So, my novel is a bust, for now. That's all I'm going to say about it, besides that trying to write a book in 30 days is an insane venture.
Anyway, I was thinking today about how I got into the hobby of roleplaying games in the first place. As a young lad, I played countless hours of Wizardry 7, a computer RPG in which you control a group of adventurers and had always been enamored with romantic notions about the middle ages and armored knights on horseback. My family had taken a trip to Las Vegas once and we had attended a medieval dinner show which only fueled my obsession.
By the time I hit middle school, I was introduced to Tolkien by my history teacher and was thoroughly indoctrinated in the lore of the The Lord of the Rings. I also began playing Magic: The Gathering and MUD's, the great grandaddy of today's MMO's.
Probably sometime in the seventh or eighth grade, my then patrol leader in Boy Scouts asked me if I would like to play Dungeons and Dragons. Being a good southern baptist boy, I knew that D&D equaled SATAN and was reluctant to play. My patrol leader, who became my first DM, explained to me that D&D was basically the computer games I had already been playing, just without the computer. One night, during a scout meeting, I rolled my first character.
I can still remember the instance when I knew that D&D was something special. It was possible for my character to know how to speak Elven, and I elected to learn the language.
"Why?" my DM asked. "Well, the rules say I can," was my reply. "No," said my DM, "Why does your character know how to speak Elven?" I was floored. Full-on deer-in-the-headlights mind blown stupor.
D&D was the first and perhaps only game I have ever played where the rules and mechanics of the game are secondary to the game itself. It was not important that I was allowed to start the game speaking Elven, what was important was that my character had at some point taken the time to learn to speak a foreign language. This was infinitely more significant that the fact that he could, indeed, speak it.
I've come to understand that my experience with D&D is not typical. More often than not, it appears, the RP in RPG is an afterthought.
My early RPG days were fraught with misadventure and misinterpretation. For one thing, our group didn't grasp the rules on how to roll hit points, so that by level 5 my thief had 125 HP.
I also took Tolkien's books as canon, never mind the fact that we were not in middle earth. But to some extent, so did our DM and pretty soon I had a sword that glowed whenever the Uruk Hai were about. Those were glorious days, before I really knew how THAC0 worked and I just seemed to get magically better at stabbing things.
If anybody reads this, leave a comment and tell me how you got started. I'm genuinely interested.