After all these years...
by, 09-27-2009 at 01:37 AM (4005 Views)
It's been ages since I've actually played a roleplaying game. Oh, I suppose, I have joined in on a session or two in the past ten years, but I haven't been in an ongoing campaign as a player in a very long time, and frankly, I've reached a point of GM burnout.
I had been thinking for a while that I needed to take a break and play for while, so when the opportunity to join a game with Chris Sims from Wizards of the Coast popped up, I jumped on it. When he told me that his new campaign would be set in the world of Dark Sun, I was even more excited. If you've never had a chance to play in this setting which was first introduced in second edition AD&D, let me tell you that this takes a major departure from the typical fantasy setting. Life is harsh in Athas. The world's resources have been reduced to mostly vast expanses of desert and dotting this unforgiving landscape are solitary city-states. The adventure is more about staying alive than seeking treasure. It's this very nature that makes this the perfect setting for the new Points of Light paradigm that Wizards is trying to capture with fourth edition settings.
So, we met last night for our first session, which we spent rolling up our new characters, figuring out our various background stories, how we knew each other -- if we did, and getting a brief introduction to the world and environment we'd be thrust into when next we played. Chris put it all out on the table. Darksun is a world where just about everyone has suffered some sort of loss or tragedy, and our characters are to be no exception to that. Whatever sort of tragic character background you might find in another game, he encouraged us to take that and ratchet it up by a factor of ten.
My character, a dwarven shaman by the name of Malamac, has lost his entire clan, who were rounded up by the Templars (read bad guy police force) for resisting the Dragon King -- the biggest, baddest guy of the city-state of Tyr. Most were murdered, some were tortured for information and then later executed. My character was tormented and beaten and then eventually thrown into the gladiator pits of Tyr because my captors thought it would be amusing. Malamac only narrowly escaped with his life when Tyr was at last "freed." A dwarf without a clan, Malamac now seeks only retribution on any remaining Templars he can find who had anything to do with the slaughter of his people.
This sort of tale of woe is echoed in the history of all the characters at the table, and to be honest it is just this sort of gritty story that I really enjoy. Chris promises to twist the knife a bit and really complicate things next week ... I can't wait!