How not to go mad: D&D
Updated: Apr 5
In my previous post I sought to encourage people to find alternative ways of amusing ourselves and to this end I have come up with an old idea re-hashed.
Do you remember Dungeons and Dragons? Possibly not. When I mentioned it to my teenage son he just looked at me pityingly and said 'You have got to be kidding me...'
But just hear me out. The original game was once huge. Admittedly this was before the advent of computer games and a time when one had to use one's brain to image a Tolkienesque world. Is it possible that people of today are so far captivated by digital dreams as to render them incapable of imagination?
I recently joined my other son for a session playing Wrath of Mordor, which is to say he pressed all the buttons and I watched intently. And, yes: everything was there; the visuals were stunning, the sound effects realistic (I have never actually heard an orc's head splatter under an axe, but if I had, then that's what it would have sounded like) and there was lots of stuff going on in the background. I was truly in the midst of battle.
But...it was all too perfect. The character apparently had an inexhaustible aptitude for climbing very tall castle walls and an insane ability for hacking to death very large creatures - oh an an equally insane ability to leap off those same walls and not only survive but leap up in an instant, ready for more mayhem.
Yes, I know it's not real, but there was nothing in the game remotely akin to careful strategy. It was one of the things that made the Lara Croft series more edgy, especially the first few games that required you to find a save point to avoid having to replay the last few hours again. It gave spice to the adventure.
So, back to Dungeons and Dragons. The whole idea was basically a book, controlled by the Dungeon Master who, like a director on a movie set, oversaw the game. He or she know in advance what was in every hall and room in the adventure you chose to explore. Your character would choose where to go and the book would determine who or what the player would meet. Your fate could be decided upon the roll of a dice. It was lavishly simple.
So, if you have an imaginative streak, why not start your own D&D adventure? In times past I would sometimes spend weeks putting together lavish maps of underground worlds and populating them with whatever unspeakable creatures my teenage self could conjure up.
The result was probably more spectacular in my mind than I could portray in life but the whole point was that I could allow my imagination to roam.
It gave life to my mind.