Friday, January 26, 2007

Ode to a Gamer Friend

In 1999, I started playing D&D with some guys that I met at school.

Over 7 years later, some of us still play together.

Sure, the group of players has changed. One of the guys has dropped in and out of the group as schooling allows. Some drop by for one week stints whenever they're in town.

I miss those folks that I don't get to play with regularly anymore. But there are four of us that have been there almost every week for seven years running. That's pretty amazing.

For the past few months, we've been playing Shadowrun on Thursday nights. We've got a few additions to the table for this game, including some of the friends I met playing WoW, but that core group was still together.

Until last night. One of the players informed me after the game was over that he needed to spend more time with his family. Obviously it's a decision I respect and understand completely.

We've all seen a lot of changes in seven years: new jobs, kids for some, engagements for others. We've been through a lot of strange and wacky times together. I lived with this fellow in particular for 3 non-sequential years, in 3 different places.

But throughout all those moves, all those triumphs, and yes, sometimes arguments... I could always count on seeing him every week, like clockwork.

Already we don't see enough of each other anymore. Our lives have taken us in different places... good places, mind you, but different. There will be opportunities to hang out, even if they are reducing in frequency.

But it still feels strange, and a little sad, knowing that next week, such a constant in my life is going to be missing.

So here's to the paladin that took up the sword of prophecy, only to destroy it to save a nation.

Here's to the rat bastard thief in his snake skin hat.

Here's to the feared and misunderstood warlock who surprised everyone by sacrificing himself to save a girl he barely knew.

Here's to all the characters that you made me and everybody else you played with love.

Here's to one of my best friends.

Here's to you, Gary. There will always be a chair and some dice for you at the table.


Craig said...

Having gamed with this group, this motley troupe of rabble, is probably the biggest influence on my current favored style of play -- namely, as Dave has put it in the past, improvisational theater with dice. Gary's style of roleplaying clearly grew out of his musical theater background, and the depth to which he got immersed in his character was what made those games in the Conshie basement quite literally the stuff of legend. Gary must come to CraigCon this year; his seat has been empty ever since his triumphant victory-tie at the 1st Annual Battle Royal(e).

LastBestAngryMan said...

I would add one further character to those you toasted, Yeager;

Here's to the man-child gladiator with the thirst for a just vengeance that made him a hero and cost him his life.

Even though I've been in and out of the group I can't help but feel the loss. It was always a pleasure playing with you, Gary, and even when we were yelling at each other, a privelege.

Andrew said...

I am one of the four Yeager talked about as the core group. I've known Gary forever and through all the great times and crappy times, it's been great.

Gary said...

How can I respond to any of this? Roleplaying is something you can't do by yourself. I've been nothing more than one player in an array of amazing plotlines. What would the warlock have been without the priest of unrivaled goodness always reminding him of the right path? or the outspoken halfling ready to lash out at him at any moment? Who would the Paladin have been without the misguided young rogue to set an example for and a disfigured priest to raise him every time he got cut down? The rogue in the snakeskin hat would never have stood a chance without a veritable army of characters around him. Finally, Mr.Yeager, that man-child gladiator might never have been so driven to prove himself without the skepticism of a young elven druid who looked down on him as a half-breed abberation.

Gentlemen, it has been a pleasure over all of these years and it has been valuable to me in ways that very few would ever understand. Rest assured, those characters will live forever with me. Along with those that surrounded them and made them what they were...Made me what I am. Thank you, truly, from the bottom of my heart.

Josh said...

The Internet is really kind of amazing, isn't it. I haven't seen any of you guys in at least 8 months. Some of you I haven't seen in far longer. Then last week Gary mentioned the brouhaha that Andy's WoW post on Yeager's blog caused, and I decided to google it... and found this entry about Gary. It's intended to be for the public, but it surely feels personal to me.

I have to agree that those were great times, at least the ones I was there for. I was just thinking--in a fit of nostalgia the other day--that Dahja's end was perhaps the best campaign ending ever. And I was only there for part of the campaign!

Good times.

Dan Cross said...

Though a different group, I felt that way about you, Mr. Kerfuffle. Here's to Marcellen, and to Zug Zug!