I belong to a Dungeons and Dragons group.
Years ago, this would be something that people would just not admit to other people. It would be something that they would keep quiet because there was this stigma associated with it that they person was not living in reality, or was exceptionally nerdy. People would stop associating with others who played this game would gather in the woods to roll dice, conduct Satanic rituals, and throw play fireballs at each other. The people who played this game were thought of as not having one foot in reality.
In recent years with the arrival of the newest edition, 5e, and the inclusion of the game in shows like Stranger Things, the bad image associated around this game has dissipated a little bit, and people don’t look at you as weirdly when you tell them that you like to play this game. They still think of you as a nerd, but all of the throwing fake fireballs, and committing acts humanity are no longer associated with it. I can handle being called a nerd, and I admit to playing the game more easily now. In fact, I enjoy the game so much that I will spend time talking about it with people who show even the slightest interest in it.
The reason for this enjoyment is partly because of the group that I am playing with at this time. They are a great group of people who know each others’ strengths and how to use those to create a single story that builds in intensity and hilarity. The current campaign I am playing is definitely episodic, and has a lose story arc with it, but some of the most epic moments I have ever experienced in a story has come from it, and a lot of it comes from us playing together. Leaving this group behind is going to be one of the hardest things I am going to have to do when I move to Jordan next year, and I hope I am going to be able to find another group of people to play with next year. It has become something that I have looked forward to doing no matter where I live in the world.
With that being said, the group is breaking up. Being in international teaching, people moving on to new locations is something that I have become accustomed to seeing every year, and after a year of being locked up, there are a lot of international school teachers looking for a change of scenery this year. Four out of the group of six is doing this. One of those rare moments in life where you find that perfect connection with group is falling apart. In order to hold on to that magic for just a little longer, we decided to have a getaway weekend where we found a big AirB+B with a large table so we could do a marathon session. We would call it NerdFest 2021 and we would go down to Pattaya and play a bunch of games.
People who are aware of the culture of Pattaya would think that we had gone down there to do other things, but in all honesty, we went to play games, and enjoy each others’ company. It was the perfect way to say goodbye to this group. Yes, we would get together at another time later on before we made the final move, but this would be the special session that we could take with us to our new locations. It marked the beginning of the end of this final campaign for this group, and it had a bittersweet feeling to it. It was fun to get together to laugh and enjoy the story we have created together, but at the same time we knew that it was coming to a close.
But I guess that is what happens with all great things. They can only occupy a small place in time and space, and then they need to move on. It is just the random luck of this world that we were all able to come together to create this moment. I will be sad when it finally ends, but while it still goes on, I want to hold on to it and experience it as much as I can, so when it finally does have to come to a close, I have created the best memories I could. That was what this weekend was about, letting the story be told in its fullest, and I am glad that I got to experience it.