Two weeks or so went by rather quickly without posting an update to the Sample Dungeon or even dropping in. It's the normal combo of work and family life and for at least two nights now the NHL playoffs have filled in the free time remaining at night. Before that it was On-Demand episodes of AMC's The Killing. Anyway, I'm still here and still playing and thinking about the game.
Speaking of The Killing, I went into it having read the comparisons drawn to Twin Peaks, but I wasn't prepared for the almost identical story elements and even the similarities of the promos. "Who killed Laura, er... Rosie Larsen?" Normally I think these sorts of comparisons are off the mark if not unfair, but its tough to avoid or argue against in this case. While The Killing lacks a lot of the quirkiness and cleverness of its predecessor so far it's at least worth checking out.
But I'm not here to post about TV or my home life, so lets get down to it. I'm here today to post about my players. Something Zak S. wrote a while back about picking a player and describing what they bring to the table (literally and figuratively in this case) combined with a comment made here by the affable Happy Whisk about getting to know bloggers got me thinking about how I'd like to pay homage to my regular crew and perhaps, by extension, reveal something to the potential reader about me. Here goes.
Bobby: What Bobby brings to the game table, other then a severe case of narcolepsy when the going gets late, is wide-eyed enthusiasm. He loves the in-game aspects of what's going on. He's the guy most trying to figure out how the cultists were connected to the bandits and the duke's cousin while guys like Danny (below) are busy totaling up XP and dividing treasure. Bob is the first guy to want to know more about NPCs and the only player that has ever sat around my table and questioned the morality of breaking into a dungeon, slaying all of the inhabitants and taking their gold. Bobby relishes the camaraderie and problem solving aspects of RPGs... the meat and potatoes of the game as its played.
Danny: If you subscribe to the notion that the D&D group has its corollary in the rock band, Dan is definitely our drummer. He just wants to game. Whenever. Wherever. He's a gamer with a capital G. XP... treasure.... XP.... treasure. In addition to hosting the bi-weekly sessions at his place he does most of the phone-calling and coordinating of who is showing up and when, he does most of the set-up and break-down and will pretty much do anything to keep the session going on track. Dan once said that if he ever struck it big somehow... lottery, inventing the slinky or some other means of accessing obscene amounts of cash... his first desire would be to pay all of our salaries forever so we could hang out and game everyday at his house. Any number of people might say something like that. Dan actually means it, I think.
Jay: Jay is the yin to my yang. The Moriarty to my Holmes. The Lois to my Stewie. The Tupac to my B.I.G. The Frazier to my Ali. We are linked to one another as much by mutual likes and interests as we are reciprocal animosity. I love and hate Jay like a brother. Put dice in our hands and a Risk board between us and prepare to have an awful evening. We're petty. Vindictive. Hostile. Deprecating. We drag the whole game down with us in our unrelenting competition. Jay once relinquished a chance at victory in Risk to march his hordes all across the face of Asia and stick it to me in South America/ Africa in a fiery blaze of glory.
Jay is also the DM when I am not. He's the first guy that I run a new rule idea by because he's the guy that I most want to see use and abuse it. In this manner I can see if it actually works. While Dan generally keeps the group organized and lays out the decisions that need to be made, it's often Jay's advice that the group weighs most heavily. Like Ross below, Jay is finally a selfless provider of high quality snacks and beers for communal consumption.
Mike: The most interesting man alive. OK, maybe not quite that interesting but he does shoot people in the crotch with lasers for a living. He has also owned a pet store, writes for and plays the piano beautifully and even spent a full winter plunged in Antarctic darkness (not to mention sub-zero water). Mike brings a newly minted, up-to-date photo-shopped character sheet to every session, complete with a small picture of some beautiful and often scantily clad or suggestively posed woman wedged between his saving throws and the stats for his horse, Ignatius. This sheet, which he swears makes finding his character info easier, is a convoluted mess to me. But it is beautiful. And that, in many ways, is Mike as a D&D player. Mike still isn't sure sometimes which dice to roll for damage, but damn it if he often isn't directly in my head when it comes to figuring out what's really going on in an adventure that I'm running.
Ross: Ross is that rare individual who can serve as both cautionary tale and sage adviser. His approach to life is a combination of debaucherous zeal and ironic distance and he could tell you some pretty crazy stories given the inclination. In fact, if he ever mentions to you that he's got a crazy story to tell, you'd do well to stop and listen. Ross has a keen insight into human motivation and a razor sharp sense of humor. I think as a group we all pride ourselves on being at least smart and more than a little funny. But Ross is the most likely person amongst us to illicit belly laughs from those around the table. If he leans any way on the so-called three-fold model spectrum of players, he's a narrartivist. He really digs that shared, imagined space. His characters are always interesting ones to see being played. I can recall as far back as 20 years ago the name of the dog of a former rat catcher run by Ross in a Warhammer campaign. Yes, the dog. The dog was Shekky. Shekky was a bad motherfucker. Ross almost always brings a huge stash of cured meats, aged cheeses and other culinary delights to the game, and there is a special place in heaven for these sorts of folks.
There are other players that come into and out of the game. Pete, Eric, others... but these above are the ones that are there almost every session and the ones that I know best.