Updated: Mar 20
[Edit. In light of the very real chances that folks find themselves out of work, with little money and little to do...if you have access to a VTT and you want to play AD&D over the internet with your friends, I've reduced the PDFs for all my supplements to $1. Lulu, charges 99 cents to host so I'll make a penny. This discount is my piddling attempt to give you something you can smile about. Stay in and stay healthy]
History tells us of many tumultuous times. You read the accounts of how the world changed. How empires fell or at least how choices made by people affected the outcomes. World-altering events are not as rare as we think they are, it would seem.
Someone I like (whom I'll mention more in just a moment) once said, "There's an old saying about those who forget history. I don't remember it, but it's good."
I don't talk about anything but AD&D on this blog and I'm not here to convince you that anything is worse or better than what you think it is. I will tell you that I work from home now, for the foreseeable future, and that I'm lucky to be able to do so.
My wife is not as lucky and even though she's being paid for now, I'm not so naive as to think that the company can continue to pay her indefinitely while the business is shuttered.
What we believe (or don't) is in some ways irrelevant when circumstances beyond our control change the very shapes and filters through which we engage with the world.
I have a beautiful gaming table with a flat screen and hundreds of painted miniatures in cases that are, for the time being, sitting idle.
That guy I mentioned earlier? Who said that thing about "history"? He's my favorite late night host and he recently did a show to an empty audience in the Ed Sullivan Theater that, even through the awkward silences, was a masterpiece to watch. But you can only make those jokes once before the lack of audience swallows you too and digests you with silence. That empty theater and my empty game room have a few similarities. They both exist to provide escape and laughter.
Now, a few friends gathered at my house to roll dice would certainly fly under the radar of mandates currently in place that no more than 10 people can congregate. But in the interest of science, and in keeping people who are more susceptible than myself safe, I chose to end game nights at my house, possibly for a very long time.
My players demanded that we find a solution for this. I'm happy my years of work are appreciated to the point that not only do they refuse to abandon our game, but that (through Fantasy Grounds VTT) have suggested we play MORE often: once every week----since it is now easier to get together in virtual space.
Oh here's the thesis? AD&D still works, folks. By the fucking book. It. still. works. But that's not really the thesis. My efforts at wold-building, at a homemade campaign, have also certainly been a big hit. But that too is not the point. The point is, rather, that we all need more than just a bowl of snacks, a closet full of toilet paper, and Hulu.
I've been saying it since the very beginning of this blog. Telling you how Dungeons and Dragons saved my life as a kid. Telling you how D&D is NOT about players vs DM. Telling you that D&D is exactly what Gary told us it was in the cartoon. Unlike so many head-to-head games where competition is king, D&D is cooperative. Players AND DM...together...in partnership. The DM is omnipotent and yet, bound by the rules of the game.
Hank and Bobby and Sheila and Diana and Presto and yeah...even Eric were trapped in this place, in these circumstances they didn't want to be trapped in. And Dungeon Master did seem like a dick----like he could have gotten them home at any time but was just toying with them. And we can think about that silly little cartoon in a lot of different ways. But I think when the dice say a purple worm surprises the party and the DM allows it to happen, that he or she can still be on the player's side: rooting for them, hoping to strengthen friendships while (and in fact BY) facing monsters.
It's my opinion we need far less competition and far more cooperation. More sharing. More experiences like D&D to show us a different kind of winning. Not us vs each other. But us "together" vs the darkness.
So yeah...yuck it up but, "I attack the darkness." We attack the darkness.
And doing it without the minis is a little less cool...but it's just as fun.
We fumbled a bit with Fantasy Grounds...wished the Unity version was already polished. But we made do. So the campaign marches on. Despite everything feeling kinda end-of-the-world-ish, in some ways it helps. In some ways it's an escape. And in others it's a metaphor.
Take heart. Stay safe. Be conservative with your toilet paper...
And happy gaming.