the life of zooey who happens to be Bipolar 2
This year the fam and some very dear friends made the pilgrimage to the nerdgasm known as GenCon. Set in a seemingly unassuming place, Indianapolis becomes a teaming downtown full of cosplayers and variety tabletop gamers. One of our focuses this year was Dungeons and Dragons or DnD.
I’ve been to Cons before. Quakecon (PC gaming in the cold dark for days drinking BAWLS) and Comicons of various types where autographs are $35 and up (take no pictures enforced by volunteer line bouncers). Cons create large shopping malls of trinkets, costumes, comic books, games and cards.anything you can dream a geek would, well, geek over. This for the ‘pittance price’ of $35 a day just to peruse the aisles.
DnD has gotten a bad rap since its rise in popularity in the 70’s due to ‘Christian’ groups claiming its dice rolling strategy was devil worship, etc. Yes, perhaps the dungeon master (DM) is the fucking devil after all, sometimes leading the role playing party down a path destined to fail, but none of the players at the table would worship THAT. The game has been blamed for ‘luring’ people into not being able to delineate fantasy from reality. Hmmm, let me see, am I a human of the 21st century or an earth druid, staff-wielding female dwarf with a beard? Hard to say. . . snort.
DnD has been nerdy before nerdy was cool. It’s been called a game for antisocial mouth breathers who live in their parent’s basements with no concept of the real world. DnD shouldn’t be singled out for this sort of stereotype, really. The people I met and played with were brilliant strategists, geeks..some social, some not. The age and personalities of players were varied as any other hobby. ‘Nuf said.
GenCon has a giant room for gaming apart from the showroom floor. Part of this area is set aside specifically for DnD. As someone fairly new at the DnD thing, I was delighted with the kindness of others at our game tables helping me to play the game. DnD bases success within each campaign or story on strategic decisions made from your character’s view (what would my dwarf do in this situation) and a roll of the dice. Each person with a character in turn makes a decision for the adventure to move forward. It doesn’t take long to realize a Nat 20, or natural roll of a 20 sided dice, is the shit at the tables. It’s also apparent gamers who are rolling under 10 or even 5, as my dear hubby did one game, need to change out those dice now.
Community runs strong in DnD culture. Small groups of people, meeting usually once a week, or regular intervals, to play and joke about characters and campaigns, shitty rolls and crafty dungeon masters. This extends out to playing in larger groups with strangers like those at GenCon where you can go alone or with friends randomly to a table and play for an hour. I met some pretty cool folk while playing throughout a day of our DnD marathon over the weekend. It has flowed out into visiting a local game store and meeting folk there.
Everyone needs support nets in their lives. People who are there for a crisis. People that can help you through bad patches, bad economic turns and the like. But there are social support nets which are just as important. These nets of human connectivity and friendship where we can be ourselves in other areas such as playing games, sports or hobbies. If you have one, keep it going. If you need one, search out your interest areas and meet some new friends.
Here’s to hoping you have such a net. If not, it’s only a Nat 20 away.
On a roll,