Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Return of Dungeons and Dragons

STATUS: Spring Fever

What's playing on Pandora? MIDNIGHT CITY by M83

I am a Dungeon Master.

The hilarious thing is that I thought those days were forever behind me; last time I ran a campaign I was sixteen years old down in Tarpon Springs with Mike, Mike and Jason, forfeiting entire weekends on a regular basis (when we weren't dodging helicoptors).

I would devote entire weeks and months to a quest, (which is a lot for a teenager) drawing maps, going to the library to research medieval cities, drawing them, creating personalities for the weapons smiths and potion-sellers within them, researching the baddest weapons around, monsters and creatures--we were addicted.

And then I grew up. Discovered girls and... evolved. *evil chuckle* Not so much. I'll buy you a cup of coffee if you can guess what genre I write as a novelist?

So, a couple of months ago, my bro says to me, "Tell me about Dungeons and Dragons, you used to be a Dungeon Master, right?" A long dormant head peeked from the recesses of my mind.  "I was," I say to him.  "Tell me about it," he says, "what's it like, is it any fun?" 

My poor friend never had a chance, but what's funny is that I forgot how stupendous the allure of  D & D was.  Even as I began the process of explanation (I definitely need to perfect a succinct pitch for it) my passion won the day because not only did he want to play, but he recruited other players from the Sunnyside Crew, even two girls!  Dun dun dun dunnnnn... Could it be even possible to get two girls (one of which hated Lord of the Rings) to even last an hour in the mystical realms of THEIA, where magic rules in the stead of science?  Surely not! 

But in true Jester fashion, my best bro bought candles, Lego action figures and the soundtrack to Lord of the Rings to play in the back; we didn't even do this back in the day.  Aaaand, I'm all grown up now, I can drink a Yuengling or a glass of california Pinot Noir if I want!  Of course, I just end up drinking coke and crunching jalepeno kettle potato chips, but I could if I wanted.

Long story short, they got SUCKED in, in fact, as much as we guys love it, the girls got into it even more, and that isn't an exaggeration.  I embellish nothing!  As for me, of course it was cool, even so many years later, but it was old hat to me, to them, it was like the first time they'd ever seen a television, and, although I was rusty, I am a novelist after all... I gave them a good adventure.

Fast forward.  Now, we have a club. A Facebook page and everything--S.A.D.D.E.N. Jesse and Helen went out and got lego horses and cloaks and weapons and this upcoming weekend, a "long session of Dungeons and Dragons" is the only birthday wish of Ishmael, the good-looking dwarf. Who knew that all these years later, I would be bonding and having fun and sharing the world which inhibits my mind with those I care about the most??  Looks like Dungeons and Dragons is back in the house.  And we even have a mascot... Domo-San the Corgi!

Sometimes not even the most dazzling graphics in a video game can substitute the mind's imagination.  Hoo-ya.  And it keeps the world-building part of my brain sharp. 
-Steve out

Friday, February 24, 2012

When is it Plagiarism?

STATUS: Calmly nail-biting

What's playing on the iPhone: LONELY BOY by the Black Keys

I hate cliches. 

The most insidious thing about them is that they will sneak up on you, pounce, and carve you into a steak before you even smell their breath. Terrible things, cliches. So, recently, I Googled 'cool metaphors' ('cause I needed to avoid a cliche) and came upon a slew of gems, delicious entries of high school students for a contest. The first thing I thought to myself was "mwa ha ha haI have to implement these into my repertoire," but then I thought... would that be plagiarism?

I didn't think of them, I may have given the time, or something equally as cool, but I didn't, and I desired them. If I'd come up with some cool metaphors and somebody starting using them instead of stupid-hack cliches, I'd be flattered. Of course that's just me.

Along the same lines, if you're at the coffee shop and some person at another table says some snappy come-back that you later incorporate into a bit of dialogue... is that plagiarism? I don't think so, writers are influenced from all sorts of things, but I don't know!

What say you?