Ashe Elton Parker

A Writer of LGBTQ+ Characters in Speculative Fiction

Tag: D&D

Dungeons & Dragons

Years ago, back in the 90’s, when I lived in North Carolina before the Navy, I played D&D* with a bunch of friends I’d met through Star Trek fandom. This required me getting a ride out to my friends’ home, and sometimes me spending the night. I don’t recall much about those games, but I do recall the fun I had with my friends. This all ended for me when I made an unwelcome comment I don’t recall about how they were raising their child.

Ever since then, I’ve wanted to get involved in D&D again. Oh, I’ve been gaming for about ten years now, but in the Vampires: The Masquerade system. I have no idea who publishes it; all I do know is that the GM** for that has been struggling for a while now with coming up ideas for us to play. We—my current longtime gaming group—have also had a taste of the Rifts role gaming system, but the GM for that flaked out on us within a few months and hasn’t been back. Honestly, none of us really care if we ever see him again. Our old Vampires GM does want to GM the Rifts system for us though, but it requires multiple books, and he, like the rest of us, has little extra money, and he has to use most of it on things that are more immediate to his needs.

So, when Oasis Games bought the building where Utah Pride Center used to be on 4th South, I started getting interested in D&D again. A demo game by one of the employees of the store only whetted my appetite. Enough so that I conceived the idea of DMing* for my longtime gaming group. This was back in December. I got the Player’s Handbook back in December, and by January had the Monster Manual and Dungeon Master’s Guide.

As a result, for the past few months I’ve been making slow progress with writing up plans and such for the first adventure I’m leading my gaming group on. It’s been fun, though I have to admit that I wouldn’t have wanted to do this if 5th Edition hadn’t come out.

I’ve also gotten into another D&D group where I can regularly run a character. That’s been a lot of fun, and I’m stealing DMing ideas I like from the person who’s DMing it with his position. I’ve got to get to Oasis Games some day when the employee who DMed the demo game to get ideas from him. There are some questions about different aspects that I have to ask him—and, actually, another person who I know GMs a Star Wars role game for his friends.

So excited about all this. It’s going to be such fun!

*Dungeons & Dragons
**Game Master – Used as a general term for someone who directs the role game when the official title is unknown.
***Dungeon Master(ing) – The title of the person who directs a D&D game.

One Week In

Well, I’m one week into my new writing habit, and I’d have to say it’s gone fairly well. Not perfect, but not too badly either. I’ve done something with my writing almost every day over the past week, and I’m pretty pleased about that. The only day I think I missed was Thursday, and that was because I was so completely exhausted that I just couldn’t focus on anything by the time I got around to working on my writing.

So, over the past week, I’ve looked at the last few chapters of Unwritten Letters, hunted out the sketchy “outline” I made for the last few scenes, and have determined (yet again) I need more because the leaps between the scenes are too great. Since Wednesday, I’ve been backbraining what I need to fill in the gaps. In the meantime, I’ve edited a chapter of DH02 to to up on Wattpad later, posted DH02CH17 on Wattpad, and worked on some side stuff for the D&D campaign I’m running a character in with my pride center friends.

Unfortunately, due to the appointments I’ve had the past week, and all the other stuff going on, I haven’t been able to work much on my own D&D campaign for my long-time gaming friends. I hope to get that done a bit this week. There’s maybe half the dungeon they’ll be going through to finish, and right now I’m going through the Monster Manual page by page to add some variety to their adventure.

This week, I plan on getting at least 2 plot cards on UL, working at least 3 days on my D&D campaign for my friends, and writing out a “letter” about the most recent adventure my character had in Kit’s D&D campaign (pride friends). I’d also like to read a little more of the Monster Manual. On Monday, I have an appointment, and I’ve got my volunteer shift on Tuesday, a Housing recertification appointment on and then meeting a friend to play Magic: The Gathering on Weds, with quilting on Thurs. I’m supposed to fit crocheting in there somewhere. I’ve sort of taken up the duty of coordinating D&D with my pride center friends, so I’ve got to finish coordinating with them for our gaming session that’s supposed to happen next week. And I’m going to try to fit some crocheting time in there somewhere; probably at my volunteer shift.

