When a game session goes well

There’s nothing quite so fun as a game session that goes well. (Well, there probably are a few other things that are that fun. But just a few.)

Last night I ran a D&D 3.5 game that was… just a great deal of fun. Gaming over the last year has been a tad lackluster for various reasons, but sessions like last night’s remind why I love this hobby so much. A few observations from the game:

  • I love playing with newbies. A couple of the people in last night’s game group were totally new to D&D. I love being there when the game finally “clicks” for them. Almost invariably, about an hour into the game, there’s a flash of excitement and understanding on their face and they ask: “You mean… my character can do anything I want in this game?” Last night, that moment came as the party explored an old warehouse, came to a closed door behind which they knew enemies were lurking, and realized… hey, we don’t have to charge through that door—we don’t even have to fight these enemies at all if we don’t want to. A simple scene, but inspiring!
  • I’m never going to tire of D&D. That’s not entirely true; every couple of years I get overdosed on D&D and need to take some time off to play other games instead. But I always come back. At the end of the day, I’ll never say no to a good old-fashioned game of fantasy adventurers, sinister villains, and noble quests. Other great games come and go, but nothing does “kill the bad guys and take their stuff” like D&D.
  • I love gaming. This is probably an obvious point, but I had an epiphany this weekend: I love gaming just as much as I did when I was younger, but these days my reasons for loving gaming are quite a bit different. As one of the players last night commented during the game: “You know, for me, D&D is really all about eating unhealthy snacks and laughing with friends.” When I was a kid, I played RPGs with my friends because we loved the games; the social interaction with my friends was just a side benefit. Today, I play RPGs with friends almost entirely because of the social interaction: few other activities let me laugh and connect with them in quite the same way. There were times during the game last night that the entire table was paralyzed with laughter at somebody’s witty one-liner. It really doesn’t get much better than that.

As with any social activity, not every game is a transformative and joyous experience, as any gamer will tell you. But when they do go well, they leave me glowing for days. And now I couldn’t possibly be in better spirits for my trip to Gencon later this week!

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