I believe that nothing is more fun than a group of friends joining together for a through round of goblin smashing. When my friends and I meet every Saturday to play what many people in our generation would call the “outdated” game of Dungeons and Dragons, we lose all of our social inhibitions as we assume the roles of the characters we have all created. This ability to “pretend,” as others would call it, with each other unifies us as a group better than anything else could. When my friend Drew, playing Peter the Bastard of Korvosa as his character, screams at the top of his lungs, cursing the “stupid half breed,” as Peter would call the half-elf he is locked in combat with for not fighting honorably, we all know that whatever anyone else thinks, we all have something we do together, that defines us as a group.
And yes, goblin-smashing has further reaching implications than just our small group of six guys gathering every Saturday. We usually meet at 5 o’clock at the local comic and gaming store, Comic Quest, which has a gaming room in the back. Two other traditional role-playing gaming groups meet there at five as well. All of us are able to exist together as one big happy, gaming family due to our mutual experiences in-game. Everyone has fallen victim to the traps in The Temple of Elemental Evil, usually two or three times. All of us have lost many a character to the whims of a fickle game master. And everyone can get a laugh of the story of when the game master looked at the wrong page in his book, and instead of fighting a group of orcs, the party ended up fighting a group of super orcs with tentacles and four eyes.
Goblin-smashing reaches even further than the group of twenty or so guys who see each other every Saturday. Every August the entire traditional gaming community gets together in Indianapolis for GenCon. People come from as far away as New York and Seattle to meet and play in organized events. At GenCon, anyone can have conversation with anyone. Everyone has an opinion on which new game is the best to purchase, or which old game still has the largest appeal. I believe that nothing brings a community, whether small or large, together like a group of mutual experiences.
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