Saturday, May 13, 2006


Dungeons and Dragons

I never played D and D in high school, but a friend recently invited me to try. It is apparently enjoying a resurgence, like many things from the 80s. We even had a writer for the D and D franchise in our midst, which is about as hard core as it can get.

Given how much I loved the game Knights of the Old Republic, which uses D and D's dice throwing rules, I was curious about D and D. Did I like it? Yes and No. I think that I am very spoiled when it comes to writing stories because, in the stories I write, well, I write them. I have readers I trust and I will craft some of my narrative based on what they tell me, but it is an entirely different thing to write a story with a whole group of humans (and dwarves and halflings). This kind of collaboration, I'm afraid, made me want to act out and steal things from the other people in my party, which I did pretty successfully. I also bluffed my way out of it having to admit that I was stealing(thanks to how I rolled my di).

But I did find it interesting in a discover-the-roots of your most beloved game kind of way. In this photo you can see our "characters" in a pub. With a little imagination, we transformed this set up into an actual experience. In a way, this kind of transformation is related to what happens when you read a wonderful book (where the images are all in your head) and what happens in a great video game (where freakishly talented illustrators, programmers and writers give you something to look at).

Here is the origin of the going through the castly and finding treasure and killing monsters experience. Here are the conventions of princesses, kings, sorcerors and elves. And, unlike video games, you really can do all these things with your friends. It makes me very, very curious about online gaming which, now that I have DSL, I imagine I will try.

In D and D, a lot depends on your Dungeon Master, I think. In our case, we were lucky to have a very good one who put up with my character's constant pilfering, and our collective desire to have a grand adventure.

I love the game myself. Never really get as much chance to play lately, but still love it. I think sometimes I like the internal mechanics of the game more then the storylines that some DMs i have worked with have used, but i doubt i could do much better so I just have fun with the tools I have at hand.
I suppose that the DM is the key, and that really is what makes the game more flexible than a video game could ever be -- at least so far.
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