In case you were wondering, one of my goals with this weekly posting is to make myself accountable. Even if nobody reads this, I’m hoping that posting my weekly writing goals and my progress with my writing will help keep me focused on the writing goals. I’m doing this because I’ve noticed that I tend to focus better if I’m accountable, and I think that even though this is something I’m doing on my own, knowing I must post here will help me become more disciplined with my writing. the main reason why I’m including mention of other things is because I want to show, in a loose fashion, what other things I have as goals. But, really, any appointments I have, my volunteer shift, and my writing are my priorities.

A Few Odds and Ends

I’m still struggling with depression and the lack of desire to write, but my overall mood is better. Instead of being depressed periodically throughout the day, the past few days the depression has faded for good once I’ve gotten out of bed. Really, getting out of bed is the hardest part of the day for me, and it’s even more difficult in the winter. I think getting plenty of sleep is important, and I tend to need a lot of sleep, especially in the winter, when my sleep tends to be more akin to hibernation than simply sleeping. In point of fact, I went to bed at six last night, was asleep by seven, and after two or three brief periods of wakefulness that ended by ten, slept through until just after four this morning. I managed to doze for about another 45 mins or so, then laid awake (with my eyes closed) until about 05:40, when I finally got up. It’s only when I get this much sleep that I find it easy to rise.

The past few days since my last post have been pretty good for the most part. Of course, it’s difficult for me to say a day has been bad, because I can usually find something good in every day, and that tends to leaven any ill feelings I could have had about it. I think Sunday was the best of the past few days, though. I got to spend a lot of money on “frivolous” items.

What were those items? They were books and stuff related to Dungeons and Dragons gaming. For me, spending anything over $100.00 is “a lot” and I spent around $117.00 on this stuff. Only about $48.00 came out of pocket, thanks to gift cards from Mom and my sister, Erin. I’m still having mixed feelings about DMing, but am also still more excited over the idea. It’s going to be a fun challenge to come up with stuff for my players to do. According to the Goodreads site, I’m 68% through the Player’s Handbook, which I’ve continued taking to Oasis Games to read.

I’ve also been working on setting up a Bullet Journal for next year. The link will show you the basics if you’re interested. For myself, I’ve got some different things I like adding, such as monthly budgets and weekly goals lists, but the system is flexible enough to permit such things. I’m hoping that with my new schedule, this will help me have a more structured, and thus more productive, lifestyle. Of course, none of this is written in stone—if I get an opportunity to hang out with a friend or something, I’ll go do that, but I’ll also try to be productive when I do so. The main challenge to making progress on the setup of my bullet journal has been Hendrix’s periodic visits to my desk. If I have writing utensils laying about, he’ll try to play with them, and if the journal’s open on my desk, he’ll try playing with its wire binding or eating the pages. LOL

One of the things I’m planning on changing this year is somehow acknowledging holidays and birthdays for my family. I don’t really keep mementos such as cards people send to me, so I don’t really “get” keeping such things. However, I do understand that people do keep such things as mementos, so I’m going to try to conform a little bit and send holiday and birthday cards to at least my sister and her family and my mother. To my surprise, I’m actually looking forward to doing this.

It’s going on 06:30, and I’m hungry, so signing off for now. I may write another post before New Year’s, but am making no promises.

Remiss

I have been horribly remiss in keeping up with posts, and I apologize. There will be no promises that I will do so from now on; I’m not going to promise something that may not happen. Suffice it to say that the rough period that I’m dealing with right now isn’t over.

