Earlier this week, a friend of mine sent me a picture with a character card on it for a role playing game that they had recently purchased with my last name on it. On such grounds I was invited to spend the evening with her family, and I found out afterward that other people were invited. So, after services today I followed the husband of the friend who invited me, who happened to have been the songleader today, and while we waited for the rest of the guests to arrive I managed to play a few games with their adorable and friendly three year old daughter, with whom I helped put together a puzzle , played princess memory match, played a game that involved plastic frogs that were supposed to jump into a lid, and then watched as she played with various princess figurines on a flat picture of a castle and some grounds outside of it. Perhaps suitably given the context, the girl seemed to be most interested in those who were willing to play the games that she enjoyed. Given the immense difficulty that some people present in being able to get to know or deal with, it is refreshing when people are more straightforward and easy to understand.
Once everyone had arrived, a task which took until shortly after 6:30PM, after which the apartment complex where my friends lived had closed its gates, requiring those who arrived last among our our adventuring party  to call the hosts to be allowed into the apartment complex, we ate dinner, which involved a large amount of starches, and enjoyed various drinks. Being someone who does not drink much in the way of alcohol, I brought some sweet tea for myself, since that is one of my more notable vices. Most everyone else brought various kinds of liquor, including some beer brands, a fairly plain recipe of mead, and some whisky. The result was a tasty and pleasant meal among people who, except for the two small daughters of my hosts, were all over 21, and among whom the vast majority were men. As a result, we had a particularly geeky adventuring party that was quite amenable to the sort of role playing game experience that we were able to enjoy for four hours after sunset, given that we were in a scenario that was to last only six turns but ended up taking a substantial length of time to go through those turns.
As is common, the length of the initial portions was somewhat substantial because of the need to make so many choices about character and understand the picture-based content of the cards. For example, once we had chosen which of the people to play in our party of five, we then had to choose which specialty within their class to play as. I chose for my paladin Averic Albright to be a “disciple,” as I thought that was fairly true to life and imagined my character as a noble do-gooder, left-handed with a fondness for clubbing evildoers over the head with a mace, but devoted far more to healing than to mere brutality. Other people chose their own characters, and the feats of the characters we chose were of particular importance in allowing us to get a very narrow victory on the last possible turn. Our quest was to deal with goblins and spiders while finding a key and taking it to the exit within 6 turns. As it was, we needed every single one of those movements and almost all of the feats in order to perform the task effectively, finishing the game on what amounted to the role-playing game equivalent of a lateral of a found key from the fairly slow-footed paladin I was playing to the speedy ranger played by one of my compatriots. The result was both exciting and successful.
What it led to, quite predictably as far as I am concerned, is a desire for more such evenings to play in this company, for my offer to do some sort of effort, in this case being the DM of the next round, and to some reading on my part in order to do the task. I advised my fellows to do at least some of their character creation ahead of time as it would make for smoother gameplay. After all, the sort of characters we choose in games tells us a lot about the sort of people who we are, at least in our own conception, or some of the people who we might think it fun to play at becoming. While it was a bit disappointing that there was only one lady there, it was good company nonetheless and it is possible that at least one of the people there organizing the event may have intentionally want to have seen some of us enjoy an evening of geeked-out fun fun somewhat skewed gender ratios of fun in an other direction to our usual socializing. At least from my perspective, the evening was a success, and even if I have a few books to read (and possibly review) there is much to say for that as well.
 See, for example:
 See, for example: