As I type this,* it’s Sunday, February 22nd, 2015. As much as I love watching a good awards show (I really do), instead of watching the Oscars tonight, I get to do something even better. I get to play D&D online with a bunch of talented and funny people. I’ve been playing D&D with The Incomparable crew since June of last year, but we’ve just recently switched campaigns (back to the Dark Sun campaign they all started well over a year ago), so I got to do something I both love and hate–create a new character.
I’m anything but new to D&D. I haven’t been playing quite as long as I’d like,** but I do have roughly a couple decades of experience under my belt. I’ve been playing*** since college, when my roommates (finally) invited me to join when they started up a new game.
Anyway, back to character creation. I love creating new characters. Coming up with a backstory, forming a personality, choosing stats and equipment to complement these creations–it’s all such an amazing creative endeavor. And it’s made better because I get to live as this person for a few hours at a time. It’s not merely an intellectual exercise, I get to bring it to life! What could be more exciting? Not many things, I’ll tell you that.
The reason I hate it: it’s an eff-ton of work. All those things I love (backstory, personality, stats) take rather a lot of time. I’ve never been someone who can whip up a character in just a few minutes.° I get (perhaps too) invested in fleshing out every detail. It’s really fun! So it’s easy to fall into the trap of spending waaaaay too much time (not to mention mental energy) with it. But when I think about creating a new character, I sometimes balk because I know how much time and emotional energy I’ll end up spending on it.
That’s not to say that I still get over-invested in the characters themselves, in-game. I’ve been playing long enough to know D&D characters come and go. Maybe they don’t all come and go as fast as Dan Moren’s characters in Dark Sun,°° but character death is a real possibility and just part of the game. I haven’t had many characters die, but I like to think I handled it well–though I could be looking back through rose-tinted dice… Probably the worst part was thinking about all the time I’d spend creating that next character.
Cut ahead to after our Sunday-night gaming session—-It was fab! Playing a taciturn character can be tricky, unless you have a really good reason to speak up. Luckily, the adventure put me in several situations where my character either had no choice but to be social or else got ticked off enough she started making tetchy demands. Ooodles of fun, I tells ya. And even better–I didn’t die! (Yet.) Our next session isn’t for a few weeks, but I’m already looking forward to it!
Later this week, I’ll share my new character! (In case any of my fellow gaming nerds are interested.) The fruit of many evenings of labor. Labor of loooooove.
*Yes, it’s taken me a couple days to finish this post and get it out into the world. I am slow. And busy. And somewhat nitpicky.
**Maybe someday I’ll blog about how that’s all the fault of my second grade reading teacher, whom I’m STILL really mad at. #SoBitter
***Not just D&D–I’ve played a handful of other RPGs as well. In fact, my favorite of my characters is still from a White Wolf game (Project Twilight) I played in the late 90s/early aughts. Jasmine Winter: computer hacker extraordinaire, gorgeous, and 100% through-and-through asshole. I love playing characters with low charisma.
°Though I’d like to be someday. That’s another item on my personal growth checklist. It’s kinda like how I spend way too much time crafting, editing, and reediting each blog post. I’m working on getting to the point where I can create something swiftly and feel comfortable letting it out in the world. I’m getting better (marginally) with the blog, so maybe my D&D character creation skills aren’t far behind. (Clearly this particular blog post belies my progress. At least I’m posting it in the same week as its genesis!)
°°This is a reference for TPK listeners. If you’re not one, and you enjoy D&D, allow me to suggest you start!