16 February 2007

Workplace D&D

If I worked for a company that produces games and gaming material, I suppose that gaming in the workplace would be a common event. After all, I'd be surrounded by like-minded folks who wouldn't automatically assume that Dungeons & Dragons involves black magic, sacrificing small mammals, and wearing black hooded cloaks that are liberally decorated with fiendish crimson pentacles.

Thanks, Jack Chick, for your inaccurate (albeit comical) depictions of my favorite hobby. Likewise, I'd like to send kudos to Focus on the Family and the 700 Club for propagating similar stories in the past. Granted, I haven't heard anything overtly negative about RPGs lately, but the damage was done and the modern myth of Satanists crawling around in sewer pipes is unlikely to die out anytime soon.

I'd also like to send a big "atta boy" to the people who have made sure that gamers are considered to be antisocial nerds and geeks. I'm talking about folks who have never gamed, yet insist on ridiculing the hobby based on some sort of schoolyard estimation of what is and isn't cool. I'm also talking about those gamers who, for whatever reason, fit the stereotype and/or play it to the hilt. Yes, there are nerdy/geeky gamers; but there are nerdy/geeky types in every portion of society, from politics and manufacturing to dirt biking and coin collecting.

Okay, so I'm ranting again. Let me explain why.

Talking to a co-worker a couple of weeks ago, gaming came up. I made an off-hand comment about starting a gaming group at work, and before I knew it I had three non-gamer co-workers who were interested in giving it a shot. I contacted Human Resources, and was given the go-ahead to proceed. Mostly, this included permission to use free company resources (meeting rooms) to host games during non-work hours. There are some restrictions, but they are (more or less) common sense rules that are applicabl1 100% of the time, anyway.

Long story short, we met up to generate D&D characters last week. The next day, each of the three players expressed interest in buying the 3.5 core rules. I helped them to get their hands on copies of the D&D Player's Kit (an awesome value), and last night we played our first game (which went well).

A three-player group is fine as wine, but when you get right down to it, a cleric, a rogue, and a sorcerer are only 3/4ths of the pie. I can run a game for such a group, but they really are missing someone in the role of a front-line fighter. Last night's game was doubly troubling, since the sorcerer couldn't make it due to work obligations.

As such, I've been attempting to recruit at least one more player, with little success. Mentioning D&D to people here gets one of three responses: either they've never heard of it, they think it's wierd, or they didn't realize that people "still play the game." Either way, the general concensus is, "It's not my cup of tea," or "I'm too busy." At least they've all been polite about it.

Friends of the rogue player, upon learning of her involvement in a Dungeons and Dragons group, have ridiculed her mercilessly. All manner of comical (not to mention insulting) stereotypes have been invoked. One of her friends wants to play, seemingly for the sole purpose of mocking us by sporting a wizard's hat and not brushing their teeth. Uhhh...no. Keep them away, I say.

I plan to post a blow-by-blow of last night's game at some point, along with my own observations of how first-time D&D players become acclimated to the game, the rules, and the social aspect of the hobby. After last night, I have at least two of them hooked. Time will tell how long this will last, but I'm hopeful that I've been successful in drawing some new blood into a pastime that has been nigh-obsessive for me since junior high school.

More later...


Hisham said...

It's strange for me to wrap my head around the fact that so-called "regular" Americans hold such a great past-time (which if done right with the right people involved increases social and problem-solving skills) in such low regards. And most gamers


Going of tangent here (but by not much, if you get my drift) have you seen Mike Judge's Idiocracy?

Not surprising it didn't get support and a wide release across the country by the powers that be.

Hisham said...

Sorry, the end of that last paragraph should have read: "And most gamers I've met across the globe are some of the most intelligent and pleasant people I've ever had the pleasure of meeting."

Alan said...

There are stereotypes across all types of people, unfortunately. People think that if you are a surfer, then you must smoke dope, slack off, and be unable to complete sentences composed of multisyllabic words.

If you enjoy playing sports, you are a rock headed jock. If you are good with computers, then you are a geek with a CRT tan. If you are a Christian, you are a fanatic idiot who refuses science. Etc.

It is easier to stereotype than it is to get to know someone, thus it will always be around I guess.

My approach? Don't sweat it, and only worry about the thoughts and opinions of those who truly know you and care about you.

You've found a group of people to game with, so at least you've got that!

Roland Steedlam said...

Why people need to label other people is beyond me. It's too bad society has such pointless prejudices.

I sure wish Violet and I lived in the area. We'd love to play! We miss you guys :). Is remote-role-playing technologically viable yet? Sheesh.

Anonymous said...

Well, you are labeling people who don't game, as non-gamers, and making generalizations about them, so why is it not ok for 'non-gamers' to make generalizations about you.

Personally, I say to each his own. But, for the record, every person I've ever met that played D&D, was strange and anti-social, but, then again, I've only met two people who actually play.