I enjoy that esteemed privilege for three hours, on one day, each month. I get the creative freedom to guide them through their fantasy lives, or kill them in any horrific way I wish. If I feel particularly evil, I could always let them live as crippled reflections of their former selves after some vicious encounter with whatever ‘rabbit’ I pull out of my hat (a pretty damn fun and powerful seat to sit in, in my honest opinion).
Before I get too far ahead of myself, let me explain…
I am the Dungeon Master, the MC if you will, for a kick ass group of science fiction writers and one of their wives, who was most definitely not dragged to the table kicking and screaming. PETFG(People for the Ethical Treatment of Female Gamers) asked me to mention that little fact. Girls play games too! We all got together and decided to play Dungeons and Dragons (an imaginative board game where you play a character, in a scifi, fantasy, or whatever else floats-your-boat setting. Your in-game choices are only limited by your imagination) via a virtual table top called Roll20. Not the same as the old, sit-around-the-table, style I was used to, but one I am quickly learning to love. Virtually rolling dice is really the only option due to the fact that some of us live across the country from each other. LA, New York, Texas, Florida, Mississippi, oh boy, and a few other distant places.
I’ve played D&D off and on since I was a teen back in the early 90’s when tabletop roleplaying was looked down on, as a nerd fest. At the time it was kind of shunned and ridiculed. Nerds weren’t cool, can you believe that? It’s still a nerd fest, no doubt, but now with nerd culture being accepted and more mainstream it is gaining momentum and a wider audience is seeing how creatively interactive it can be. Even though I’ve played before, I never had the chance to do what I get to do now. Getting to create an entire world and the characters that exist within that world takes the game to a whole new level when you’re building alongside a posse of writers. We are mutually designing an epic story that we hope others will be interested enough to join, and follow along, via our hilarious podcast. In a world saturated with technology (granted we use technology to play) playing tabletop RPGs is a refreshing change from the monotony of video games, television, and film. It is far more creative than anything I’ve experienced before, and the group of writers I play with are all so in tune with each other, it’s becoming better and better every time we sit down at our virtual table.
Nerd culture seems to be on the rise as people learn to embrace the freedom that comes from inviting in imagination, and aren’t as harshly judged as they used to be. Just watch, with books turning movies like Ready Player One on the horizon and huge franchises like DC, Marvel, and StarWars literally everywhere now, you’ll see it more and more. It’s rapidly becoming a force to be reckoned with. What a great time to be a geek/nerd!
As I sit down and gear up to continue our current adventure in the Great Eastern Desert, I find myself wondering how many scifi/fantasy writers got their creative feet wet with Dungeons and Dragons. I wonder how much it inspired and influenced them to create what they do now, for others to read. It’s a writing workshop at its finest. If you have a little time to spare, head on over to our site and click on the podcast link, episode one is up and it’s a riot. I hope you enjoy listening to it as much as we did playing it, and it inspires you to either seek out a game, or at least gives you a short escape from the Muggle, infested real world. Come join us in the wastes of Forsaken Ruyn.
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