Posted in Archive, My Life

Other Sources of Inspiration – Dungeons and Dragons

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For those who will understand the inside joke…

Sometimes you don’t realize how interconnected everything is.

A few months into writing this blog, I’ve made quite a number of my hobbies pretty clear. I love to write (surprise of the century), read, travel, play video games from time to time, and stay physically active to name a few; and while my attempt at balancing real world responsibilities with an attempt at a social life isn’t always the perfect mix, it doesn’t stop me from trying. But all of this is just background information and not the real story. The real story starts with the picture below.

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There are a lot of preconceived notions that come along with a twenty sided die:

  • There’s too much to learn for me to get into Dungeons and Dragons.
  • I don’t understand the complex rules.
  • Not enough action for me. Spend too much time talking.
  • If I’m not super into it like the other people playing, then I’ll be judged.

I had the same thoughts until two years ago when I was dragged to a game by my coworkers. To me, there was a very big distinction between role-playing video games like Final Fantasy, The Secret of Mana, the Elder Scrolls series, and a whole list of others and Dungeons and Dragons. The divide was expansive and I had no interest in stepping onto that side of the field. In my head, Dungeons and Dragons was the stuff of super serious tabletop enthusiasts who memorized almanac-sized rule books to play. It was one step further than I wanted to take. Figuring out the stats for my created character in Elder Scrolls: Oblivion was enough for me.

The irony of that sentence kills me.

When I look at things like Call of Duty and the ability to specialize load outs and player characteristics or leveling up my character in The Witcher 3 and deciding where to spend my skill points, how can you not see the through line between all of these different things and where they originally came from?

My love of the Fantasy and Science Fiction genres is due to my early exposure to these different role-playing elements and the deep, immersive worlds that these stories exist in. Turning on my console to play or writing a bio for my Pathfinder character (an extension of Dungeons and Dragons) aren’t nearly as different as I thought and that’s why I classify it as a source of inspiration. I’m following a pretty similar process as I would when doing my writing.

About a month ago, I started back up playing again after a year and a half hiatus. Time constraints and just generally getting burned out with a not-so-fun group caused me to gracefully bow out. I was reticent about getting back into it regularly again but I’m having fun. The group doesn’t take it super seriously (a necessity if I’m going to play).

Sometimes the hardest thing to do is to step outside the confines of what you’re familiar with and try something new. I’m not a hardcore Dungeons and Dragons fan by ANY stretch of the imagination. I take it week by week. But when I look at my current list of pet projects (create a choose-your-own adventure game, brainstorming the world for a sea based fantasy novel idea I have, figuring out the science behind my NaNoWriMo attempt, etc), I can’t ignore that fact that something like Dungeons and Dragons could be very useful in continuing to sharpen my creative skills.

Until next time.

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