Role Playing and Nostalgia

Wednesday, January 5th, 2011

John Mutchek has a nice roundup of our first Dungeons and Dragons gathering on the 29th of December, where I practiced with two dwarves. He’ll be posting regularly on our encounters–and our beer drinking also, as we’re all sharing favorites. Luckily my good friend Dave is a brewer. John’s also into the making as are a few other colleagues of the game.

Sure, this is partly nostalgia, as I played DnD many years ago in high school when things were simpler but it took hours and lots of math to drum up characters. Now we can work with Wizards’s character builder and get down and dirty quickly. I remember loads of graph paper, multiple rolls, and reading through lists of capabilities or character and culture variables. Not a computer in sight as none were to be had.

As a digital person, the first night of play was refreshing. At the heart of Dungeon and Dragons is story first and foremost. The Dungeon Master, in this case, John, preps encounters for fighting and spell casting, but he also has to be a weaver, working those encounters into a larger story frame, and we as the players play into and grow as the narrative builds in character. Our crew is a group of excellent and smart fellows, and I’m really looking forward to sitting together and acting out the parts.

A second critical element of the game is emergence, that self-organizing quality of complex systems to form perhaps unintended or unforeseen patterns out of elements, actions, decisions, turns, and other subjacencies. We’re all waiting for what’s to come in the game. It’l e interesting to gather again and either make things emerge or get the crap kicked out of us as Level 1s.


One response to “Role Playing and Nostalgia”

  1. susan says:

    What I find most interesting is the flashback to physicality here; after over a decade of playing similar games online, with people you can’t hear audibly appreciating their beer. True role-playing reversal.