Friday, December 4, 2009

Best Days Ever

Continuing the story of exploration of a mysterious side of Geekdom we were naive about: RPGs.

The D&D night began with.... drum roll please.... a TURDUCKEN.

Not just any TURDUCKEN, it was SMOKED... ALL DAY.

We "piped" it in (Dr Haggis played guitar)! And then we ate incredible home-made Belgian chocolate-crammed birthday cake! We drank Mead!

Then we sat down and played Dungeons and Dragons like it was 1980.

I just don't know how much better a day can get, short of supernatural intervention (like, say, Doctor Who ringing the doorbell, or Spock materializing in the kitchen, or the point of a lightsaber suddenly cutting a ring out of the living room wall...)

Comparing our virgin flight with the Doctor Who RPG to our first foray in the realm of Advanced Dungeons and Dragons (First Edition, circa 1979) is a leetle unfair as games go, since they were really different.

Both days, however, count as Best Days Ever so far as having fun goes.

But to outline how the game play was different:

- In DW we used rules only when they suited us, otherwise, it was all about characters and story (and, since the characters were us, and we played in an alternate version of our own backyard, it was uniquely compelling). In AD&D, it was a lot about the rules, combat, dice, tables and learning to map (by our design - we wanted it that way - we were re-creating the experience of First Time D&D in the 1980s).

- In DW we had an experienced Game Master, in AD&D Dr Haggis was extraordinarily prepared, but a n00b along with us (and this is by design too, we wanted us all in the same boat.)

- There were 5 of us (1 GM and 4 players) for DW, while there were 9 of us for D&D (1 DM and 8 players), which also had an effect on the dynamic:

It was easier for a group of 4 to make consensus decisions than a group of 8.

Talking about your character, and explaining what you're doing with some creativity, was fun with 4 players, but when there were 8 of us, in the (very justified) interests of time, the turn boiled down to: I move here, I try to hit X, I roll this.

Though, even despite the role-playing limitations, I felt I did get to know my character Vivianne a little better, and managing to carve out a character niche in the game for her, by rushing forward to inspect corpses, and preventing the pillaging of dead humans, that sort of thing (She's a Cleric and I portray her as sort of an undertaker/necromancer/CSI).

And the masterful story designed by Dr Haggis really did challenge us - just enough - to work together in combat, solve puzzles, and let us learn some valuable lessons :-). We slayed big rats and kobolds, aided an innkeeper, camped in the wrong place, had arguments, went shopping, used potions and cast spells.

In the end, our little band of adventures finished a clever quest to find and use a magical sextant, which, hopefully, will lead us to find the last artifact of the Paradox Veil...

Thank you SO much, Dr Haggis! You did a splendid job!

What this really boiled down to was that the DW game felt like a brief, shining moment of being a Doctor's Companion, while the AD&D game felt like a brief, shining moment of being 13 and playing D&D with friends.

Both missions, therefore, accomplished!

A toast to many more nights like this!

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