I remember then first time I ever saw a Scantron sheet. It was third grade and, being a student in Arizona, I was taking a test that would prepare for me for the vigorous testing I would subject myself to in order to prove that I was learning.
Needless to say, the first time I ever sat down to one of these formidable forms, the only thing blanker than the sheet in front of me was my expression when I thought about how I had to fill it out.
However, even more than a decade after that initial testing trepidation, I have yet to come even close to replicating that initial, sinking feeling.
Until yesterday, when I sat down to fill out a character sheet in Dungeons & Dragons.
Of course, this monstrous sheet was step two in the initial role playing process. First, I had to come up with a character, its background, personal and family histories, religious affiliation, nature, class, race, and how I fit into the larger campaign as determined by the Dungeonmaster. And that was all before I even looked at the character creation sheet.
And that doesn’t even begin to cover how you have to equip weapons and armor, buy items (including things ranging from horses to quill pens) and “buff,” or strengthen those aforementioned weapons and armor … yeah, it’s kind of a lot to take in.
Of course, then we started to play.
The best thing I can say about my brief experience with Dungeons & Dragons is that, for how downright bureaucratic they can be, they are incredibly freeing. The idea that you can do virtually anything, though undeniably intimidating because of its lack of direction, allows you to integrate yourself into both your character and the game. If that sounds nerdy, well, it’s because it kind of is.
But it’s the best kind of nerdy, the kind where you can get caught up on all of the most recent sci-fi shows without watching a single one of them. The kind where you do about 1 minute of actual, meaningful role-playing to 10 minutes of game time. The kind where you drink mead and don’t have to worry about being a total n00b, or any pwnage thereof.
Granted, I may be coloring myself as a tremendous dork (which, for anyone who knows me at all isn’t that big of a stretch) but I thoroughly enjoyed my first gaming session and look forward to more in the future.