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    Mondays ~
    Tuesdays ~ Snarky
    Wednesdays ~ Dreamer
    Thursdays ~ Naughty
    Fridays ~ Dreary
    Saturdays ~
    Sundays ~

    Whenever ~ Smokey, Mighty, Eerie and Wicked

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The Brave New World of D&D

Of all my years of being a geek, I’ve never ventured into the realm of Dungeons and Dragons. Why? Probably because I didn’t want to be that kind of a geek. Sitting in a circle in someone’s mom’s basement drinking Mountain Dew until the sun goes down didn’t sound appealing to me. What did sound appealing was the way my friends described it: “That’s what ‘hardcore’ people do, and that’s a stereotype too, even if it has some truth. D&D is like playing pretend for adults.”

            And it’s true too. It’s just like playing pretend because every choice you make’s outcome is ruled by irrefutable chance. Want to pick someone’s pocket? You have to roll a twenty-sided dice. Roll a twenty and you pick the pocket flawlessly. Roll a one and you’ll probably end up picking their nose instead. The point is, you want to do something, but the outcome of that action may not always be in your favor. It’s all up to the dice, and you can’t argue like children over dice.

            I started playing just last Saturday. After making my character sheet, the thing that tells you what your character can and can’t do, how strong, how nimble, etc, I ended up with a human who was the epitome of strength and fortitude, a tall, brown haired hazel-eyed strong man who carried a tower shield, a spear, and a long sword as back up.

            Here comes the part that pertains to writing.

            When you make your character sheet, you are technically making someone who is not you, someone new with their own strengths and weaknesses, someone with a past and hopes and dreams. This is not unlike creating a character in a story. Micah, my character, for example, is the grandson to a wheat trader, and knows how to check the quality of wheat like any good tradesman. Without enough charisma or intelligence to pursue a career as a merchant, he helped in lifting bales day in and day out, thus giving him tons of upper body strength (which, as you can see, fits my character sheet above). But Micah’s father was a drunk and a wife beater, so after things got out of hand one night, Micah ended up killing his father and fleeing his town. Picking up his sword skills on the way, he’s been living the life of a warrior ever since. His weaknesses include never wanting to back down from a deal, no matter how ‘too good to be true’ it sounds, and his strengths lie in being able to climb without fear of heights.

            Strengths, weaknesses, likes, dislikes, it’s all here. Micah is a character, and interesting enough to be one in any decent story.

            Here’s how the game went: After making my character sheet, me and five other friends started playing. Mind you they play by the rules, but they don’t play traditional ‘serious’ scenarios. My traveling warrior found himself in a bar with two local heroes who just stopped the ‘donut army’ from marching across the city streets. A pretty elf dancer girl went to steal from one of the heroes. Caught in the act, she fled behind me, the biggest guy in the room, and promptly called me her boyfriend. I totally acted like I knew her, even when a black Halfling accused her of stealing. He insulted my manhood, so somehow my pants came off and I proved him wrong. Long story short, I almost got put in a prison cell for public indecency and had my measly 30 gold stolen (by the elf girl, I knew that as a person, but my character didn’t know that). Great thing was, I woke up next to her the next morning, so I was ok with losing the money, even if I didn’t remember a thing.

            I followed the two heroes to meet the mayor, mainly because mayors offer quests and quests mean money, and I was flat broke. The dancer came with and we were told the people were being killed outside a forest and we had to investigate and this and that.

            So we went and found the donut people inside the forest but somehow they were organized enough to construct a wall with a gate which had a strange red stone above it. I tried to shoot the red stone with an arrow, rolled a one, and shot one of my allies in the foot with my arrow… bad day for him.

            So the donut people were alerted, because the red stone set off an alarm, and I took point in front of the gate to act as a human wall (tower shields are good for that, and I had one). Two donut people morphed through the gate, not unlike slime slipping through bars, and I tried to attack with my spear and rolled a one… My spear slipped right through my hands, falling far, far away. A donut man ended up grappling me then strangling me. I got it off with my manly strength, but a 18 ft chocolate monster as tall as it was wide came stomping forth and told us to leave before he sat on us. We left, very, very quickly.

            This may sound silly and all, but imagine a giant cookie man strangling you with far more strength than a normal human being. Thank God my character had above-average strength.

            Anyway, the game was fun, and, despite being a game, it was a good exercise in character creation, development, and interaction, especially since my character wasn’t just interacting with other characters I created, but characters made by another real person.

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