Tag Archives: gaming

On Beholders, and personal and communal responsibility

18 Aug

Back in 1981, I played a game of Dungeons and Dragons where a member of our party was bewitched by a Beholder.

The monster had bobbed out from behind a large rock while we were trekking across the countryside. Shortly after we approached it, the Dungeon Master rolled some dice, then leaned over and whispered into a player’s ear. Suddenly that player’s character announced that the Beholder was his best friend, and that he was going to leave the party and go off with it.

What we obviously should have done was attack the Beholder and free our companion from its evil spell. What we actually did was ask our friend whether this was really his choice. Because who were we to judge? Sure, maybe we thought that going off with an evil monster who can control minds was foolhardy and dangerous; but you can’t make life decisions for other people, right?

Our companion said that yes, he was sure he wanted to go off with the Beholder. He even became prickly over the matter and insulted us. Fine, we said. Go off with the monster. See if we care.

Our companion followed the Beholder to the other side of the large rock. A few seconds later we heard him scream. When we ran to help him we found him on the ground, near death, with a Beholder-size bite taken out of his side.

We sheepishly healed him, and resumed our journey.

The incident still troubles me. Why, even in a fantasy game, did we lack the courage to stand up for what we knew was right and help a friend who was in trouble?

Were there times when I could have helped someone avoid certain trouble, but didn’t because I was afraid to rock the boat?

I don’t know. Anyway, once, about 30 years ago, I and a bunch of other guys let someone go off with a Beholder; and we felt pretty stupid about it.

SmiteFest 2 recap: in a word, awesome.

7 May

Once again, SmiteFest rocked.

The day started early, when Eric and I went to the KOMO 1000 studios to appear on Charlie Harger‘s radio show. We talked about SmiteFest, trends in gaming, trends in church, and how the nature of community is changing in the 21st century. At Charlie’s urging I also once again challenged the Lutherans to come to SmiteFest and show the Episcopalians how they roll.

We met again at noon in the undercroft at Episcopal Church of the Redeemer. Eric and Stephanie came loaded with roughly a gazillion games:

SmiteFest 2

After setting up, we kicked off eight hours of gaming! About 20 people showed up (including a couple of Third Place Gamers) to play games such as Sarcophagus, Dominion, Cribbage, Blokus, El Grande, Risk, and many more.

SmiteFest 2

SmiteFest 2

You can find a full list of what we played (with commentary) at BoardGame Geek.

We had pizza from Pagliacci, fresh-baked cookies, and just generally had a blast. We can’t wait to do it again.

SmiteFest 2: It’s on.

30 Apr

On Saturday, May 2nd, the greatest gaming event ever held in a Seattle-area Episcopal church returns!

(It’s also quite likely the only gaming event held in a Seattle-area Episcopal church, but let’s not quibble over details.)

SmiteFest 2 is a free, all-ages day of games and awesomeness taking place in the Undercroft at Episcopal Church of the Redeemer, Kenmore. This follow-up to last year’s successful event is being organized with the able assistance of Eric Franklin of the Talking Game blog. Donations go to support Child’s Play.

The smiting runs from 1:00 to 9:00 p.m., with pizza served at around 5 or 6. A list of available games is here, but attendees are encouraged to bring their own favorites.

There’s no “churchy” stuff at SmiteFest, but the interested and/or curious are welcome to come upstairs at 7:00 for Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, a weekly half-hour service of quiet prayer and contemplation.

You can RSVP here, and add the event on Facebook. If you have any questions, email info@smitefest.org.

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