Dungeons and Dragons. That’s been today’s distraction. I’m now winding down, running a bath and listening to John Coltrane. Earlier today I was visited by a motley bunch of adventurers. There was a speedy psychotic gnome ranger, the conflicted elven hero cleric of a terrible sea God, a strange beautiful man who entered into a pact with Asmodeus and a swift and extremely dangerous leatherworking dwarf turned thief.

I’m the dungeon master. This isn’t a sex thing. My job is essentially to facilitate a group of people telling a story together by deciding on a number of concrete elements to the story and then allowing their imaginations to take them through it. They can try to do whatever they want and I have to apply the odds and chance in the form of a wide selection of beautiful dice. The 20 sided one gets the most use, but there are 12 sided ones, and 10 and 8 and 4. It all provides a frame for a communal storytelling which is really rather delightful and where control is given over to the dice.

I used to do it at school, and had a brief return to it about two years ago. It’s a lovely way to spend an afternoon, but the downside is that it takes a lot of time and it only really works if the same group of people can meet up every time, to pick up where they left off. Everybody has to be available. As soon as one or two people are missing it starts to feel splintered. With my life being so unpredictable, and considering most of the players are in the same line of work as me, I can’t imagine we’ll have much time to develop a campaign before availability issues start to drive the wedge in. But today was delightful. And we are committed to picking up where we left off on Monday. Let’s see what becomes of this.

It was at my flat which is lovely as it means that I don’t have to travel home now. I’m still getting bothered by my shoulder. It is unlike anything I’ve encountered before. But it didn’t stop me having a glorious day of imagination and silliness with friends.

It hasn’t quite sunk in that the run of theatre work has finally come to an end. Thankfully I’ve got some filming lined up, but that was a heck of a run and one that I’m extremely grateful for. It’s a good time for recovery now, but this city keeps on grinding and I can’t spend too long playing Dungeons and Dragons or I’ll run out of rations and have to roll to see if I’m any good at foraging.

I forced a mini oven pizza down my gullet tonight after everybody had gone, mostly as a bedrock for the ibuprofen that I’m currently overusing. Once I’ve soaked for as long as I can justify, I’m going to aim for a good night’s sleep. It’s already later than I thought it was…

Here’s a sketch from one of the players. He nicked a crap crown from the bugbear king. Gotta love this game.


Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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