What do you fight for in your campaign? What cause is it that you strive for? Is it the meager treasures of the land or the pillaging and plundering of a city in order to fulfill selfish desires? Do you fight for a cause that is greater than your own? Do you fight to protect an entire race of people by destroying an evil tyrant who seeks to destroy an entire race of people all for his own selfish gains and ambitions? Or do you join forces to aid his fear mongering whims only to leave nothing for the creatures that follow in your footsteps? As we delve into these worlds and places in our campaigns, what is it that we are truly seeking to achieve? Why do we adventure? Why do we desire more than what we are, what we have or what we see? The act of a hero is that of selflessness and bravery in order to achieve the good of all. The acts of a tyrant are always the opposite. Do we seek to build or do we seek to destroy?
In last week’s campaign, our group journeyed into a vast city torn apart by ravaging monsters where the people refused to leave. When approaching this broken mess of a city, our first thoughts as a team were to leave immediately to avoid the same destruction or possibly to avoid the chaos that so viciously attacked the once life-filled dwelling before us. Instead, we decided to ask the Dungeon Master why this place was in such disarray, as to perhaps see more clearly the situation before us. We asked what this place meant to these people in order for them to not flee in fear? Why were they still lingering in such a hellish pit of despair? Why weren’t they fleeing? How could a human tribe possibly hope to defeat such darkness that so clearly stained the grounds around us? Blood stained every wall, statues were destroyed, and decay and death were ripe in the wind.
The DM described the incredible runes inscribed on the tall, well-crafted buildings made from the sweat and tears of a long line of a united people, the tall splendorous trees, each seed planted by their ancestors, the once ever-flowing fountains and altars dedicated to their gods and goddesses, the master-crafted cathedrals towering high as a symbol of their faith and beliefs; I saw this place as much more than a ravaged town, and my desire to flee quickly left my mind. My eyes saw through the eyes of those around me who were guarding the waste that remained, and my heart filled with soreness and rage for the people whose home had been taken from them to violently. As our party began to recognize the value, we all had to stand up and defend this great city. Their home also became our home. We were able to make a difference as our minds united and our weapons infused as one blade. The campaign was a success in the end, the hides were mounted on the walls for all to see, the hearts of a broken people were lifted again, and as heroes we continued our journey onward.
I realized something in this quest that truly reflected the truth of all life and all creation, IRL as well as in game: “In order for us to love, we must first understand. In order for us to dream, we must first see the vision in our minds. In order for us to achieve victory in our quests we must open our minds, and believe in something we have never perceived in our thoughts before. In order to become great, we must accept the inevitable change that is always on our doorsteps.”
So what is your approach to the creations we are all apart of in-game or in real life? How do you handle the inevitable chaos that life seems to throw our way? Perhaps what we see as only a game means more than that, after all. Perhaps on the other side of our actions lies the life or death of a world we never see ourselves.
Stay Nerdy, my friends.