“I remember finding Dungeons and Dragons in the summer of nineteen eighty-three.”

I remember finding Dungeons and Dragons in the summer of nineteen eighty-three. It was June and we were all, me and a group of friends, staying at my friend’s house who was having a birthday after school had gotten out for the year. There was like five or six boys doing the normal birthday goofy stuff in the eighties at night and then the next day when we woke up and had breakfast, they all were playing Dungeons and Dragons and I had not been exposed to it at all. Not — you know, like in eighty-three, it was pretty popular still, it was like, I think that was around the E T event and all that. But they laid out this map for this place called the World of Greyhawk and they had all these things and it was just kinda like whew. And that changed me forever, and I started marching, y’know, bought the books, learned the rules, started running my own games, sharing them with friends for almost forty years. So learning how to do all of that differently from systems that hit basically right as I was going into middle school, junior high, that was like hard printed in my psyche of how to run a Dungeons and Dragons game and now all of it was pretty much worthless. Not all of it, but, you know, ninety percent had to change, had to face change and getting through that process has been an exercise in focus.

Learning how the data is stored in the software and how to access it ad hoc, because Dungeons and Dragons is live improv. There might be a story in it like you start here and you hope you’ll end up here, but then the game starts happening and all the people are essentially improv artists playing the game. You just have rules systems to resolve tension sometimes like, you know, Indiana Jones, I take the idol off the altar and drop a bag of sand on it to prevent all the traps from going off, well that’s just a roll but everything else is improv. You can, you know, what if Indiana Jones just grabbed the idol of the golden head in that movie and ran with it, didn’t even bother trying to stop the traps. Doable. So, finding the resolution systems in the computer has been an exercise in focus of “I know what I want, where is it? Oh to heck with it. We’ll just — we’ll just do a Band-Aid and get around it.” Slowly but surely, by forcing focus and like “I know it does this, let’s make it do it,” into the game play with my friends remotely, we’ve been able to get the table back. It is a virtual tabletop.

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