Playing D&D


Some of you out there know that I game. Some of you have just read the first sentence and really aren’t quite sure what that means. Someone who games, in common parlance, is considered to be a gamer. A gamer is a person who games.

Good.

Now, what kind of games does that mean? It probably means video games and some table top games. I play both, but what I was referring to in the above first sentence for this post is D&D – Dungeons and Dragons for the laity.

I have been playing for the past three years (I think) with many of the same guys. Many of you are not up to speed on how the game works, I’ll try and simplify it here. It’s a role-playing game. You make up a characters (there’s a process), then in your adventuring party, you narrate what your character would do in given situations (which may include using his/her voice.

In video games, you control the player with a controller. You press buttons and your character on the screen performs certain actions. In fact, I’ll explain it as I heard a very good game player describe it once: Video games show you what you can do in the game (pressing buttons shows the player what they can do), while DnD shows the player what they can’t do. There are only a few things in DnD that you can’t do in the world. Everything else is fair game.

General gameplay looks like this:

dungeons-and-dragons

There is one person called the DM (Dungeon Master), who is the storyteller/narrator. This person is, for all intents and purposes, “the game.” This person keeps the flow of the game, telling the party where they are, what is going on, and keeps people interacting. The DM basically keeps the gamer from hitting PAUSE. The others are the gamers. They are the ones who are pressing the buttons.

The adventure is not played on a screen, but on a table, and the story is playing out in the minds of each of the players. Players run campaigns, long sessions of adventure running across large portions of the game world. Campaigns (games) can take anywhere between one session and several years, depending on the playing style of the players and their level of strategy and cooperation with their party. It’s all a big game of social dynamics. You can play with people who played before and whom you know very well, or with total strangers. Your game mates can be great to play with or complete dicks. In general you’ll get a hodgepodge of all of these.

One of the big things that DnD needs for long-term play is consistency.

Okay so why am I talking about this?

Because I was hoping to game with my brother this weekend. Didn’t happen, and I’m sad. There were three of us (Me, J, and S) who got together to design a game – a real good game. S gathered some folk from other games and J and I showed up so we could all get together and design out party. Then we had to get to the final questions – is the time going to work for all of us. J and two others conflicted. J bowed out.

Shitty.

No one’s fault, but just a bummer. I know S and I were both looking forward to gaming with you, bro.

So, that was my weekend. Good overall. Went to Costco this afternoon, had an early T-Day meal. Life is good. Bummed I can’t game with Bro, but the gaming must resume. We must game on. He says he’ll come in on some one-shots every now and again, which will be great, and he’s also going to look into getting a game together on R20. I’ll have to see how that works out for him.

The games move along.

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