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Tuesday, January 30, 2018

My Best Friends Play D&D

friends don't let friends levitate

I know I can get pretty crazy here on the blog, and sometimes a little more than a tad bit controversial in some of my positions on gaming, and in life.  My assumption is that if you’re still reading these posts I must be hitting either a nerve or a soft spot.  I’ll take either.  Our voices are often lost amid the din that is the internet, and you D&D/RPG folks are generally an attentive and positive audience, even those misguided souls who enjoy 4th ed.

I don’t think I’ve ever covered this topic before, but I wanted to go over what really is the most important thing that the hobby has brought into my life.  While gaming has been a wonderful creative outlet, a fun way to pass many, MANY hours of my leisure time, and a fantastic escape from the drudgery of an otherwise dull and uninteresting life, it has had one effect that is so important and influential that it will forever be a tremendous part of who I am as a person.

What I’m talking about here folks is how gaming has brought me some of the best friends I could have had, even if I were picking friends from a catalog.  I’m not sure if everyone’s experience mirrors my own, but from the time I started playing as a kid with my best friend Sean, to present day online with my ‘adult life’ best friend Dennis, to my good friend Deron...I can honestly say that the hobby has always managed to connect me with like-minded, open-minded, creative and generous souls who make the framework of my social world today.  These people are the foundation of my life, even if they don’t realize it.

It's likely that playing most types of games with other people can accomplish this sort of thing, regardless of the game.  Role Playing Games however are unique in that they create an environment and an opportunity for people to really open up to one another, albeit through their characters.  Whether a player rushes to the aid of another during a combat or is simply having some friendly banter at a table over beer and bread at the inn, you really do get to know folks in a unique manner through the sort of play only these games provide.

Beyond my inner circle of truly close friends, I have met and played with some of the most decent, nicest people.  Sometimes they weren’t all that rational or reasonable depending on what was happening in-game at the time, but in the end they were people well worth spending time with.  That’s not to say that I haven’t met my fair share of assholes.  Who knows, maybe I’m someone else's asshole...I wouldn’t discount that distinct possibility.

It’s amazing that even via the internet and social media I have managed to grow that circle.  While most of my gaming occurs online now as opposed to at the table IRL, I still manage to find and game with some of the coolest cats around.  Kelly and Caleb and the entire Thursday night B/X crew are super guys, and I wouldn’t think twice about hanging with any of them were we to connect in meatspace.  Drinks and tacos and pizza are on me guys...I’ll be happy to break from my carrot-based diet to chill for an evening of drinks, grub, and continued great conversation with any of you. I've gamed with a hundred super dudes this way..and yes, I'm talkin' about you too Rich!

That gaming ‘solar system’ even extends to people I don’t necessarily play with, but interact with over twitter or here on the blog or on the Goblin Stomper Facebook page.  I’ve had some of the best conversations and even arguments regarding our hobby on social media, and it’s been a blast.  How great is it when a bunch of creatives get together in any venue, and even better with social media since you can bail out when things get too crazy.  Sometimes the distance created by the digital space is a benefit.

In the end I think my hit-to-miss ratio is a pretty good one, with far more folks landing in my orbit who were of good nature and were fun to play with, eat with, laugh with, cheer with, and dungeon-crawl with.  If I knew you, or played with you, and we don’t talk much these days I’d like to take this opportunity to say hello, and to thank you.  You’ve made my life a better one.  I hope that wherever you are and whatever you’re doing that this post finds you well, happy, healthy, and still playing if that’s your bent.

Maybe everyone should take a moment to reflect on the gaming-folk in their lives past and present.  Perhaps we should take a minute to consider that group of friends who, long ago, turned a Sunday afternoon wargaming session into something so much more.  Those people who we all know, who need no introduction or memorial, but who took the time to turn what was a good time with miniature armies into a infinitely deeper and more fulfilling passtime that connects those who play it in a more meaningful way than they could have possibly envisioned.  

Enjoy each other, and game on.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for writing this Howard.

    Years ago, in a different country, I picked up a book of AD&D after my friends and I played several games of the board game, Hero Quest. Little did I know that Hero Quest was a game influenced by D&D, and not the other way around.

    The memories of the four or so years of playing together was something I am still trying, to this day, to recreate. There's nothing quite like building a story together.

    And you're right: the people who play DnD are a special breed (imo) who open up in a way that is different in any other way. The game builds personality from the ground up, through the characters. It is truly magical.