Five adventurers, seasoned and battle scarred, find themselves summoned to the same alehouse on the same dark, moonless evening. Their paths have crossed before and acknowledgements are shared, each in their own way, as they walk through the door one by one. Four of the travelers find their way to a table and begin swapping stories over drinks. The fifth stands quietly in the corner, alone with the thoughts and demons he shares with no other. Neither traveler knows the true reason they have been summoned here this evening, only that each received a single page of parchment, marked with this date, this time, this location.
The quiet one in the corner is the first to notice her as she walks through the door. A slight figure dressed in the plain clothes of a peasant, yet one by one the travelers take note of her presence, for she is no peasant, and their lives are about to change forever.
I am 35 years old. One might call me a nerd, or possibly a geek. Whatever term you want to use is fine by me. I don't deny the accusation. I love me some Star Wars. I watched 5 seasons of Doctor Who in 4 weeks. I read Penny Arcade religiously. I am on my third play through of Skyrim.
Saturday night I played Dungeons and Dragons for the first time.
I say this knowing full well the stigma that goes along with such a statement. Society has become much more accepting of nerd in the last few years, most likely due to the blockbuster summer movies and hit HBO TV series derived from the plethora of sci-fi and fantasy source material. Game of Thrones, Iron Man, The Avengers and Star Trek are just some of the mega-hits that have taken the subject matter once relegated to dank basements and elevated them to hallowed ground around the water cooler.
Not so for D&D. Sure there are plenty of places to find people who play, forums to discuss the game or sites to bury yourself in data. It is, however, not generally a topic broached in a public forum. One can talk about Star Trek with a group of strangers and no one would blink, yet the mention of the AC rating for a Dragonborn Ranger would be met with blank stares at best, open derision at worst.
I could not care less. I showed up for Saturday's session knowing only one of the six guys at the table. I left feeling like I had had just reunited with long lost friends. We sat down to have share a few hours with a common interest, to share in the creation of a story, to have a hand in a "Choose Your Own Adventure" with more depth than any of those amazing books from our childhood. We saved a cleric from mercenaries and cleared the King's Road of a band of thugs. None of it was real. All of it was real.
So dismiss us if you want, laugh if you so choose, I don't care anymore. I used to care deeply until I realized I was trying to impress (or not get laughed at by) people who had little or nothing to do with my life. I don't have time for that any more. So if you'll excuse me, I have to get going. I have some dice to buy.