Confessions of A Role-Player

(C) 2022, JJ Shaun
A set of Dungeons & Dragons dice.

If you’ve read this blog, you know that I don’t just whine about losing my home to wildfire. I also write fantasy fiction. One of my launch pads for storytelling has always been Dungeons & Dragons. From the moment that the half-elf, Meegan Redoak, rolled her first encounter, she, and D&D, have been part of my life. I still haven’t finished her story, but that first experience of sitting down at the keyboard and losing myself in her adventures sticks with me.

I’ve created a few characters since that first excursion into role-playing. Each comes with her (or his) own personality and quirks. And almost every one of those characters began with the roll of the dice.

I began playing D&D while on deployment way back in 1986. I was stationed on a repair ship with a crew complement of some 1,300 sailors. Most of our time out to sea, we were bored out of our minds with regular “field days” (deep cleaning our work and berthing spaces). A person can only strip, wax, and buff the deck so many times before they want to throw themselves overboard. The trick was to not get caught “lollygagging,” that is, sitting around doing nothing.

One of my shipmates had discovered the game a few years prior and invited a group of us to give it a go. What began as a diversion morphed into a lifelong passion. That first game never really ended. It fizzled away after we returned to our home port following the cruise. This is probably why Meegan’s story is still unfinished.

A few years ago, I tried my hand at the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) event. That was another instance where the story carried me along—until our annual trip east to visit family for the Thanksgiving holiday. I lost steam and added yet another unfinished manuscript to the pile.

Yesterday’s post included the beginning of my latest endeavor. I’ve mentioned before that a group of us have been playing a remote version of the tabletop game since the end of June 2021. We play once a week with an option for a second day if everyone is available. Being wintertime, everyone has been open for that additional session. Our party has finished one quest that could be turned into a standalone story, so that’s what I’m fleshing out these days.

Writing has been a catharsis for me, especially during the last year and some. Blogging about our struggle to rebuild has helped me process our loss and bounce back from disaster. It has also been instrumental in helping pull me out of the depression that set in following the fire. D&D has helped give voice to my characters.

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