest myself very heavily in just a few people and activities such that when an activity ceases I suddenly don't see anybody anymore. A few weeks after Christmas when I had not seen anybody but Wendy and Elli since my return flight I was going a bit batty. It probably isn't healthy for me to place so much of my social life in so few baskets; much like the old saying about eggs I should ideally have lots more things to do and people to see in case of accidental breakage.
Sunday was the first day back to gaming and it was a great time, tonight the other group reconvenes. The two groups are really dissimilar but I find both tremendous fun. In group #1 we smash monsters and play the game like psychic ninjas trying to maximize our effectiveness and setting outrageous challenges for ourselves. When we encounter a challenge we resolve it by either rolling dice "So what, I Intimidate this guy, I guess..." or simply killing everything in sight. We advise each other on ways in which we could optimize our characters further and use our time together as a pure gaming exercise.
In the other group we have crazy romances, character conflicts and lots of really interesting roleplaying. Some sessions there is really very little dicechucking or fighting at all as we spend our time talking through challenges or just having conversations. Our characters have actual names too, unlike game #1 where the Pixie is called Tankerbell and the Warden is called Sky-Pounder-Warden. Having both of these available to me is wonderful as I can indulge my number loving, system breaking urges on Sundays and my desire for a torrid romance on Tuesdays. Now I just have to convince everybody else to never stop gaming again!