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This time last year, I scoffed at those who played Dungeons and Dragons, and outside of a few encounters that are best not talked about here, those who played video games were not looked at kindly. Then things changed. My friend introduced to the magical realms of DnD and now instead of partying it up on Saturday nights, I am laughing and setting imaginary fires on a kingdom that elves have declared war on.
In my first session, my temporary characters floated a guy because he was being a little too aggressive in his flirting. It was like every gay man and straight woman's dream come true. Where had this been all my life? The mechanics of the game still eluded me, and the group was very kind and talked me through it. They still do, and never seem irritated with my naivety.
For Christmas, I traveled back to my hometown and stayed with my best friend and his husband. Since this group is scattered across the country, the game is played using a call app and a popular website for DnDers. Once I was on the call (and fed chili dogs and chili fries, it's a Michigan thing), the bestie and his husband went upstairs. I thought I was being quiet and not disturbing them, but they heard everything.
Sunday morning, when I came out of my room, I was greeted with: "Set that bitch on fire. I'm using firebolt." This caused them to break out into a fit of giggles. Still not sure why I was setting a safe haven on fire and trapping NPCs in it. Fictional characters lost their lives! It wasn't funny. Maybe it was a little hilarious.
While on vacation, I bought a new computer game, Stellaris. There has been some debate on how to pronounce it, but I don't care. After trying to learn how to play it, I decided I was ready to play with the group. A big mistake on my part. Again, this group is kind and will help with any problem that you are having. It's a thing I have if I'm not the best at something I tend to give it up. During this particular session of gameplay, though, I earned the nickname Split Emperor. You can guess why.
Or maybe you can't. I was losing food and energy, so I made part of my empire a vassal, not knowing that I was giving it up. One of the guys realized what I had done and told me about it. Luckily, we will not be revisiting this galaxy, at least according to our fearless leader. It gives me a chance to start again.
And do things right. As one of the guys, who happens to be one of my good friends pointed out, I had not been doing research like I was supposed to. For those that are well-versed in Stellaris, you know how imperative it is to make sure that you are researching. I was not one of those people until he told me. And teased me. And laughed at me. He will say he was laughing with me, but no, I was not laughing. I do now though. Especially since I played for like 10 hours solo.
Which leads to my birthday, January 10. This is a day when I typically do nothing. Writing ceases, unless I'm heavily into a project that I love, and work is told where to stick it. So on my birthday, I sat at Starbucks and played Stellaris and read about DnD all day. The depths of creativity that is put into these games is inspiring. The amount of time that it takes for the Dungeon Master or the host of the game to build the galaxy and create the obstacles is worthy of a career.
It's true that I am not the best at either game. Proficient is a little strong to describe me. I'm a player and that's about the best way to say it. Each Saturday that I can, though, I will be joining these guys on the call and letting go of my worries, embracing another set. What will the Big Bad do to us this week? Pretty sure this makes me a (terrible) gamer.