by Nik Bartunek
The best part about being in a band is that you meet some of the most interesting people on the planet. I know some very creative and interesting people, and its been my pleasure to do things outside music with them.
One of those things is gaming. I’ve mentioned about a million times prior to this, that I do a lot of gaming, and I’m proud to say that I’ve brought it to a new level with some friends.
I’m a huge fan of the Horror/Macabre Fiction writer H.P. Lovecraft. Lovecraft wrote at the turn of the century, and just about everyone on the face of the planet, Stephen King included, has been influenced in Horror writing by Lovecraft. He is most well know for his Cthulhu Mythos, centering around the horrifying and otherwordly Mythos of the Outer Gods.
A lot of media centers around Lovecrafts work, and one of those media outlets is in the gaming. More specifically the RPG format. With this Call of Cthulhu RPG, I’ve had probably one of the most amazing gaming experiences with my friends to date. To put it in a nutshell, the game is run by a Keeper (Me), and is played by Investigators (everyone else). The point of the game is not concrete in any way. I write an adventure for the players, who then play through the adventure using the rules for the game. This leaves the possibilities literally endless, and the players can achieve anything they wish in game, up to the limit of the rules.
I took this one step further though, and took the time to lay out real “scenarios” for the players to act out. Our band members Ryan, Rico, & Brian decided to play, along with our good friend and producer Aaron Hellam. With some set up, I changed garage of our keyboard players house, into a dark and mysterious study room. There, I placed clues I had made. Basically the game “Clue” in real life.
This experience was amazing, and I learned a lot about my friends from the way they approached the situations I had laid out. I remember years ago, my friends dad saying “In College, I learned a lot about my friends and myself by playing D&D with them”. In my head, I thought “This guy has crap coming out his ears”. I’m sort of timid to say that I was proven wrong. What he said made a lot of sense. Through this ridiculous and completely fun game, I learned a lot about some people that are very close to me.
Its sort of odd to think this. Games where you roll dice, and use silly voices are usually the games that the High school Pariahs play in some dark basement in New Jersey. Reading more and more though, I find a huge list of really interesting, and not to mention pretty cool people who did a lot of RPG gaming in their day. It made me feel less like a nerd, and more like, well…me!
That’s not to say that their success had anything to do with the fact that they gamed. I’m sure Nickel Back probably played a couple rounds of D&D in Highschool, and we all know that didn’t get them anywhere. My point is, that sometimes the nerdy, un-cool things in life, aren’t as bad as they seem. I can remember all the times as a kid, being at a family friend’s wedding, and seeing everyone dancing out on the dance floor. That may have had something to do with the amount of wine consumed, but regardless, it looked like a good time. Nervously I stood on the sidelines, nervously wringing my hands thinking “What if I make a fool of myself! What if I can’t dance well! What if, what if, what if…”. In retrospect, I greatly regret not having just gone and done it.
Sometimes, in life, there comes moments in time that can’t be repeated. Nothing in time is truly repeated, but we can always replicate a moment in some way. Through making a fool of myself, and using silly voices, playing scary music, and making 1920′s themed clues I went out on the dance floor and did it. I’ll probably look like a fool but I know that “I will become even more undignified than this” in the future. I don’t regret it now. In fact, I’m having the time of my life. I could just stay at home and make sure I’m wearing the right shirts, or that my pants are up to “Tightness Standards” but I think I’d be missing the point.
The more I run towards trying to be cool, the more I lose track of myself. Like Bill Cosby once said when asked the key to success:
“I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.”
I think most people who see me wriggling and singing on stage would be shocked to see me rolling a 20 sided die to find out how much damage I deal to an Orc. The reality is, I’m happy. The scene can keep itself, I have elves.
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