D&D on the brain...

Author: Andrew /

Here's a question for you. What do you do when you want to get some dice rollin' and you can't? I'm sittin here thinking "You know, I haven't had a face-to-face D&D game in... one long stinkin' time." So, I suppose, what I'm askin' is what do you do when there's no game to play?

For myself, I try to get myself into some good stories. I've become a fan of some great fantasy fiction. Some of my new favorite authors are Joe Abercrombie, Glen Cook, Scott Lynch, and Patrick Rothfuss. Now, these guys are just some great inspiration.

I think that reading fantasy like this, that breaks the classic Tolkein-esque mold, it breaks the idea mold as well. With that comes stuff that can enhance our games and our creativity in a way that the old stuff can't do so well.

That said, I love Tolkein and C.S. Lewis. Lord of the Rings has laid so much foundation for fantasy culture that it's now impossible to disassociate the two. Elves, Dwarves, Orcs, citadels of unknowable evil powers and bastions of good and light that are staged, precariously, on the brink of oblivion and staving off a threat that could destroy the world as we know it. Those are classic principles that are central to fantasy literature and fantasy thinking in general.

In fantasy, one of the great things is that good and evil are usually so well and clearly defined. That said, in a lot of the stories I've been reading, there are characters who may be closer to the dark side than Gandalf. Most of these characters toe the line between the light and the shadow. I enjoy this, and I'll tell you why.

With a good character, you have some limits. You have a code of conduct that must be followed in order to stay true to that character. If you have an evil character, you're rather in the same spot. With characters in the middle, you have more canvas to work with and more story possibilities.

With a character in the grey, it gives you a wider idea of ranges to play with. Your character can be a villanous scoundrel perhaps with one little touch of good in him that's buried under layers of leather and blood, in order to protect themselves from pain. Perhaps your character is a paladin who is absolutely righteous, or so it seems. Perhaps underneath the skin, perhaps even unknown to him, there is a deep seated prejudice or a part of him that is so committed to ridding the land of evil that he would commit one evil act to prevent a greater evil from happening.

There really are unknowable combinations and ideas, but I feel that the authors above really capture characters that are conflicted and feel mortal. Most of them feel as if they encounter problems that we can sympathize with.

So, I think that my way of coping with not having dice in my hands when I want some D&D action is to crack a book or do some game or blog writing.

How about you guys? What do you do when Dungeons are nowhere to be found and Dragons are nowhere to be slain? Movies? Other Games? Other ideas? Let 'em roll!



silent stone said...

Personally, when I'm in need of my D&D/roleplaying fix, and reality isn't cooperating (which, sadly, is more often than not the case) I go online, to forums and blogs populated by people of like mind.

So, know of any good D&D and/or roleplaying blogs out there?</joke>

Adam said...

I get a lot of ideas from music. This week I got an idea for a Star Wars campaign while listening to ACDC's "Shoot to Thrill". Silly I know, but hey, inspiration comes when it wants to, its up to us to obey. Anyway I got inspired to learn more about that universe so I got the legacy of the force audio book #1, on I tunes and drew a twi'lek jedi while listening.
Another time I got an idea for a campaign was while listening to the Sword's album, "Age of Winters". My rock of ages campaign was basically sung to me while i zoned out in my car listening to it and missed my turn off.
So in short, what do I do to pass the time between games? Get ready for more games!

Magus Stragus said...

Hmmm... The urge of playing comes to me in different vessels. Sometimes I just have this urge to create something new, and I either start working in a new game, a new campaign, or even a small dungeon. Other times I just sit down and write. Some other times I just grab my D&D books and read them all over again. And, finally, some other times I just grab my dices and roll them just for fun.

Andrew said...

You know, sometimes I catch myself just rolling the 20 around for fun too. Even when you're not playing, it's still oddly exciting (even if only for half a second) when a 20 pops up. =] Music is always great. The feelings involved, the power, the lyrics, everything. It's a great way to amp up. I also like reading. Reading new books, reading old ones, reading the core manuals (cuz you never can know the rules too well), etc. Great ideas guys!

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