Every so often, I get the hankering to play a tabletop RPG. Back in college, we had some rousing games of Dungeons and Dragons. I have a lot of fond memories of those nights where my buddies and I would sit around a table and kill the devil or something silly like that. (I won’t mention the time I blew a whistle next to the sleeping demon mastiffs because my party member had his hand in my jewel sack.)
It’s also been around seven years since we’ve done any of that, and that seems like way too long.
With the new year comes, as with many people, an evaluation of ones priorities. And one thing I’ve noticed about myself is that I don’t see my friends nearly often enough. One of the reasons I gravitated toward MMOs for so long was the social aspect, and not just that, the real-life social aspect for me.
My RL friends and I played together on the same server, if not the same guild. We raided together, PvP’d together, and generally had out visits via proxy. It’s not nearly as pathetic as it sounds, as many of us scattered after college and our professional schedules as lawyers, teachers, professors, scientists and such did not allow for the hours-long drives for in-person visits.
But–and there’s always a but–I want to change that for both selfish and selfless reasons
While there is no way to change that most of us live 2+ hours apart, there are handfuls of us nearby and others visit periodically. One of my ideas is to get a Dungeons and Dragons campaign going, maybe once every couple of weeks, so that we could see each other, have a few laughs, and not be dominated by the every-present geargrind and frustrations that come so often with MMOs.
It may not work. People may not be interested, but it sounds cool to me, so I’m going to give it a shot.
I’m a writer, and tabletop RPGs are all about writing. Not only will playing the games give me some opportunity to work on improvisational storytelling. Even though I’m a panster-style writer, I need to have a plan. I like to know where my stories are going. With a group of people, my stories aren’t able to be planned. I’ll learn some much-needed skills in terms of motivation and characterization, I think.
And also, I’ll be able to get a better grasp the rules of the games better, understand structure, and get myself prepped for a project I’ve had in mind for a while–turning my Birthright universe into a D20 RPG campaign setting. I’ll make a longer post about that in the future, but the long and short of it all boils down to the promise I see in the Indie RPG industry. Selling a setting and various modules would be both fun and potentially profitable. It would also settle a lot of my desire for writing short fiction, if I could make my stories into adventure modules.
Where You Come In
So that’s where I need you! Have any of you fine folks have ever had experience starting something up like this? My friends and I are pretty often saying “hey, this would be a great idea” then never following through with it. One thing leads to another, and we stick with the same routine we’re used to.
I don’t want this tabletop campaign/game night to be like that. So if anyone has dealt with this kind of situation before, I’d love to hear your experiences.
As BlueKae mentioned on Twitter, we “meet” weekly online using G+’s Hangouts for voice, and Fantasy Grounds virtual tabletop software for the mapping, handouts, and visuals.
My primary concern with using G+ and Fantasy Grounds or something similar is that with it still being online, there isn’t a lot of difference from us all gathering together for an MMO raid or set of instance crawls. At least from the way I see it–I may be entirely wrong.
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