Friend time: Does your group get together outside of game night?

Five Questions for Your RPG Character: Secrets, Fears and Memories
New DM Handbook: My Bag of Holding

friendsThis is one of those topics most of us would like to claim we do and, while there are a majority of us who play with close friends/family members, there are still those of us who only participate in the game and not in the after-game relationships to the people we game with. There is a certain level of trust and mutual respect that arises when we play with someone. It’s very difficult to role play when we aren’t willing to bond somewhat with the players we spend those many hours of play with. On the contrary, when we do invest even a little bit of time, we find we have much more than just another acquaintance; we have a friend, which is awesome! Who doesn’t want awesome friends who are open to playing, getting real and having fun?

Dungeons & Dragons takes a great deal of bravery from the players because it’s one of those games where your own creativity is what literally feeds the story and brings each adventure to life.  It’s a game that forces us to be open with ideas and then act upon them in front of a rare few people who take the time to hear us out. How much more enriching does a session become when we share a common connection with the ones we dungeon delve with? I have found that when I take the time to connect and be myself, it leaves others with the same option and things start to get interesting. Loose jokes, inside jokes, inappropriate comments and “that’s what she said” are to only name a few of the many wonders that come from making such friendships. I can not express the love I have for the loud bouts of laughter, the snickering, the distraction, just good humor while the game is going, not taking things too seriously, but still enjoying the story line.  

Last week a couple in our group got together with my husband and I and we went to a roller derby. It was fun to get together with our new friends and just get out to enjoy something new. Roller derby is super awesome and pretty sexy to watch, I might I add, not a lot better than girls in underwear and tight spandex chasing each other around; well, D&D is better IMO :D, but still … super awesome. Another friend of ours from the group is a man my children both adore and he babysits for us when we go out. He is an awesome friend, and I am stoked to have this person in my life. All members of my group have a special place in my heart, and the game would be so different without them.

The pure magic of getting together with a group of people you can trust and be open with is what it’s all about in the end, it’s the life-giving essence of all adventuring and all dungeoning.

Sometimes people stay after the game to just chat and discuss either life or the game, and it’s nice to know we have some pretty awesome people we can call or contact whenever for whatever reason. I think it’s important to recognize the need for friendship in our daily lives. A lot of us have some pretty hairy backgrounds that have either left us without friends or relationships for a long time due to work, distance, school, living situations, etc, and D&D friends are something we can build upon naturally, with time and space around the gaming table in the safety and comfort of our own homes. The game becomes the excuse to really take the time to come together as friends and hang out as people need so deeply to do. In the group that we have, about nine people come twice a week, and sometimes all we do is touch the surface of the game while delving into stories of our lives and experiences; and that is when things really get fun.

Just last night we started our new campaign with our team. The rule for creating the characters was that the character has to be entirely ego based. How does the character you create reflect you as a person, the person you see “yourself” as only. This was a really fun session because what happened was everyone got really into it. Right away I noticed books were open and conversations were flowing as everyone began discussing opinions of what each person might be, even asking what others’ opinions might be for them and what others see them as. The conversations were both humorous and sarcastic, a good trial for true ego to express itself naturally. Not only will this way of playing really bring people to understand each other better, it will also allow for a time of free self expression and bonding with others as we open up about who we are and where we might have come from. Just like every character, every person too has a story and a background. Indeed we all have our place and our time.

Through playing D&D I have come to understand that more than playing a game, the people who you play with really make or break the game. When I was first introduced to this style of play, I noticed how connected to group everyone was. Everyone was so open and happy to be there, it really excited me to see people hanging out this way. Now that I have my own group and my own friends (yes, they are my friends), I have learned that being yourself is what’s needed for almost every encounter. When one piece or person is missing, the game can change entirely. Each person matters, and the game really brings that to life.  

friendMy personal goal for my own group is to just be myself as I interact. When I do this I find my true friends always come and stay or we at least influence each other in a much needed way. I think messaging, e-mailing, texting etc. are all important during the week. Just keeping in contact regularly can really keep people close. I like to journal down each day what my focus is or what my personal goals are or what my goals are with my home, children and work. I recently decided to add a new place for my goals with my loved ones, ie. friends/family/neighbors/encounters, as a way to keep myself open and out of my own bubble. These are people I think about often and I want them to know that.   

I love game night because it takes me out of myself and my own personal distractions. I find it has really helped me feel happier and more confident. When we realize the important aspect of friendship in our games, we start to realize that the game is never played alone, and that each session, each moment, only adds to the adventure. Be yourself, be honest, let the magic happen naturally. 

Stay Nerdy, Friends!

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