It was very strange pulling out of that parking garage knowing that it was the last time.
I did get to visit a pretty awesome comic shop, though. One of the oldest on the east coast, from what I hear (Silver City Comics, Columbia, SC). I did not buy any comics, but I did buy a few dice. I have plenty of dice for myself when I play a character in D&D, but as DM for a game of new players, none of which have dice, I am quite lacking. So, I picked up four standard four-sided dice and two eight-sided crystal dice.
I'm getting really excited about this Dungeon Mastering scene. The creative element of putting this campaign together has been a lot of fun so far, and after our first meeting to create characters, it seems to me that the players are looking forward to it, too.
I get a lot of funny looks from people when I tell them that I play D&D, and more so when I tell them that I actually enjoy and look forward to it.
I understand why D&D has the social stigma behind it. There is a strong TV stereotype of the inept nerd who can't interact socially and spends all of his time in the basement with his similarly single, un-hip friends whenever science, video games, or tabletop gaming is mentioned. I don't know where the fuck that stereotype comes from with regards to science (I reference the link in my previous post for information on this issue), and video games are becoming more and more mainstream, so the stereotype should start dying out. But as far as the tabletop gaming goes, I can see why this is the perception, because, unfortunately, whether we "tabletop gamers" like to admit it or not, the stereotype is true enough of the time to make it a reasonable assumption and generalization.
But let me attempt to be a proponent of change here: Please, do not base judgement on all of us from this one group. Many of us who enjoy the game are normal, reasonable people with strong external friendships, social lives, hobbies, and priorities. The game is a hobby just like anything else. I don't understand how sitting around on a couch watching a man (or a woman, but probably a man because men are sexist pigs) throw a ball around and getting all worked up and yelling at every mistake that is made is more praiseworthy than sitting down around a table with several friends and playing a cooperative game that requires large amounts of teamwork, strategy, communication, critical thinking skills, and creativity.
Although I understand the stigma, I don't understand where D&D got the "anti-social" label. Yes, there are people who play it who have social disorders. But that does not make the game itself anti-social. I would say that D&D is one of my more social hobbies. At the very simplest level, I say this because you can not play the game alone, but my reasoning goes deeper than that.
So basically what I'm saying is that next time, before you give me these "are you crazy?" looks, take a second to reflect on what it is that you do to relax or escape, think about what it entails, ask yourself whether or not it is actually more "valid" than playing a role-playing game, and then please keep your derived solution to yourself and let us have our fun.
If you think that it's silly, all you must do is simply not play.
P.S. Take a second to think about this: If someone legitimately has a social disorder, and playing Dungeons and Dragons is the only way he or she has found to make legitimate connections with other people, who are you to want that taken away from them? Who are you to decide that they should do something more "normal?" If tabletop or role-playing games is their medicine for an otherwise lonely or frustrating world, who the fuck do you think gave you the right to belittle them? I hate to sound angry about it, because I know not everybody harbors ill-will towards the game, but I've met enough narrow-minded cronies to feel justified in my aggravated directness.