Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Oddly Enough

senmurv.jpgIf I want to walk into a game shop on an official Dungeons and Dragons Game Day, pick up a character sheet and some dice and play the freaking game, I have to leave South Carolina. Overall, I'm not opposed to doing that, but it bothers me in principle.

I could hit a Magic: The Gathering tournament, but that would involve the purchase of multiple decks of cards, learning a new set of rules, and playing a card game in a room full of people who strike me as either too enthusiastic about a game or too far off their ADD medication to actually play a roleplaying game.

This is an unfair perception I have of the Collectible Card Game scene, but it is my unfair perception so I'm keeping it.

My classic, old-school, pencil-and-paper Dungeons and Dragons game fell apart long ago. I haven't played World of Warcraft in over a year. I want to play a game with a story, hang out with other geeks, drink gallons of diet cola and throw some funny-shaped dice in joy and anger.

This is a personality type thing. There is a twitch factor involved in gaming, unused brain cycles or something. This is less that than an almost primal need to communicate with like-minded people and conquer imaginary objectives.

Stranded in the gaming desert as I am, I've been reading a lot. I've always done that, I guess, but in the absence of the bi-weekly time sink of a gaming session I've been really abusing the hell out of Amazon Prime. I've even started downloading eBooks for my Kindle App for the instant-on book need which is too immediate for two-day shipping or a 5 minute drive to the bookstore.

I picked up the hardcover of Scott Sigler's THE ROOKIE. I listened to the original podcast of this violent scifi football masterwork and wanted to show my support in anticipation of the sequel THE STARTER. I know nothing about football that I did not learn from this series. I suspect an NFL game would bore me with its lack of aliens and death. Of course, most things bore me with a lack of aliens and death.

In keeping with my long-standing anti-The Great Gatsby stance on literature, I try never to read anything which doesn't have either dragons or laser swords. This is, I realize, opening myself up for a horrible assault of crap books, but I've managed to avoid the worst of it.

(Actually, at times I embrace the worst of it, since as I've written before some of my favorite stuff is pulp written in the first half of the last century on a pay-by-word basis. Howard, Lovecraft, Burroughs . . . Same characters, different loincloths.)

But the good stuff is out there and hasn't been optioned for a 3D spectacular yet.

Naomi Novik writes an incredible series, Temeraire, around an alternate history Napoleanic Wars with dragons. I've picked this up in paper and in Kindle format and love it.

JC Hutchins has recently published the hardcover edition of 7th Son, which is an amazing story impatiently waiting for a big name actor to rise to the challenge of playing eight parts, an Alpha and seven distinct clones.

I've even gone back to old books I read as a child, Robert Jordan's Conan saga and Piers Anthony's Sos the Rope, for example.

But I want, no need, to play a game. Dungeons and Dragons Online is a possibility. Let me know if anyone is interested in joining me there.