I've decided its time to get into some hard-core geekery here. That's right – D&D. This is a level of geek that I mocked and feared for years, and I certainly had to have some help sliding into it. That's why I think a little nudge in the RPG direction can only do some good. Let me start by begging anyone reading this to throw out every notion they have about RPGs. I do not dress in medieval garb. I do not have particularly greasy skin or hair. I do have a social life. Actually, I'm going to stop at that one and explain a little more. The idea of a bunch of geeks sitting around playing Dungeons and Dragons and never talking to anyone outside of their basement is as false as the idea that only these same anti-social geeks ever chat online or use a compter at all. People who love playing with other people and have a creative outlet, as a general rule, are pretty cool people. Most people who actually play person-to-person, rather than online, just happen to have started out a campaign with some close friends. My dungeon master is my Brother-in-Law. Also, if you have every played house as a kid, or barbies, or the high-tech version of barbies, The Sims, then its too late for you anyway. Welcome to our world, you are a Role Player. Also, the idea of girls not fitting in in this world is about the most ridiculous misconception of all. Every little girl I ever knew invented brilliant worlds and songs and stories with talking dogs and dancing trees... do you really think all of that creative power just dissappeared? We still have it, and utilizing it can be incredibly liberating, stimulating, and fun as hell. Alright, so hopefully I've defended D&D well enough. Now I'm going to share my story of coming into it and my character creation in hopes that it will maybe show a door into a place that's built up some high defenses to outsiders.
As I mentioned, there was a time when, despite my love for comic books, my playing through Baldur's Gate (and secretly pretending I really was a drow elf), I would never be caught dead with a D20. At least I wasn't that bad, I reasoned. But my brother-in-law had always been an RPGer. Hell, he'd been addicted to Magic: the Gathering, once. My sister had been part of a role playing campaign or two in her day, though never D&D. As it turns out, there's this crazy thing about marriage where people will start sharing ideas and hobbies. It's pretty trippy. Since I happened to be living at their apartment at the time, it was not long before a few 3rd edition Monster Manuals and Player Handbooks started showing up in the living room. Character sheets came next. I specifically remember my sister sitting there, designing her elf-ranger, and asking if I wanted to too. I remember this because it involves me turning around from whatever video game I was playing and responding with the classic, 'uh, no. At least I'm not that bad.' Beck, my sister, went on to discuss races and their advantages and personality traits with Chris, her husband. I become intrigued.
“So, if you can play a half-orc, whats the other half?”
“Oh...but does it half to be? I mean like, could you make a half Elf half Orc?”
“...theoretically, but they are really different races.”
“So...what would that be like?”
“...Conflicted. Remember that episode of Star Trek with Warf's girlfriend, the half human – half klingon? It would be like that.”
“Ok I'm playing.”
At the time, I felt that my decision was based largely what would give the most creative oppurtunity to explore a personality withing. Also, I wanted to play a bad-ass. Looking back on it now, I actually feel that the bad-ass is the more significant part of my who I decided to play. A lot, I'd be willing to bet most, gamers choose characters that are who are what they wish they could be. I had just started a new job where I felt out of place and uncomfortable most of the time. I had previously spent most of my time inside reading, so this is the most human interaction I'd had in ages. On its own I think I could have handled this, but at the time, I happened to be attracting a lot of unwelcome attention. To put it simply, I was getting hit on. A lot. I'm only 18 and I have had a boyfriend through all of this (a steel dragon mascarading as human who we saved from a giant spider web,) but none of this seemed to help out with the...attention. I used to go on walks by the river front, then some guy fishing started yelling at me. I don't go there anymore. I stopped walking city streets alone. I walk to the library from a specific direction, walking fast and watching the ground.
I couldn't not go to work. Elven half-orc Vola, however, would chop a motherfucker's arms off. She did once, actually, and let me tell you, ogre magic is no match for a good barbarian rage and my orc double axe. I really do think knowing that, in one world at least, I was--am--capable of this kind of power has helped me immensely. “Attention” died down at work after the first couple of months. Most of those guys having been 'let go' in one way or another since then. Still, it's nice knowing I've created an alter ego like that. I feel safer and stronger and certainly more confident. Vola's greatest traits are her bravery, her wisdom, and her compassion. Looks are not on this list. She has tusks. Violet eyes can only do so much for a gal's appearance. She takes a -2 to all charisma related rolls. We coined the word charistard when this character was being developed. Having a Vola under my skin certainly makes the everyday assholes count less. Plus, I haven't found a fun yet as good as staying up all night playing pretend with a group of equally imaginative and crazy friends.