Monday, October 29, 2007

"This Is My Player's Handbook..."

"...I am what it says I am; I have what it says I have; I can do what it says I can do."

(For those whom this is too obscure a reference, look here. I don't blame you.)

For my Drawing 3 class, I was most recently asked to create a self-portrait, something which depicted a struggle or a dichotomy in my life. Since my teacher is a Fine Arts major, she asked me to accomplish this without using body imagery or an illustrative narrative, but rather to make it "experiential." (Never mind that she couldn't explain to me what this meant; that's a tale for another day) I came up with a dichotomy, but ended up getting flunked out of the class before I could accomplish it. What can I say? I'm a Comic Art major, not a Postmodern Abstract Artist.

The inward "split" that defines a lot of my person is that I've always straddled two social worlds: that of the Church, and that of gaming. There is no Scriptural or doctrinal reason that these two things should be in opposition; the arguments that are leveled against gaming revolve around either a misunderstanding of how roleplaying games actually work ("No, we don't actually cast spells or worship made-up deities, and the demons are in the book as enemies to fight"), or guilt-by-association, since many gamers are practicing neo-pagans, outspoken atheists, or socially-inept outcasts. Likewise, most people I've met in the gaming world are embittered against the Church for the treatment they experienced at the hands of paranoid preachers, apprehensive parents, and/or abusive schoolmates; and are driven away by Christians who are hidebound, hypocritical, or socially-inept outcasts.

And thus, I find a strange sort of fusion within myself. I wouldn't describe myself as socially-inept, but both Christians and gamers are outcasts. I think both groups would tend to consider themselves such, aberrants who don't "fit in" with mainstream society to some degree. While Christians may be perceived to be more influential in politics (and I'm not so sure we are), gamers and general geeks are perceived to be more influential in popular entertainment (again, I'm not so sure about this). I've listened to fellow gamers blast Christians for being "The Religious Right," while Christians write books about how gamers are "encouraging teens to embrace the occult through television shows and films." While there is a certain degree of truth to both statements, neither really present a wholly accurate image.

Yet both groups, when they're at their best, take in the dregs, the misfits, and the outcasts that the world has no admiration or use for, and show them love and acceptance for who they are.

So that's how I'm introducing myself here. I'm a Christian, and I'm a gamer. God help me.

Bear in mind that I will probably never be so serious here as this again. I created this blog because I use my other blog, mystery cycles, primarily to talk about my general life and communicate with my network of geographically-separated friends. Many of them don't get my geeky game references, and sometimes I just want to jot down the basics of some idea I've gotten into my head that have me excited this week, but that I'll probably never run for lack of time or interest. I have a large gaming library and a recurrent case of Gamer's ADD, bouncing from game to game as the whim strikes me. As such, I get these ideas. I've used very few of them - ever - and I like the idea that perhaps someone reading this blog will get a kick out of one, or get an idea spurred on, or will in any case grab it and run.

The Head of Vecna is my gaming idea repository. Feel free to use it, because I may never get to.

EDIT: I just realized that I'm not as original as I thought I was in naming this blog. "The Head of Vecna" was the title of a column on RPGnet by Dream Pod 9 author Hilary Doda. My subconscious mind probably remembered that and was still getting a kick out of the title reference. This blog has nothing to do with her, except in a tangential, gamery way. Sorry if there was any confusion.

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