Sunday, January 26, 2014

D&D 40th

40 years ago, in 1974, Dungeons & Dragons came into being.  It created a hobby that would be an important part of my life, Tabletop Roleplaying Games.  I think I learned to handle and get past most of my social angst and introversion with it.  And Roleplaying has made me a better storyteller.

What is it about it that it I found so enlightening for me?  Before I found D&D I had spent a long time wanting a game that was immersive, where worlds could be build and people would create stories in them...  Then I found D&D and more or less, I found I could scratch that itch and have my mind blown, or however you want to expect a thirteen-year-old's mind to be blown.

Back then, the local gathering of gamers, NEOGI, played Living Campaigns.  These campaigns were designed for organized play- that is, you always sat down and played four hour games with a different group of guys, each of them with their own characters and styles of playing.  You always got a different Dungeon Master.

You had your own character too.  It was still toward the beginning of 3rd Edition D&D, way back then.  I learned how to play a character and man, that made me feel so awesome.  After playing for awhile, eventually you get a collection of stories you and others had done in various games.  They only worked for you, but you and your buddies could tell them over and over.

RPGs allow a awkward kid to learn problem solving.  It also teaches you how to socialize with others that share your interests.  I'd argue its a fun alternative to drinking or other things.

It not only kept me out of trouble, its one of the founding pillars of the relationships I keep with my friends.  I think its made me into a better person today, than I think things could've gone.  I was a loner, but D&D has helped me to find a community around myself, which I'm glad to be part of.

Later on the community itself fell apart.  Organized Games continued, but to this day there isn't the same sort of organization in my town that gets all us gamers together to play.  So I found myself without a game.

One of my roommates, however, started a group that I was a founding member of.  Nerdily we spend years gaming together, playing through the Forgotten Realms and Eberron and many other worlds together.  We had social conflicts with other players, we had characters that caused problems and we created so many stories together.

We stuck together as friends through that hobby though.  All my friends I've met through rpgs agree thats where the strength of our relationships are: the stories.  We love to get together, have fun and tell stories together.

Is it really geeky?  Extremely.

I'm happy that D&D is 40 this week.  Nerd it up, find some dice and remember to roll high for initiative.

And for our community of Nerd gamers, thanks for all the awesome.

Josh Pearce, 2014