I gave up gaming during the latter part of my admittedly extended college undergraduate career. Most of my high school friends had moved away or we’d fallen out, and I felt like the little gaming I still did was stealing away time and creativity from “proper” writing. I shelved my game books and concentrated on writing articles for my club’s journal and starting short stories and novels I never finished.
A couple of years out of college, my wife was accepted into a graduate program and we moved away from our hometown so she could attend it. Robin and I are perhaps too much alike, and one of the weaknesses we share is an occasionally crippling shyness. Friendless in a little college town with little to do, my wife asked me to run an RPG with her as the only player.
It was daunting, because I’d never run anything so intimate; it just seemed so weird, almost transgressive. It was frightening, because I knew – I just knew – that if I began walking down the RPG road again I would never get back to my abandoned prose and half-baked comic book scripts. But Robin needed that escape from the daily grind and so did I.
I was right. My creativity became dedicated solely to our duet games for the next decade and change.
I was wrong. Duet gaming turned out to be more natural, more fun than I could have imagined.
I began this blog with the thought of sharing what I’d learned from all of this duet gaming, but I abandoned that pretty early on. The simple fact of the matter is that the way Robin and I game together is way too intimate, way too personal for me to be able to extract any generalized advice that I can share with the world. Gaming together is an integral part of our marriage.
It isn’t perfect, of course. I get bored of settings much quicker than her. I like action scenes and rolling dice more than her. I don’t like getting as raw with the emotions as her. Sometimes I wish I could be the player.
At the same time, doing this with Robin has given me the chance to create dozens of worlds and stories that I never would have experienced without her. We’ve tried more rules systems than I would have ever looked at on my own. We’ve both shed real tears over games of make-believe. We’ve been fulfilled in ways we’d have never known if we had never started gaming together.
And, of course, it led to this blog… which led to Robin’s blog… which led to making a bunch of friends in the Texas wine industry… which led to me joining the Google+ gaming community… which led to me getting the confidence to really try to publish my work.
I owe all that to Robin asking me to game with her.
Thank you, my love.
Happy Valentine’s Day.