As you all know, I have a large interest in video games. In a post not too long ago, I made mention of how gaming is just as much of a social experience to me anymore and how tabletop games are a huge influence in that. Lately, I have been playing more tabletop RPG and board games. When I’ve been playing these games, I dare say I’ve enjoyed the entertainment provided by them more than that of video games lately. Don’t get me wrong, I’m certainly not losing interest in video games and I do find them fun to play yet, but for different reasons. There’s nothing like sitting down with a group of your friends and going through a raid in Destiny, but that experience is different from the experience of raiding a dungeon in a session of D&D. Similarities exist, yes, but the difference between failing and succeeding in a Destiny raid is not getting enough damage on the boss, or falling off the edge of the map. Meanwhile, succeeding or failing a dungeon raid or simple action in a game like D&D is determined by a roll of the dice. So you could have your 9th level Elemental you summoned land a critical hit on the boss and just annihilate it and its family bloodline, or end up having your entire party curl up and fall asleep on the nearest table. And yes, all of the previously mentioned scenarios have happened to me.
To briefly continue with these differences, when I’m playing a video game version of an RPG I don’t feel too often that my characters’ decisions actually affect the outcome of the overarching storyline. There’s a whole discussion to be had on this, and we have, but I feel a little disappointed when you come across an NPC and are tasked with saving them (or not if you wish) and the only thing it affects is your “trust level” with maybe your companion, or lets you bring that person along as a companion. Whereas if you come across an NPC in a tabletop RPG and you decide to betray them or something way worse, it might change your characters alignment…or maybe they were going to help you infiltrate the mansion of some city’s nobleman. I guess the short version of this is, I feel that there are more consequences in a tabletop game than in a video game. Make a mistake in a game? Just load your last save. Make that same mistake in a tabletop game? Sorry, your character now is racist towards Orcs.
Right, so now that is all out of the way let me discuss some of the things that have made me want to play these types of games more. Late one night, roughly a year ago, I was asked by my friend Freakshow if I wanted to give Dungeons and Dragons a try. For a couple of reasons, I was slightly apprehensive about doing so. The biggest one of those was basically being bad at it. I know, I know, that is a lame excuse for not being sure of wanting to try something. With my personality though, if I am doing something in a team effort and I feel like I’m not doing my part to help the team…well then I feel horrible for not doing what I could to help. Like I said, lame excuse I know. After mulling the question over for a few days, I decided to give it a shot and (again) late one night I was creating a character with the help of the aforementioned Freakshow and another friend (and fellow party member) DCleak. Currently, I am sitting with a level 6 character that is multiclassing (because that’s a thing in D&D) as a third level Cleric, and a third level Fighter. I have many stories that I can recount from our current campaign, and I may in a future post, but for now this post is about why I enjoy tabletop gaming.
The second biggest influence was the fact I went to a local gaming convention a couple weeks ago. Free shout out to QC Game Fest by the way. They had a bunch of events set up throughout that weekend where you could sign up and play some board or RPG games. They had a D&D session that was going on, some Pathfinders, other “spin offs” of D&D / Pathfinders, numerous board games, and since that weekend was also the prerelease weekend for Magic’s Amonkhet set they also had a few tournaments going on too.
To touch on the prerelease event quickly, it was fun and I enjoyed it. I created some weird white and green deck with some red splashed in for removal and it would have done better…had I not shorted myself on lands. That part was a little rough, but I wasn’t thinking it would be a problem…totally learned my lesson and it was. I also probably could have went with a white and black, or black and red color combo, or even some weird mash up between all three colors. I add black in there because that’s the majority of the cards I got in that prerelease pack, but I didn’t use them because they really didn’t match my playstyle I have sort of developed. A lot of the cards focused on putting -1/-1 counters on my creatures and using those to do some other weird things that I can’t remember right now (even though the cards are sitting right next to me in a pile as I type this). I’m just not a huge fan of “powering down” my own creatures to where some of them are easier to destroy when blocked by my opponent.
Anyways, the Magic talk is done for now. While reading the previous five paragraphs have you wondered what the title of this post has to do with the actual content of it? No…wait, you have been? Good! Continuing on with the whole tabletop RPG theme of this post. One thing that has really impressed me with the RPG games I have played recently is how the DM’s (Dungeon Masters…not direct messages) or GM’s (Game Managers/Masters…not General Motors) weaved their story actually in to the game and how the decisions of us, as players, have affected things in that. Needless to say, I am slightly jealous of their creative ability to do such a thing. However, a while ago I was “volunteered” by Freakshow to DM the next D&D campaign we play through. As with first playing D&D I was cautious of the idea, but eventually gave in. At QC Game Fest there was a vendor there that was set up and they were selling these modules for their campaign called “Dragonwars of Trayth”. I picked up the first module which is for 1st and 2nd level characters and I am anxious to try it out. Whether or not this is the campaign I will DM us through, I don’t know for sure yet.
I kind of want to write my own campaign because I think it would be something fun to do. I have been told by a reliable source that I need to create a villain to use as the basis for my story. After I have that, I can expand on the necessary details. That same reliable source has also offered to help me create and balance out the encounters for the campaign, of which was something I wasn’t giving much thought to honestly. The only concern that is floating around my head is the fact my creativity comes in bursts. I dare say in the past few days I have had an abundance of creativity as I’ve been brainstorming up ideas for a future D&D campaign and some other ideas related to RPG games. Freakshow and I have been working on our own Destiny themed D&D, which has been cool and I hope it turns out well since we’re sort of building it from scratch. I have also been thinking of ideas for RPG’s set in the Dishonored, Fallout, and Borderlands (somehow…) universes. I think though, the Dishonored version would be better suited for Dread.
Which brings me to my final point of this probably already too long post. Dread. A game of horror and hope. It’s also a tabletop RPG where your dice rolls are replaced by a Jenga tower. Sounds pretty fun right? Well it is. On the last day of QC Game Fest I was able to grab a spot in a game of Dread that was set in the Fallout universe. I have heard of Dread before, mainly through talking with Frantic and a few others, and when I saw there was going be a session for it I knew I wanted to give it a try. Our GM for the game did an amazing job of placing the area I live in, in the Fallout universe.
The only time I have played Dread was the previously mentioned time and in case I wasn’t clear enough, I absolutely loved it. It may have had to do with the setting for the campaign being in the Fallout universe and I’m sort of familiar with that setting, plus I do enjoy the Fallout franchise. As I mentioned the GM did an awesome job hosting the game and that also certainly helped me enjoy playing the game for the first time. In fact, just yesterday I bought the rule book for Dread and I’m possibly thinking of running a few family members through one of the included campaigns this weekend if possible.
Ok, I do believe I am done rambling about the awesome things that are tabletop RPG’s and tabletop games in general. I know this is fairly obvious and common knowledge to most people already, but if you are ever wondering about trying a tabletop game but have never played one; I encourage you to try it. It might be some of the best fun you’ve had while playing a game. Same thing if you are thinking about doing something like being a DM for a D&D session or something similar. If you’re unsure, give it a try, you never know if you’ll like it until you try it. Start with maybe a small session that can be completed in a few hours and if you found yourself enjoying it, then go from there.