My Inner Worlds
Each month my friends and I meet for a full day of Dungeons and Dragons, a roleplaying adventure game that I’m sure you’ve heard of. They arrive at my house around noon and sometimes don’t leave until 9 pm. It makes for a tiring day, but one filled with tons of fun. Our current group started gaming together in 2012 with Rise of the Runelords, a Pathfinder adventure that took us four years to complete. Last fall we started Skull & Shackles, a pirate escapade on the high seas that has taken us out of our comfort zone.
I first began roleplaying in 2003 or 2004 with a homegrown adventure written by SJ, my current GM (gamemaster). Roleplaying stretched me. In the beginning I was terrified of making a mistake, of letting others see me, of drawing attention to any aspect of myself—you get the picture. Being with loving people who have become dear friends gave me a space to explore possibilities. Why couldn’t I be more outgoing like my selkie character Lyra? The charismatic druid I created and played mirrored aspects of myself that I didn’t feel safe expressing in real life. Over time I learned to relax more, to have fun, and to slowly incorporate the traits I liked in Lyra into my own experiences.
Matt and I moved to the mountains in 2008 and couldn’t realistically participate in tabletop RPG (role-playing games) from a distance. When we returned from our three-year journey into the wilderness, our friends suggested reforming our group to play Rise of the Runelords. Life had felt a little rough for me outside my beloved urban Raleigh-Durham area, and the sorceress I crafted for this adventure helped me learn to embrace my inner power. Elliana was a strong-willed, not-very-wise, magic user who shot lightning bolts from her fingertips. Playing her over the course of four years was illuminating, and with the help of Matt, I learned how to think outside the box. Several times Elliana used magic in an intensely creative and non-destructive way that impressed the heck out of me. Since those ideas came from me, I learned that I can express my creative side in real life and not fear it.
I grieved last summer as we completed the Runelords adventure, knowing Elliana had to retire to her hero afterlife. To help compensate for that loss, SJ allowed me to create my current character Lia as the daughter of Elliana and two other characters from the Runelords game. She is a combination of four different races, but the sorcery used in her birth went haywire, giving me a great roleplaying opportunity for times when Lia feels stress.
It was difficult to shift to this strong physical fighter, who is now also a pirate captain. We’re still learning to play our new roles in Skull & Shackles, but I can see a parallel in Lia’s physical abilities and my new interest in practicing yoga. Playing a pirate captain is stretching me, but our group has decided to be “good” pirates. We don’t prey on the innocent and will only take the life of an enemy when necessary. I look forward to seeing how the next three years will transform Lia and me in our tandem worlds.
A look at Lia's portfolio via the Hero Lab app (shown on an iPad Mini):