Featured artwork is Medieval Fair – The Wise Wizard by Ciao Monteir
Lords, ladies, lads, and lassies, I am Vinni the Troll and I am old.
I am on the cusp of my 50th birthday. As the milestone draws near I can’t help but think of what getting older will mean for me as a gamer.
I’ve been playing D&D for nearly 37 years, and board games longer than that. Since I was old enough to learn at my Mom’s side, she would learn the rules and then teach me by example. It is to her influence that I attribute my lifelong love of gaming.
In my 30s I would often ponder what tools an aging gamer would require. How old would I be when I stopped rolling dice? Will I find a retirement community that has a D&D club? How many stories will I have to share with my neighbors? How many will I have forgotten? How many will I repeat?
Unfortunately, I inherited my mom’s poor eyesight as well as her love of gaming. Through my 40s it has only gotten worse. I have many dice, and though I used to choose them based on their inherent beauty, I find that now the contrast between the print on the facets and the die itself is more of a deciding factor. I’ve even considered the blue tooth dice that send their results to a phone app, but their cost is quite prohibitive. It is only a matter of time before I cave and buy them though.
The era of online TTRPGs and tools provided is a boon to me as well. Browser pages and PDFs can be magnified with a few keystrokes. Gone are the commutes to a weekly game, lugging along a stack of books and snacks, only to face the return trip. I do miss meeting face to face, but Discord and Roll20 are extremely convenient. Over the course of the past couple of years, due to social distancing, I have made new friends around the world that I would not have had the pleasure of meeting if I had stuck with face-to-face gaming.
For that I am grateful.
With decades of experience behind the screen I have become an accomplished improvisational Game Master. With a few stat blocks and the vaguest of plot outlines, I can weave an entertaining tale for my players, and for myself. Not knowing what to expect has become one of the greatest thrills of running my Malhaven campaign.
Even though I miss the simpler days of just being a player, I relish my role as a DM. When a minor henchmen makes your players want to know more, or the wizard’s familiar becomes the object of envy, it fills my heart with such joy. I now see myself as a mentor as well. As I get older, new blood rises to fill the lower ranks of the uninitiated. The seeds are planted for new heroic tales to be told and remembered.
If I’m lucky, I may even find a budding GM and help them get started.
That will be my legacy.
Live, laugh, loot.