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Monday, March 02, 2015

Farewell to the Dungeons

Over on Confessions of a Middle-Aged Adolescent, Steve writes eloquently of our gaming group's difficult but necessary decision to abandon our journey through the Pyramid of Shadows and Dungeons & Dragons itself in favour of newer, fresher games.

Steve's post covers the whys and wherefores, but to show my appreciation for the five years we spent loosing arrows and cleaving skulls, I'd like to share some of my favourite memories.

First and foremost, the laughter. A lot of people might find it strange that adults would choose to pretend to be barbarians, elves, demons, wizards, gnomes or poofy-shirted musicians who go around slaying monsters, but as with many group activities it's not so much what you do that matters just as long as you're doing it together. During the five years we played D&D, Jeff, Mike, Pete, Steve, Audrey, Scott and I spent as much time on absurd stories as we did the game. At least once or twice a year these antics would cause me to enter embarrassing but incredibly cathartic laughing fits, and I'm more grateful than I can say for those moments.

I also had fun sending Sylvia occasional updates of our fantasy misadventures, and she never failed to respond with witty and/or sardonic commentary, much to my amusement. "Your little man needs to stab more people," she once texted in response to an e-mailed photo of the action, and she was certainly right.

I'll also never forget the times Jeff managed to defy all the odds and roll double 20s twice, an event that you can expect to happen only once every five years (Mike did the math). That's pretty impressive swordplay.

Finally, the game itself had plenty to offer; we encountered a number of interesting and fun challenges, from dragons to Indiana Jones-style rolling boulders to living statues and psychic arrows, and it was always a blast pitting our characters' strengths against these obstacles. I also had a great time inventing backstories for my two characters, Timbre Wavecrest the bard and Anvil Bloodforge the barbarian, even if those backstories rarely had an impact on the game.

But as Steve notes in his blog, it's time to move on to something new; we'll be starting a Spirit of '77 campaign later in the year, a new roleplaying game set in an imaginary 1970s using the tropes of the film and television of the era. (Spirit of '77 is also the first Kickstarter project I've supported.) I'm thinking I might play a bionic kung-fu disco private eye with a talking Corvette stingray...

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