Monday, June 22, 2009

Father's Day Session

I was really pleasantly surprised by the all-day session of D&D for father's day that my wife and friends set up for me. We played off and on for nearly 10 hours (the longest time we have spent yet on a session in this campaign) and in between combats, we roleplayed the talking scenes while cooking ribs, drinking beer, and watching my daughter play in Ross' yard. It was an amazing day.

As a D&D player, I'm very lucky. I've had very few bad experiences with gamers at my table, and very few bad games. As a DM, I haven't had that many long campaigns, but every one of the games I've run has been memorable for the players that went through them. As a player I've travelled the planes investigating the Great Modron March, fought Against the Giants, battled Rary the Traitor (lost that one), freed a village from a strange sickness that made them drown from the inside, and bartered away nearly a million gold pieces in dragon's treasure for the possession of a demented magical Pepsi machine. I've used a staff of aging on a juvenile dragon (was eaten), used skirmish tactics to delay an orc column headed for the heart of a kingdom, and rode a beholder like a bronco at a rodeo.

Good times. And all of them shared by my many friends and fellow travellers. This hobby, this game, has had a transformative effect on my life - it kindled my interest in history, fueled my love of reading, sharpened my creative problem-solving skills, and taught me to think on my feet. It has improved my math skills, taught me teamwork and leadership, and helped me connect with many intelligent and interesting people. Could anyone say the same thing about any other hobby?

Over the years, I've seen people come and go from D&D (and from role playing in general) and move on to more "adult" forms of entertainment. They are able to brag about no longer playing the game (not much to brag about if you ask me), but they never seem fully satisfied with their choice. If the conversation turns to D&D, they always jump back into it with relish, enough that I wonder why they didn't just stick with it. "Growing up" does not mean abandoning all recreation - it means accepting the responsibilities of being older. You can be a responsible adult and play these type of games. You just need to balance your new responsibilities with your leisure. This would be just as true if you ran a poker night or played football with your buddies on the weekends. It's all about balance.

I'm 30. I've spent 22 years with this game, and I haven't slowed down yet. I'm married, I have a beautiful daughter, and am starting up a second career as a high school teacher. I'm also a roleplayer, a Dungeon Master, a gamer. I can be a responsible adult and still engage in the frivolities of my youth.

I'm proud of my family, my friends, and my gaming. I will make no apologies for any of them. Ever. And neither should you.