Initiative Or What? – Archives – Jul/2009

Monday, July 06, 2009

An All Too Frequent Lament

Sometimes, things just slow down.

If you are a regular reader of this blog, you know that I run a game for a group known as the Dead Orcs Society. We’ve been meeting about once a month, but the summer months have taken their toll, and things have slowed down quite a bit.

It’s frustrating, but I don’t blame my players (we’re all adults with the requisite busy lives). However, when I’ve put so much effort into making the game interesting for my players; (props, blog, computer mapping tools, etc.) and they can’t make it (or are too busy to make an effort) it can be a little disheartening.

What makes it doubly frustrating is that one of the main reasons I restarted the group was because I wanted to do something to spend some more time with my wife. Since restarting the group last October, I actually got my wife to play a game she’d been dodging for nearly 20 years. To my surprise, she actually likes the current version of Dungeons and Dragons.

However, with the infrequent game sessions, I’m worried that my wife’s interest in the game will wane. What’s a life-long gamer to do?

I don’t really have an answer to that question, so I put it to my readers. How do a couple who have found they like to game together (not that kind of gaming…pervert), find a group of like minded couples for a shared gaming (specifically 4E D&D) experience. I’m not interested in giving up the current game I DM (we do still play occasionally), but I’d like to find a game my wife and I could join as players. Something a little more regular than “occasionally once a month”.

Not sure I’ll get an answer to my question, but if you’ve got some ideas and they might apply to the Topeka, Kansas area, let me know.

Until next time…

Game excellently with one another.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

More NPCs

Almost two years ago, I wrote this post regarding some recurring characters I’ve encountered in the neighborhood in which I work. From time to time (and usually quite by accident), I have the opportunity to encounter additional people in real life that I can only call “NPCs”. Here’s a couple I ran into recently on vacation.

Recently, my wife Anna and I took a short trip to Atchison, Kansas, in order to enjoy a couple of days at the Glick Mansion (please forgive the unsolicited plug, it really was a great place to stay). While in Atchison, we stopped at this drugstore on the mall. The drugstore was unique in and of itself, as it still had a fully functioning lunch counter and soda fountain (gotta love small towns, right?). While we enjoyed our cheeseburgers, this gentleman walked in. It was difficult to tell his actual age, but I suspect he was in the 25-40 range. He greeted all the ladies at the counter, the cook knew his order, and even had his favorite pudding ready for him. His name was Elmer.

Elmer owned that lunch counter. Not literally, of course, but you could tell that this was a place he visited every day. Elmer in his bib overalls, buzz cut and tapioca pudding. It was awesome just listening to him talk to folks that he must see nearly every day. I couldn’t help but think that every inn in every D&D game I’ve ever placed should have an Elmer. I didn’t get the chance to speak to Elmer myself, but I can’t help but think he probably knew just about everything there was to know (or that was important to know in Atchison.

While on the same vacation, my wife and I crossed the wide Missouri and visited the town of Weston, MO. While enjoying the little shops along the small town’s main street, we went into a shop called “Old Geezer’s Mantiques.” That last word is not a typo. It’s really “Mantiques”. We arrived at the shop just as the “old geezer” was opening up his shop. Our exchange went something like this:

Us: “Good morning! How’s it going?”
Old Geezer: “Oh…not so good”.
Us: “Oh? How so?”
Old Geezer: “I got woman trouble this morning.”

Yep, that’s right. No pleasantries with this guy, he was a straight shooter. We asked him how it was going, and he told us. Told us for real. Guy had woman troubles, simple as that. As we perused his wares, he continued to tell us about his various family problems. He went on about whether to consider his girlfriend his “ex-girlfriend”, his granddaughter’s poor education, or his daughter’s poor parenting.

In such situations, you really can’t do much than just ride the conversation out (without being rude, that is). While I nodded politely and smiled, I couldn’t help but think that this guy would make an awesome NPC in an adventure somewhere. In fact, I think that DMs everywhere could improve the “color” of their settings by including NPCs like this guy. After all, every shopkeeper doesn’t always make you the best deal, have interesting missions for you to go on, or always has that perfect item you were looking for.

Sometimes, they just have woman trouble.

The next time you’re on a trip, and you’re hanging out with the locals, take some time to observe the “local color”. If you’re not careful, you’ll soon have another interesting NPC to add to your adventure.

Until next time…

Game excellently with one another.

Part idiot. Part old man. All geek. R.M. Walker, who can be found in numerous places on the internet as “DeadOrcs”, is a long time gamer with some 30 years experience playing RPGs. Despite occasional forays into the bizarre, Randall has always come back to Dungeons & Dragons.


About DeadOrcs

R.M. Walker, who can be found in numerous places on the internet as “DeadOrcs”, is a long time gamer with some 30 years experience playing RPGs. Despite occasional forays into the bizarre, Randall has always come back to Dungeons & Dragons.

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