I was finally able to make it out to Mox to throw down some Infinity this Friday―only to find out from staff that my group has moved to a biweekly meetup. Since I made the drive, I figured I may as well stick around for dinner. Quite a busy Friday, I had drop my name into NoWait to get a table. I was working on my Chromebook here when a couple asked if they could join my lobby table.
“Sure,” I said, “I’m just waiting for a dinner table.”
“We are too,” said the husband.
It being a tremendously busy night, and wanting to be polite, I offered to merge their name down into mine, so that they could get a table sooner, and they cordially agreed. But I didn’t realize they were the one granting a favor.
We struck up a conversation about games, gamers, tabletops, and RPGs, as the game they brought to play lay unplayed in the middle of our table. Casual conversation soon became endangered in a descent to fanboyism, as Tobias Drewery, the husband, turned out to be the founder of Mesa Mundi, and his wife, Dr. Rebecca Kinraide, was a writer of probably the most inventive and accessible RPG in the world
If you haven’t heard of Dread, or enjoy roleplaying games, Dread is a game requiring no dice, math, charts, or AC calculations. The game is played and told as a horror story, with all but the storyteller trying to survive―and the game mechanic that is used to determine who succeeds, and who dies, is just this:
Each time a player desires to perform a difficult or dangerous action, a pull from the Jenga tower is required. Any player who causes the tower to fall for any reason is expelled from the game―narrative speaking, usually being killed.
Dread is the first and only RPG I have ever succeeded in getting my conservative family to agree to play. The game is still only in its promissory state, but when it does come to fruition, I’d be happy to tell the tale. In the meantime, if you’d like to hear about a game, Geek & Sundry has a pretty good showcase of Dread.
Rebecca had a lot of interesting insights about how and why the game was made: the tension of hope and dread, a kinetic component that made players feel apprehension as their characters did, the clean “interface”, as it were, the sharing value of the game, and other deliberate intentions. But I’d like to turn the conversation here, as it had when I spoke with Tobias and Rebecca about a massive project I’ve been working on for the past year.
I expected another realistic-life-lessons lecture about what is and isn’t possible in this industry. Yet not that, I was positively floored by their encouragement.
If you’re a nerd, like me, you probably deal with repetitive, oppressive, cyclical cynicism about your own timidity and failings. Meeting Tobias and Rebecca felt to be a tremendous fortune, but it also surprised me at how sincerely amicable these two were, these two who could have just as easily been one-uppy and competitive and dismissive.
I’m not a particularly good cartoonist. I’m not a great writer. I’m not even a particularly great Infinity player. I had no idea what would happen when I made my first hella-casual post on this blog, and I still don’t know what will happen. And I’m floored every time WordPress tells me I’m getting visitors from the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Poland, Australia, Russia, Singapore, Korea, China, everywhere.
If you have a work-in-progress of a story, or game, or comic, or movie, or anything that you’ve been putting on hold because you know it’ll fail―don’t. Work for it, hope for it, worry about it; just don’t despair, it’s the worst thing you can let happen to your dream. You can’t possibly know what fails until you finish it.
You literally have no idea what will happen. I was bummed out about missing Infinity, but got something way better for my time.
I’m out this weekend to go clean out my grandparent’s horde, as they have both taken some tragic turns in their old age.
But I did find my cartooning template this morning, so I should be posting some new Triad & True soon.