This rough period began back in October. I’ll be honest here and admit I struggled through November. Even though I did participate in Nano, and I did find the writing somewhat easier than I expected, it was a chore to write each day, and I experienced several days throughout the month when I didn’t write at all. About a week or so toward the end of the month, I threw in the towel. In part because I’m near the end of the wip I was working on for November, which always is a struggle to write, because I don’t want the story to end, even if there’s a sequel. The rest was just emotional exhaustion. To be vulgar, I simply had no fucks to give by that point. Since it had been such a struggle to write on fiction, it was even more difficult to keep up with blog posts, which takes more out of me, even if my post is relatively short.

December has been no different. I’ve written a little, but nowhere near as much as I wanted. I was hoping my creative mind would “switch on” sometime around the 15th, but that didn’t happen. And, to be honest, I don’t really care. I still don’t have any fucks to give about writing. To be honest, this blog post is the most I’ve cared about any writing all month.

Instead of writing, I’ve been doing other things. I spent most of the month making my mom’s Christmas gift—a bunch of wash cloths—in crochet sessions with a new friend whom I helped teach how to crochet. The Pride Center is officially closed, aside from a therapy office in another building they’re renting the space from while their new building is being renovated, and the games store that bought the old building has opened up in the ground floor. Katie went in to check things out and as a result, I joined her and her husband for a D&D demo game DMed by one of the store’s employees. Oasis Games sells board games and a variety of role games and things like miniatures that go to the role games. They’ve installed a cafe and also sell other items related to games and gaming, including Funko Pop figures, dice, and Magic: The Gathering cards.

That visit to Oasis Games with Katie has inspired a new interest in D&D. I purchased a Player’s Handbook with part of the money from a gift card my sister sent me for my birthday. That demo game kicked ideas into my head—ideas I need to be a Dungeon Master in order to execute, so I’ve brought up a suggestion to my Vampires gaming friends that I DM D&D for them, and they’re tentatively enthusiastic about the offer. I just need to get the Dungeon Master’s Guide and the Monster Manual. In the meantime, I’ve been reading the Player’s Handbook from cover to cover, usually in reading sessions with the bottomless cup of tea Oasis Games offers. I’ve got some notes, a number of prize items, and I need to draw up a map for the first quest my gaming friends are going to take their characters through. To be honest, I have mixed feelings about DMing, but most of them are positive, and I’m feeling excited to do it. Even just a year ago, this is something I wouldn’t have considered doing.

Another thing I’m trying to do is schedule my days. Thinking it would be quite easy to switch my sleeping habits around, I originally scheduled myself a rising time of six in the morning. Mornings like this are flukes for the most part—though I did put myself to bed last night, I didn’t actually sleep all that much; overactive mind. So, in paying attention to my natural sleep habits, I decided to rework my schedule for a ten AM rise. Much as I like being up early in the morning, it just doesn’t happen with any regularity, and the fact is, I tend to get to sleep more quickly if I go to bed later, so even on nights when I got to bed around ten PM, I was still getting up at around ten the next morning because I simply didn’t fall asleep until one or two AM. I don’t understand it either; this is just the way my mind works with regards to sleep, and I’ve decided I’ve got to learn to live with it because trying to twist it around into something it wasn’t and couldn’t be was only stressing me out.

I’m glad about a few things, though. The D&D thing, for one. And I’m crocheting more. It’s been nice to wield a hook again, and I’ve even made a bit of progress on my monster bedspread afghan. Currently, my “portable” project is an afghan that’s been languishing to be finished that I’m going to give to a friend in return to all the kindness and patience they’ve bestowed upon me. I’m looking forward to giving it to them and am sure they’ll appreciate it.

So I’m dealing with my lack of interest in writing in constructive ways that are taking me out of the house more frequently, which is another reason why I’m not upset about not caring about writing. And I think all these things are signs of an improvement in my mental health state, which I’m sure everyone will agree is a good thing. The rough period may not be over, but at least I’m dealing with it in healthy ways—another improvement in my mental health state. And, to be honest, I’d rather have that improvement than a regular writing habit, mainly because I can teach myself to have the latter, but the good mental health status comes only with time, the correct medication regimen, and a lot of effort in therapy.

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