Wednesday, August 31, 2016

An Open Letter To Our DM or "What The F*** Am I Keeping This Damn Map For??"

I should have just done this from the start, honestly. Left "Mister A" out of it. Because I'm the one having the issue, not him. I'm a big girl. I can speak for myself (and this is apparently how we do things).

Look, I'm still new at this whole thing. When I started D&D, it was out of curiosity. I wanted to see if this was something I enjoyed doing. I also wanted to know what the fuss was about. So far, I have enjoyed myself. I love character creation. I love coming up with backstories for these characters and seeing how they work within the bigger world the group is creating. In fact, if I felt inclined to do so and made the time for it, I could probably come up with short stories for all my characters. I love the lore. The system is beautiful in its complex simplicity. I don't fully understand it all, but I feel like I'm getting there. Enough that I felt okay with volunteering to DM the library group when over twenty people started coming.

It's something new and exciting for me to learn. That's what I love the most.

Last week, you and I conversed via text message over several things we were doing in our Tuesday D&D group. You encouraged me to speak up more - that you thought I had good ideas that simply weren't being heard for one reason or another. I admit - I have a hard time speaking up in the group when I don't feel like I have enough information. But I decided to buck up and give it a try. Be more than just the utility healer player that mops everybody up after an encounter. Try to lead. Try to be a stronger presence in the group. Have a say in what's going on.

Last night, I followed your advice. I tried to get more in with the group and participate and be more of a leader. Maybe you didn't notice, but my voice was drowned out by EVERYBODY - not just our so-called "leader" of the group. I tried to move the story forward - get to our ultimate goal. All everyone else wanted was to send a glorified care package to a PC who'd been cursed before being captured and was slowly going nuts.

"Fine," I said as my Cleric. "Let me go in and heal the guy. He can stay a prisoner if our enemies won't let him go, but let me go remove his curse so he isn't trying to harm himself in his cell. Isn't there some kind of Geneva Convention in this place?"

I should have known better. Our enemies aren't that benevolent. Even if there were such a thing, they wouldn't follow it.

Why am I even here, again?

And then there's that idiotic map. After being berated for putting "North" where I did, then I find out that the dungeon's been transformed into an MC Escher painting. Meaning, the rooms and corridors I drew out before are not where they were anymore and there are new ones where they shouldn't be and I don't know my head from my backside anymore.

I may as well use the map for toilet paper for all the good it's doing us. So, thanks for that.

Months ago - MONTHS - my Cleric was given a laundry list of ginormous, world-changing tasks to complete and very little detail of how to go about completing them. So, yes, please forgive me for looking to other, more experienced players on how to do this. Players who also don't seem to have any more of a clue than I do. And no substantial clues or directions seem to be forthcoming. Only half-hints and Sendings that create more questions than they do answers.

At some point, the questions become too much. We have nothing of value to go on. No clue or indication of what comes next. Am I supposed to divine the solution out of thin air? Mind-read the DM? Magically know what's going on in that D&D mega-expert head of yours? Because that's not happening anytime soon. At this point, it might be better to let the vampires and liches and snake people take over the world. Everybody dies. You lose, but thanks for playing. Have a consolation toaster.

Spinning wheels, grinding gears, sitting around picking our noses - choose your favorite metaphor. That's what we've been doing. The story has gone precisely NOWHERE. Don't know about you, but when I'm reading a book where the plot goes nowhere for pages and chapters and whole installments of a series, I stop reading and find something else to do.

There are two reasons to quit playing a game, in my mind -

- One is when you have completed every main quest, side quest, mini game, bonus level, and random errand from NPCs and there's nothing left for you to do.

- Two is when the game is so frustratingly hard and impossible to finish that you just give up (with or without flipping the table on your way out - I felt like it would be bad form if I did that as I left. I worked too hard on that Sorceress mini to risk her getting lost or broken).

Guess which one I'm feeling right now.

I don't want to leave. I don't want to quit. I've made valued friends (including you) and I look forward to our sessions each week. But as wise Doctor Who companion once said -

"If you stop enjoying it, give it up... It's stopped being fun, Doctor!"

I haven't gotten to the point where Tegan was when she left the TARDIS. But I'm getting pretty damn close.