Sunday, May 10, 2009

It's A Brand New Game

If it is a brand new game, why do I feel like I’ve been here before? Is it that gamers fall into the same categories and types regardless? Will there always be a rules lawyer? A goofy geek that fondles the minis? An obnoxious loudmouth that always has to tell a story about what this one character did in a game unrelated to the current one? A self absorbed narcissus whose character is single minded in their own purpose to the determent of the group? A DM who takes far too much delight in our character’s deaths? It isn’t so much the stereotypes that are throwing me for a loop, but the memories they dredge up.

Now, I’ll admit, I’m sure I also fall into a category. But for right now, I am quiet at the gaming table, almost unbelievably so. I watch the others, see how they interact, and merge, while I am trying partly deliberately and partly subconsciously, to keep my distance.

Without diminishing what Sara went through (and honestly, I have no idea how she managed to be so calm through it all, I’m still seething about it for her and for me) I’m still really upset about how my last group fell apart. As much as I disliked D I didn’t like “firing” him, and I really miss J. She was fun to hang out with, witty, amusing and an all around nice person. But when D went, J went too. It was a choice between Z and C who really merged well with us and D, who just drove us crazy with his self-absorbed rules-lawyering.

I can’t hold a grudge against Z and C. I mean they had job opportunities that were just too good to pass up and from what I hear they are doing well in Cali! I miss them a ridiculous amount! Both are good guys and I hope that they have found groups that appreciate them as much as I did and that play to their strengths.

And then there was E. Out of all the old group, never would I have pegged E for being a dickweed. It was bad enough what he did to Sara. For that alone, I wish him ill. His actions though affected not just Sara, but my whole family as well. We were all close with him, spending time with him away from the gaming table, hanging out late into the night, going out as a group. Cyra especially loved the man. God, she spent time crying over him when he was on deployment, not just because she missed him, but because she kept having nightmares that something happened to his ship or that he fell overboard and was eaten by sharks!

And then there is Sara. What can I say about her that isn’t obvious? My first grown-up BFF (how childish does that sound?). I don’t blame her for high-tailing it out of here. In fact, I am more than a little envious of her opportunities to travel and explore the world. I took her departure harder than I thought I would. But 13 time zones are piddle-squat when it comes to friendship! And before I start mushing and gushing, I’ll leave it at that.

So, when it came time to regroup, to find a new set of gamers I found myself very hesitant. I didn’t want to invite people into my home and get close, be friendly, get hurt. What finally convinced me was Scott. He has been dying to play Pathfinder and he kept checking the message boards looking for a group in town. When he found a message that looked promising, he immediately drew my attention to it and all but begged and pleaded with puppy eyes (not that that works) to see if we could set something up.

I capitulated and emailed and then met part of the group at the bookstore to see if we’d be compatible. Much to my dismay, I hit it off with them. They are nice guys, so far that I’ve seen. They can only game two or three times a month and only on Sunday afternoons which works out really well for Scott and I. And, yes, they fall into stereotypes and after two gaming sessions it is hard not to make comparisons.

S reminds me a great deal of E. Goofy, playful, geeky. I know I’ll get along famously with him.

E reminds me of C. A rules lawyer who doesn’t work the rules so much as reminds the DM as needed, or looks up a stat for the DM as requested.

The DM reminds me of Sara. He is a great storyteller and weaves us into the fabric of the story. Unlike Sara, he uses the critical hit deck-OUCH!! And he takes gleeful delight in pulling out those cards!

C reminds me a great deal of D. He always wants to talk about what he once did in a different campaign. He is loud and boisterous, which could be taken either way, good or bad.

J reminds me of the very first Jess we had at our table in the apartment. Self-absorbed, her character is conniving and won’t engage in battle unless forced. She is also single-minded in her own personal side quest.

So where does this leave me? I’m friendly; it is hard for me not to be friendly. It is easy for me to keep my distance since we only meet every other week or so, and because we have such a short time to game, we are all focused on the game as soon as everyone gets here. I’m not entertaining as I once did. It is a strict BYO: if I don’t feed them, I don’t adopt them. And in an unfortunate side effect from our last group, I am a bit fearful.

I am a loyal friend, fierce and devoted, once I have given friendship; it takes a lot to break it. It is the Leo in me, I think, and really, I’m not sure I willing or able to hand over friendship as I once did. And that, I think is what kills me the most. I am friendly and outgoing by nature, and right now, it is taking all I’ve got to not be.

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