Monday, June 05, 2006

Take Pictures

Take Pictures

So, I’m over at Treasure Tables again, and they’re talking about building a GM binder to keep track of all of your materials. And of course I think about the one I built for my college campaign. That game spanned half a decade and I have one friend who very much wants to play in it still. I bought that binder at the beginning of the campaign, and stuffed it full of odds and ends over the years. I page through it every now and then. So many good memories, sitting behind that binder at the old yellow table, crafting a world out of wishes and nightmares. I used it as a DM screen, propped up on its edge. It had everything I needed: scribbled notes and typed up calendars, hand-drawn maps, detailed pantheons, and adventures without keys or descriptions, drawn up a room or two ahead of the adventurers. I always linger on those. What was this room? What happened there? Why does this corridor go off by itself? Why is this part unfinished?

It annoys me, a little, that I can’t remember. How many cool ideas, sparked by heady improvisation, are gone? What neat little puzzles or engaging characters or bits of verse has been lost? How many recyclable ideas did I let slip through my fingers?

How much worse, then, the loss of friends. Most of us live where our boss tells us to live. Some of us are lucky enough to live where our dreams take us. I think about that old gaming group. Darn near every Saturday for, what was it? Five years? Six? I can’t remember now, the last time we were all together. There never was a big ceremony for us. We didn’t all graduate at the same time, and not all of us were students. We just… drifted away. The last time most of us were together was for my wedding. That was almost six years ago now. That black notebook sits on my gaming shelf and I pull it out, every now and then, and remember. I enjoy the memories, but they grow more hazy with the years. Details are lost. What color are his eyes? How did she wear her hair back then? Did we really dress like that?!?

Take pictures, folks. I don’t regret not buying the college year book, because we wouldn’t have been in it. But it hurts, just a little, that we don’t have pictures, all of us gathered around the table littered with pizza crusts and dice and character sheets. Digital cameras make it easy now, don’t they? Just a few quick snaps. Nothing formal. That’s not what you want to remember. You’ll want those candid pics, there at the table, to help you remember in the years to come just what it is that makes today so special, and why we “waste” so much time, playing these silly, wonderful games.

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