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Playing The Game



Just the other day I wandered through town in that aimless state of uncontrolled free time that sometimes happens between shifts at the car factory. Ooh look, a book store, let's have a browse and see if there's anything worth reading or better yet purchasing with my new found affluence. So I wandered in and headed for the 'scifi/fantasy' section as it was the nearest section I had any interest in reading. Almost immediately I spotted it. the Dungeons and Dragons Starter Set.


Good grief, I remember the Basic Rules from when I was a teenager back in the seventies. Oh what fun we had. gathering around a table pretending to be heroic fighters, rascally thieves, clever wizards, or insidious clerics. Or for that matter, pretending we knew anything about medieval society, Arthurian mythos, or that we'd actually read Lord of the Rings. No matter, the Dungeonmaster would hide his papers behind a cardboard screen and describe the world we were about to set forth into and play merry adventure.


D&D always came back to haunt me. For a while in my thirties I ran a game world for a bunch of players. Some might snigger or shake their head, but it was fun, social, and the added maturity of the players resulted in a much more rewarding experience in my opinion. It does occur to me that there must be plenty out there who don't know what a tabletop RPG is all about. I did think computer gaming had all but destroyed the hobby - what a surprise to see the box on the shelf of my local bookstore.


Nostalgia is a compulsive beast. My mind goes back to those starting games and so often they began with that first old door in some neglected or forgotten crypt. Listen at the door? An odd sound, like a rasping noise, intermittent but quite audible. Aha, so you try to pick the lock do you thief? Yer can't, 'cos the door ain't locked. Duh!


Armed to the teeth with blades and spells, ready for anything, eager to find what was the other side, they ask what's inside. In the centre of the dark chamber is a table and chair. A goblin is sat face down, holding a bottle, snoring as he sleeps off his ill gotten drink. The fact the poor little green creature was incapable of defending himself or that he would know where the treasure was mattered not one jot. The players would burst through the door and in a mad frenzy of rolling twenty sided dice the creature is dispatched to the grave. Then the ritual of searching the body. When they discover all he had was a pair of used underpants the players got annoyed, having risked their lives for so little gain. That's okay. Two levels down in a room far more secure is something they won't be so brave against. Heh heh heh.... Such fun.


Reality Check Of the Week
With my nostalgia trip over it was time to head into work and resume my quest for a comfortable life. Yesterday I had a bit of a problem. Recently I've been handling packing waste on four baling machines, half the section in total, and believe me, I get swamped out with mountains of cardboard and plastic regularly. On this particular day two of the machines went out of action. Oh no!


So I improvised, swapping full and empty waste cages, heading outside into the cold where the big industrial balers were to make sure the cages were emptied, and after a shift long physical exercise regime like that, I was broken. I had, by my own initiative, kept our section from complaints of senior managers for leaving the section looking like a rubbish tip. And no-one thanked me. Nor did I find any treasure. Worst of all, I earned no experience points to advance my 'Level'. Pfah. This real world stuff sucks big time.