MY HOBBY IS COOL NOW
Life sure is wild. Growing up in the late 80s and into the 90s one of my biggest hobbies had to be Table Top Role Playing games. When my older brothers said it was time I could start playing with them at the age of 10 I was so stoked. Finally, I was in the cool club.
Cool club. Heh, joke was on me.
Playing Dungeons & Dragons, Vampire: The Masquerade, and Shadowrun made me anything but cool. In fact, all through the 7th grade I was a part of the oh so affectionately named “Nerd Herd.” We were constantly bullied and tossed aside for being the weird kids. While I certainly didn’t enjoy the name calling, I can say with pride it didn’t stop me from enjoying my friends and the stories we told back then.
Jump to my time right after High School, you could find me at Comic Universe every Saturday night. Come 8 P.M. the store would close off to everyone else and a dozen nerds would break off into different groups to begin their adventures. What a time. Rotating groups every six weeks we’d tell new stories, make new characters, and have a blast!
It was there I met six life long friends and kicked off a 10 year journey playing a single game. Something you don’t hear a lot of.
And all through that time it still wasn’t cool! We would get the odd side-eye when talking about our game at a restaurant. Trying to explain just WHY you couldn’t make date plans for Saturday night was a chore. Eventually we all compromised as we grew up of course. Every week became every other week which turned in to “whenever we can find the time to all meet!” All said though, I wouldn’t have changed a thing.
However, something weird happened a few years ago. A group of voice actors who played amongst themselves decided it’d be fun to stream their home game on Twitch. That little idea exploded into Critical Roll and is now one of the largest D&D Media groups in the world. It has spawned dozens and dozens of “Actual Plays” and now I see people from all walks of life jumping into the fun.
My hobby is cool now.
Let me tell you, I couldn’t be happier. I’m so pumped to see people finally understanding just why my friends and I would sit on the bus telling stories, describing how our characters reacted and acted. Now they can see for themselves how incredible an experience they can have with their imagination.
For me personally, it all culminated into being asked by my friends at D4 to be the dungeon master for a 4-part mini-series produced by RockPunch. That series was to help market Monte Cook Games relaunch of Ptolus (Toll-us), the very setting I’d spent the last 10 years playing in. What an amazing moment in my life. To see my hobby and love for this setting go from just something I did with friends for fun, to being a world-wide phenomenon.
My hobby is cool now.
I hope it stays cool forever.