08 April 2013

G is for... Gaming

I still remember my first time.  I was in the Student Center, sitting with two friends.  Eric, the one that was experienced in this sort of thing, was talking us through what we needed to do.  He led us down the path, helping us craft just what we needed.  And while my friend Alison was able to walk away, I knew I was hooked for life.  I'd become a gamer.

For the longest time, I had to hide it.  My step-mom had very negative views of gaming.  She was convinced that it was a tool of the devil and that I'd lose myself to insanity if I played.  So I never looked for a group when I was home.  It was something I just did when I was in college.  We had a regular group that got together - Eric, Jake, Jay, Jim... I was the only girl in the group.  But that didn't matter.  I was there to have fun, and fun I had.  I played a psionic based on myself.  I played a wizard (which was actually one of my worse characters - I had a tendency to do things that broke the game when I played her) in a fantasy setting. I played GURPS (Generic Universal Role-Playing System).  I played Champions.  I lost myself in whatever my GM (usually Eric) wanted to throw my way.  And I wished I could play when I got home too.

I suffered a drought in my gaming for several years.  Even though I had my own GURPS books (carefully hidden from my step-mom), I didn't know anyone to play with, didn't know how to find a gaming group.  So I created characters in the dead of night, hoping that someday, I'd be able to use them.

It wasn't until I was immersed in the online community that I started gaming again.  First the occasional game with some friends after I moved to NY.  Then with my future husband (since that fact that I was a Gamer Girl was one of the things that drew me to him.)  I learned that there was more to the world than just GURPS and Champions.  I was (finally) introduced to D&D.  I learned that you didn't need dice to play, and that you could play as easily by writing e-mails online as you could playing face to face.  In fact, for a long time, all I was able to do was play online in a few Amber Diceless Role-Playing games.  (Based on Roger Zelazny's Chronicles of Amber.)  My world was expanding.

While Rich and I lived in Philly, I had my first regular gaming group since college.  At first, we met at a local bar/restaurant every Tuesday.  But when that started getting pricey, we moved the game to our apartment.  One of the saddest times was when we moved from Philly to Nashville - no more regular gaming with our friends.

It took us awhile to find a new group to game with.  At first, it was just not really knowing anyone.  Then there was the added challenge of having young kids.  But we were lucky enough to find not one, but two groups that had kids the same age as ours to play with.  The first family moved away from Nashville and our group dissolved.  The second is just another family and us - and we're still getting together, semi-regularly, to play.   And when we don't have time to get together because of life hitting us hard, Rich and I will sometimes run one-on-one games.  We've also had Teddy and Pete wanting to join in.  (Pete more to roll the dice, Teddy to actually have fun playing.)  It's family fun, and I couldn't ask for anything better.

In gaming, I get something that I haven't found elsewhere.  I get to use my creativity in creating stories.  I get to create something with others.  I get to have memorable moments and stories to share with like-minded individuals.  I get to be a part of something.  And, for a little while, I get to set my life and my problems to the side and be someone different than who I am.  I can lose myself in a fantasy where I am a superior thief.  A master archer.  A swordswoman who will fight to the death to protect her friends.  A superhero with the ability to turn insubstantial.  Anything I can dream, I can be.  And I can set her world aside for awhile whenever I need to go back to real life, knowing that she'll be there waiting for me to take her on her next adventure whenever I feel the need.

Running our boys through their first D&D session
   If you happen to be a gamer as well, feel free to share your favorite gaming story in comments.  I love hearing what other characters have faced!