Friday, September 18, 2009

A Critical Hit

Over the course of this blog's existence, Nathaniel and I have tried to introduce each other to various fandoms that we enjoy, and in my case, I was able to turn Nathaniel into a (borderline hopeless) comics fan.

I saw his bookshelf the other day, and I can attest to this fact. There are now officially more graphic novels on that shelf than I would have ever guessed he'd assemble.

Actually, with the purchase of another two or three books, Nathaniel will be forced to move a cookbook off the shelf to make some room for the likes of Batman, Superman, and Blue Beetle. So, you know this whole comics thing is getting serious.

Since we started this blog, Nathaniel has gone from, "um, the Goon? You mean the Goonies, right?" to "Alex, seriously, when are you going to (remember to) lend me the last two volumes of the series?"

And that's awesome.

We can now go on day-long quests to comics shops, and we can help each other rationalize completely irrational (and irresponsible!) purchases. So, from my end, this has been a complete mission accomplished.

Now, Nathaniel's also had some success in this whole geekdom-sharing endeavor, as he became the only human on the planet able to get me to sit down and watch (all three!) Star Wars movies.

An epic feat, that.

But, come this past Wednesday, I did something I honestly never imagined myself doing, and I did it of my own free will and volition. Heck, I was the one who asked Nathaniel if he could Exfand me on this thing, so right there you can see the impact this blog has had on my own, personal geekdom.

What was this thing, you ask? Well, it was playing Dungeons & Dragons.

Yep, I partook in a role playing game.

But before we get into the actual game playing, a bit of backstory. Because of my (formerly) crazy work hours, and Nathaniel's often unpredictable schedule, we really haven't been hanging out as much as we'd like to. So, we made rock solid plans to get together on Wednesday for lunch, and just hang out for a while.

Come Tuesday night, Nathaniel emailed to ask if I'd maybe want to watch a movie. I replied that, instead, maybe he'd be willing to walk me through the basics of a game of D&D. After his head exploded, he emailed back, saying only " ... "

I took these ellipses as a sign of his acquiescence, and I prepared myself, mentally, for the day of role playing ahead. By which I mean, I watched TV and fell asleep, upright, on the couch.

The next day dawned (as days tend to do), and I headed out to meet Nathaniel at his place for a day of quesadillas and dungeon crawling. In that order. My first task was to fill out a (very intimidating-looking) Character Record Sheet, with all the characteristics and abilities that my player would have.

I chose a level one human fighter. I named him Wally. Wally (the Warrior).

Once I had rolled the die several times to establish what kinds of abilities brave Sir Wally would have, we were ready to begin.

It was just me and Nathaniel, and he is an expert Dungeon Master (guy what tells the story and gives the players their options), so I set off on my quest alone. I traveled into the quiet little town of Sporkston, and I met the Mayor, who told me that he was having trouble with kobolds.

The Mayor (and Nathaniel) asked me (Wally) if I knew what a kobold was. I answered, "Yes, one ate my baby not long ago."

I accepted the Mayor's proposal and was given some supplies and a hobbit helper named Hob. Before I left to seek out these kobolds, I even managed to remember to ask the Mayor for payment.

See, I have learned something about business over these past few weeks.

From there the journey began, and I ran into all sorts of nasties and I fought and got hit and hit back and found what I was looking for, and I destroyed the kobolds. But that's not the important part.

What I found truly amazing was the amount of work that the DM has to put into each and every quest. Even for this minor, just-about-two hour game, Nathaniel typed up nearly three pages of material. For each quest, the DM has to literally create an intricate story, with twists and turns and traps.

Nathaniel provided detailed scene setting for each new place Wally ventured to, and I have to say, I got wrapped up in the experience. Especially for an old Literature Major such as myself, using my imagination as the DM read off scene descriptions put me right into the game, and the world.

And I can totally see the appeal of a game like D&D.

Will I be a weekend warrior, playing in groups and replacing my comics habit with a gaming one? I dunno. We'll see. Most likely, I'll be adding a gaming habit to my comics habit, if I know myself at all.

But before that happens, I need to play a few more times and get a bit more accustomed to the game. For now, though, I can officially say that, for one day at least, I was a Gamer.

No comments: