For the last few months or so I have been getting together online with my brothers and few other friends to play Pathfinder (basically Dungeons and Dragons), but sadly that time has come to an end. Trying to coordinate the schedules of five or more adults who have families, kids, jobs, etc has become unmanageable. I guess that is a common story when it comes to D&D and I am a bit surprised at how sad I am about the whole thing.
This was my first experience with “pencil and paper” games. Growing up I was told that D&D (and similar games like MechWarrior) were evil, tools of the devil, would cause addiction, would destroy my grades, etc. It turns out that isn’t really the case. What struck me most about playing is how open it is, you can literally try and do anything. This sets it apart from video games, even massive games like World of Warcraft. We are just not at the point technologically where software can even begin to compete with the human imagination.
Playing D&D is more of an art than a science. Sure, having book knowledge about your characters and rules and such is necessary, but the real enjoyment comes from using creativity to find solutions. Often, the most fun is not shooting fireballs and swinging swords, but is getting into your character and talking your way out of a solution, or even finding a way to avoid a problem altogether. I am going to miss taking a few hours out of each week to become a cleric with a hawk on my shoulder and going around bringing balance back to the world, but maybe I’ll be able to play again soon. Until then, I have those wonderful guys at The Adventure Zone podcast playing D&D version 5.0 to keep me entertained.