Saturday, April 21, 2018

Better to Create than to Destroy

When I got to my friend's house this afternoon, I was all set to play a Barbarian. Well, "Slayer," technically. My friend had bought a few few books that described how a D&D group could have an adventure the the world of Middle-Earth, and this new system renamed and revised all of the classes a player could play in this version of D&D, including the Barbarian, which they renamed "Slayer."

Either name would have fit. I had given my character a miserable backstory, gave him all the reason in the world to be angry at the world, and prepared to unleash some of my stress and irritation on the world of Middle-Earth. This can be therapeutic. Many people have found it helpful to let out some of their negative emotions by punching punching bags or performing similar violent-yet-harmless acts. My Barbarian/Slayer was going to be violent, and since it was only a game, it was going to be harmless.

But that's not what happened. My friend had not yet completed his own or his sister's characters, and he hadn't planned an adventure. So, while he worked on their characters, I volunteered to create an adventure for us. I already had an idea, so all I had to do was try to fit that adventure into the new system. The new system, as it turned out, is pretty easy to use. I was able to read the rules and run them without much trouble. Thankfully, my friend and his sister were patient with me and kept their characters busy interacting with each other while I tried to figure out which part of the rulebook I was supposed to read next. In the end, the adventure wasn't quite what I had envisioned, but everyone had a great time.

And there was hardly any violence. The party was chased by wolves at one point, and we held the villain at spear-point for a while, but no attack rolls were ever made and no weapons were ever used except for threatening the villain and destroying a rune. My Barbarian never raged and he never killed anything (except in his backstory).

He didn't need to. Neither in the game world nor in the real world was there ever a need for things to get violent to make me feel better. Turns out, hanging out with a few friends and creating a semi-epic story together was enough to do the trick. I feel a lot better now than I did previously, and I didn't have to "let my anger out" to get to this point. Harmless destruction can be therapeutic, but having a good time with friends can be even more so.

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