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PARKER: The importance of being your own dungeon master

Image Credit: Compilation/Jennifer Stahn
December 15, 2014 - 7:25 AM

SEVEN ADULTS TOOK THE OPPORTUNITY TO LET GO OF THE MOULDS THAT WE TRY SO HARD TO FIT INTO OUR DAY-TO-DAY

“Should I use my force punch or my scorching ray?” I asked the table seriously.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my short 27 years on this planet, it’s that if you can’t ask the important questions, you’re already falling behind. How was I supposed to save my Orc lover and my dwarf companions if I failed to understand the rules of my combat?

Allow me to back up and put into context my situation. There I was, face to face with a giant talking tree that had just threatened to kill me and my entire campaign worth of fantasy characters. We were on a mission to save six innocent children from a mystery dimension found in the bottom of a burlap sack.

“We” being the characters, but “we” also being a table of 7 twenty-somethings, enjoying a casual afternoon game of Dungeons and Dragons.

I pose the question to the Dungeon Master — force punch or scorching ray — and he flicks me an all-knowing glance. I smile and roll the dice. Scorching ray it is, and damage it does.

How I ended up at this table is a bit of a convoluted story. As with many great stories of mine, it starts with tequila. A bottle of cheap, gold tequila.

“I can’t believe you don’t think I would be into role playing,” my boyfriend said angrily, half-melted margarita in hand. “I can too role play,” he said, “I would be great at it.”

I made the plans for this game shortly after. If my bartending, wine-repping, fitted-jeans-wearing boyfriend thought he could play a good game of D and D, I was going to find out.

So there we were — seven of us in total, and a lot of snacks — ready to take on the world of our imaginations. We wandered otherworldly corridors, battled monsters, healed each other, and laughed at all the right moments. We made decisions on behalf of our character’s skills and strengths and — eventually — we became one with the character of our choice.

The game itself was an introduction to the world of RPG, designed to give someone like my boyfriend a good enough experience without all the thought process. The rules were simple: listen to what the Dungeon Master tells you and have fun. We sat around that kitchen table for three hours, discussing moves and plans, motives and meaning, magic and mystery.

For three hours, you wouldn’t have known that any of us had complexes in the outside world. There wasn’t room for that at the table. The Dungeon Master created a safe space in which we could ask the big (and small) questions, in which we could understand our personal motives and capabilities, in which we could trust in one another to play with a great sense of integrity and self-awareness.

Seven full-blown adults took the opportunity to choose their own adventure, to get lost in the magic of story telling and make-believe, and to let go of the moulds that we try so hard to fit into in our day-to-day.

Sometimes, despite our own attempts to bleed authenticity in our every day lives, we find ourselves caring too much about the things that don’t matter. In times like this, it’s important to remember that we are our own Dungeon Master. Our dragons are by our own design. Our values, skills, attributes and strengths are as clear as we allow them to be. Our organic selves can exist without fear of judgment.

“Should I use my force punch or my scorching ray?” I asked the table seriously.

The Dungeon Master flicks me an all-knowing glance. He gives me the go ahead.

I use my scorching ray.

It works.

— Andria is a 20-something blogger from Kamloops

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014
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