Ashe Elton Parker

A Writer of LGBTQ+ Characters in Speculative Fiction

Tag: Dungeons & Dragons

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.

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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