Dungeons and Dragons

Last Friday I went over to a friends house to play D&D (Dungeons and Dragons). Contrary to rumors, there is nothing of the occult in it, since everyone playing is acutely aware of the artificiality of it. You don’t cast a spell, you say “I cast XXX” and describe what you are doing. The roll playing comes in interacting with other characters, not in the specific actions.

I’ve know about it since the 70′s, but I never played until I had to get included in a game that Andy wanted to go to. My main purpose was transportation and security services, but I liked the people playing, and had fun. Later, Andy found a regular game DM’d (Dungeon Mastered) by one of his teachers, and they needed another character, so I helped them out. When Andy left for school, I got invited to join their adult game, and I found that I really enjoyed it.

Partly, it’s a social thing like any other game. We play at the DM’s house, which is normally chaotic. He has two small children, and some of the other players sometimes bring their kids, so you can imagine what it’s like. I find it a refreshing change from the quiet order that’s settled in at our home since the kids left. Last time, his wife recruited me to hold their 9-month old baby while she tried to finish feeding the others. It’s a chance I don’t get all that often.

The game gives me a chance to pretend that I’m doing things very different from my normal activities. I play a barbarian, dumb, very strong, and very destructive. Sometimes it’s nice at least to pretend that you can solve some problems just by hitting something harder. Of course, it doesn’t always work. Last night we had a big battle, and had (we though) just about won, when the last remaining enemy ran off screaming “Help Daddy” and this really BIG dragon appeared. We ran away, and got away by the skin of our teeth. Next game, fresh and prepared, we’ll go beat him up.

I think most of us play characters who are our opposites. One of the players is a middle-school English teacher, and he loves to play magicians. He spends hours researching spells and feats and planning elaborate strategies. Somehow, this doesn’t appeal to me at all. It’s too much like real life :-) I’ll stick to my barbarian

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