Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Jak files - Part 1

Originally posted August 3, 2008 (on my other blog)

I had an awesome day Saturday. It started off great and just kept getting better.

I was fairly nervous to start out as the day was a lot of logistical juggling. TallBoy (my son) was supposed to go somewhere, and SweetPea (my daughter) somewhere else, with me showing up at the event with TallBoy after dropping off SweetPea. Then, a I was supposed to be in a Game.

Somewhere in there, I got time to go to a new hobby store in a little town near MY little town (think model railroads, airplanes, cars etc) and it was attached to a cute antique/collectible shop. As I was looking at something on a shelf, I noticed a bin of old metal signs in the upstairs room- and facing me was this:

This is the image from the cover of my Journal from my trip to France 18 years ago. It was just so unexpected and such a nostalgic piece I had to have it. My darling Dude (husband) bought it for me as an anniversary gift (which was "tomorrow" on Saturday), knowing that without my France trip, we would not be married. (We started dating 2 days before my trip- there's a story there, somewhere. Later maybe.)

After this great find, we head to Armored Gopher , where the event TallBoy is involved in is going full swing. We mingle, we chat, we eat some food cooked up by our friend KM and generally enjoy the community that makes AGG so frickin' awesome. (Full disclosure- My Dude is soon to be the owner of the place. But the community is a large part of why we love it and are willing to invest in it.)

So after much hanging out and many loud declarations that I am EVIL due to the fudge I made for the event (a high compliment in our crowd, BTW), it is game time. I am fairly excited about the game as my character, Jak, is finally starting to get things to do and it's starting to turn the corner from Keystone Kops and actually be a WOD game. Saturday it just got AWESOME.

We're set in Chicago. I'm playing Jak - a former Army medic, Thomas is playing a street rat/hobo, and TallBoy is playing a cop. All the action is set in around Jak's North side home. Hobo has recently been attacked by "rat-dogs" and is suffering ill effects. Jak's boss (up to now an NPC run by Squirl) is an old dude running a pharmacy and does some holistic/alternative medicine stuff. The boss is going to help Hobo get better from the "rat-dog" attack. Things start off with Jak getting Hobo in a car (Hobo is a little unstable and cars among many other things scare him) to go to the pharmacy to get help.

I'm aware a new guy is joining our game tonight and I am waiting to see how Squirl gets him in. As Jak knocks on the door at the boss's apartment above the pharmacy, the new guy asks "who is it" and it goes from there. The new guy is playing my boss and things continue on in a kick-butt fashion from there.

The events that transpire in the game are described in fabulous detail. Squirl is making all of us think, work hard at being our characters, and making the world around us very real. We're all faced with things that are way outside our comfort zone and our characters are forced to react. We face the events of the evening head on and keep the action flowing, all the while digging more and more into the meat of our characters.

It's been over 10 years since I last played in a game, and I had almost forgotten why I love it so much until Saturday. I had forgotten how much fun it is to bounce your "self" off of other people, have it evolve and have things fall into place and action really become organic and a community thing. I had not been in a game with this kind of interaction, intensity and thoughtfulness in a LONG time. I had been hesitant to get back into a game because I really didn't want it to be dice rolling. I wanted to THINK about what I was doing and why, and play it off my alter ego and see where it went. Man, did I get that and then some Saturday.

It almost doesn't matter what actually happened- because the experience was so dang cool. I had such a good time leaving the wife/mom behind and truly enjoyed "being" a young single guy battling the forces of weirdness side by side with the "old shopkeeper" all the while trying to keep the Hobo alive and get him freed from the "bugs" that invaded his body.

The evening ended as we had to wrap up and go home. SweetPea was exhausted from her many activities, the Dude was tired as HECK and TallBoy had pretty much sat out this adventure, as his cop had to file incident reports due to firing bullets in the last run. I start to ask the new guy (JohnJ) about his visible tattoos, and that progresses into my next post.

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