Wednesday, July 13, 2016

D&D as a Player

For the second time in my life, a player from my own D&D campaign is planning a campaign of their own, and I'm likely to be a player in that campaign. It worked out pretty well the last time this happened, and I have some vivid memories of the my friend Aaron's Valendia campaign. To this day, it is the only D&D campaign I've been in from start to finish. Hopefully, the new campaign is even half so successful.

Either way, though, I'm excited at the prospect of being a player again. Playing Dungeons and Dragons with a good group is one of my greatest pleasures, and one I don't often get to enjoy anymore.

I had barely played D&D at all by the time I accepted the mantle of dungeon master. Practically from the beginning, it was my responsibility to create worlds and characters and storylines and challenges for the benefit of my players. It was rewarding, but it was also a lot of work. It takes endless creativity, organization, and persistence, not to mention a fair bit of free time. (Nowadays I lack free time, yet somehow I'm still running a game...)

Given the investment required to be a dungeon master, you might have an idea of why being a player is comparatively attractive. Basically, I just have to show up, and I only have to play a single character. I only have to think about what that one character would do in a given situation, rather than juggling multiple characters in an effort to guide the adventure in the direction I want.

In short, being a player is freedom. And, of course, it's fun, but so is being a dungeon master, so the fun factor isn't a distinctive element here.

Anyway, I'm already running through character concepts in my head. Apparently the campaign takes place in a realm where magic is illegal. Will I play a mage subtly fighting for magic rights? Or, perhaps, overtly fighting for magic rights?

Or perhaps I'll play a hotheaded barbarian with some pretty specific ideas for how this whole civilization thing could be improved. I mean, yeah, agriculture seems pretty neat, and universally understood laws have their uses I suppose, but who is this "king" guy and why does he get to be in charge?

Perhaps a paladin, determined to dedicate his life to the cause of good... though still kinda of struggling with the concept of morality. And to what pursuit should he dedicate his life? Protecting others? Spreading happiness? Destroying evil? These aren't mutually exclusive concepts, but eventually one has to make a choice...

Or perhaps a politically ambitious rogue? A tactician fighter itching for the chance to test his strategies, regardless of the cause? An annoying bard who fancies himself a comedian?

The possibilities are boundless, but I'm sure I'll enjoy myself regardless.

I'm sure D&D isn't for everyone, as not everyone has an interest in fantasy or a personality suited to this sort of group activity. And, of course, some people simply can't find a group.

That said, though, if you are interested in D&D and can find a group you'd like to play with, it's a pretty good activity. I recommend it. Whether you're a player or the dungeon master, or even whether you play D&D or some other pen and paper game like Shadowrun or GURPS, it's a good time.

Perhaps some time I'll delve deeper into the benefits I've gotten from tabletop games.

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