I’ve always been a geek. Even before I knew what that meant I pretty much checked all the boxes. From the time I could read I would spend more time with books than with people. I would even take a book to school to read during recess instead of playing with my classmates. Once I got introduced to video games my social life was pretty much done for. The only interest I shared with my VERY few friends was video gaming so that was the only reason we would spend any time together.
Once we went separate ways after school this also ceased to exist. When I moved to a new town for work I quickly realized that I had little in common with my immediate surroundings and would withdraw from most social contact. This went so far that my family got worried about me turning into a shut-in – which probably was closer on the money than I’d like to admit. I didn’t mind leaving my place to take care of necessary chores but other than that I generally avoided human contact since more often than not I would find other people’s presences either annoying or extremely tiresome. All I needed was my computer and I would spend most of my time online. I would read web comics, watch TV shows and play TONS of role playing games, mostly in the fantasy genre and almost always single player.
You would think that being this geeky – especially with my interest in fantasy – sets me up almost perfectly for pen-and-paper playing, right? Well, you thought wrong. For the longest time of my life I would consider anyone who played things like Dungeons & Dragons as “weird”, even though this was in no way geekier than what I already was.
This thinking only changed when I saw a tweet by Marisha Ray about some weird show she was a part of on the Geek and Sundry Twitch channel. Being a fan of hers I decided to check it out, so one fateful day I searched the Geek and Sundry site for the show. That show was Critical Role. I don’t remember how long it took me to get up to date – it certainly wasn’t long – and it didn’t take me long to get up in the middle of the night so I could watch live.
I would quickly take the characters into my heart and laugh at their antics or – like today during the 40th episode – cry with the characters during emotional scenes. But at some point watching wasn’t enough anymore. It seems I had caught a bug so I started researching where I could play this game.
That brought me to roll20 and my first few sessions showed one thing quickly: Namely how AMAZING Matt Mercer is compared to other DMs. My first group imploded after differences of ideas in how the game should progress (a few of us wanted the game to progress naturally while the DM and others wanted us to reach certain “check points” every session) which wasn’t THAT big of a deal since the players were spread over several time zones making scheduling difficult. The second group had a better dynamic but at some point the DM just pulled out without so much as a warning and would not respond to any messages.
Luckily by that point I had dragged an old friend from university into the mix and he was interested in running a game which is now running for almost 20 sessions. Still it is online and somehow this was lacking. It took me a while to realize what I was missing: the direct interaction and feel of energy that you can only get if you’re actually sitting in the same room as the people you’re playing with.
I haven’t found a live group yet but I’m looking. This is something I would not have thought possible a year ago. I was a loner, well on my way of becoming a social outcast, avoiding human contact wherever possible. Now I reach out to people, I look for ways to meet new people in person (something I used to dread), and I generally have a more positive outlook on life.
All of this is because of that one day when I clicked on “Arrival at Kraghammer” and I truly cannot express how thankful I am for having found something that resonated so well with me and introduced me to an amazing community like the Critters.