Wednesday, January 24, 2007

So, this past weekend I was formally inducted into the Official Nerd club. I have a lot of nerdy/geeky tendencies anyway – I read a lot, I don’t watch TV, I’m about five years behind on most pop music, and I hate most sports. I’m an undercover nerd - sex bomb on the outside, geeky introvert on the inside. And I’m okay with that.

But last Saturday I participated for the first time in a rite of social passage for the deeply unhip, and that is: a role playing game. Now, I can already hear the protests – how dare I call RPG nerdy? It’s kewl. People, no. It’s fun. But it’s pretty seriously nerdy/geeky. It’s nerdier than being in the band in high school. (Which I wasn’t, although I dated guys in the band, so there you go.) It’s nerdier than being in the Science and Math club in college. (I wasn’t in that, either, although I cracked up every time they announced the next meeting of the S&M club in the dining hall.) And it’s nerdier than not knowing a damn thing about Runway. (Which I don’t. Except that I think Seal’s wife is on it. Since Seal had a lot of big hits in the nineties, I know who he is.)

Not surprisingly, many of my kinky pals are also pretty geeky/nerdy. (There is a definite overlap between certain social subcultures. For example, take these groups: BDSM people, pagans, Ren Faire people, Goths, poly people, and science fiction/fantasy fans. These social groups interlock like the Olympic rings – if you actively participate in any one of them, you definitely know people in some of the others. And chances are good you actually belong to more than one group. Why is this true? That I can’t say, although it’s amusing to speculate about after a drink or two.)

I knew that my pal Griffin was a gamer and that he has, in fact, designed and published his own game. And when Griffin found out I’d never done RPG, well, that just wouldn’t do. So he and his lovely partner Liss organized a dinner and game-playing night, designed to introduce little old me into the joys of RPG.

We played Vampire: The Requiem, because while I’ve read some Tolkien, I’m not really into the classic D&D characters and storylines. So we did the vampire-themed game, which I’m told is a favorite of teenage Goths everywhere. I wore extra black eyeliner for the occasion.

It was lots of fun. Griffin is a good game-master, and Galahad and Monk are experienced gamers who are highly amusing to watch. I was slightly self-conscious about being the only new person, and I was just kinda feeling my way along, trying to learn the rhythm of the thing. But the boys both threw themselves into character and totally went with the story. Tambo, Nerdygirl, and Alex also played, and they were quite good, too. (It entertains me no end that Monk’s sweet, soft-spoken wife Tambo likes to play feral, violent characters whose solution to any problem is to kill something.)

And while wouldn't want to do it every weekend, I can see why people dig this. It’s a fun way to interact with your friends, and it’s a creative, active thing - sort of like group story-telling, where everyone takes a turn making up the action.

So just in case you thought I spent every weekend beating my slaves - imagine me instead laughing with my friends around a dining-room table as I roll the dice to see if I can shove a stake through the heart of another vampire. Oooo, kinky.

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