Sunday, March 29, 2020

Blapril - Day 1: Animal Crossing and Dungeons & Dragons

This first day of Blapril has arrived and it's a good time for it. All the days these past two weeks have begun to blend together. It's a bit gauche to complain of boredom in a time when many would only wish they were bored, but it's the hand I've been dealt and it's the one I'll have to play.

Today was session 0 of the first Dungeons & Dragons campaign I've played in 4 years. It's functionally the second campaign I've been part of overall.

There have been some changes in four years. We're running D&D 5th Edition instead of 3.5, we're running only three party members instead of four, and of course the campaign is being run online instead of on my dining room table.

We ran into any number of technical hurdles this session, not the least which was Fantasy Ground's servers being down for the first two hours. We're using the Fantasy Ground Unity software, which is in beta, so trouble was expected anyhow. When we were able to get in, it seemed mostly functional. I like how the D&D Handbook, as well as all the other purchased supplemental material is seamlessly worked into the UI. If you're not sure what a feat on your character sheet does you can just mouse over it and get the explanation. A pretty useful bit of tech for someone who understand the D&D broad strokes, but not necessarily the actual execution. I do enjoy having the physical books, D&D material are fascinating reads whether you actually play or not. But not having to break out the tomes of law in the middle of a game session will keep play smooth and more focused on the role play.

With the server troubles, only our DM was able to log into our session. Discord's screen sharing feature, which was recently made available to all because of the Corona outbreak, came in clutch. We were able to build all of our characters live as the DM filled out our character sheets for us. I'll be playing a sword-and-board fighter with a noble background. The DM's girlfriend will be playing a Bard from the College of Glamour but with a mysterious past. Mrs. Everwake will be a Cleric following the goddess of agriculture.

Because of the self-sequestration, I've been subject to any number of teleconferencing software and am genuinely impressed by just how well Discord handles any number of needs. Having to dig out my copies of Google Hangouts and Skype have shown just how far we've come in this regard. Gaming communication on the computer has come a long ways in general. I never particularly hated using Roger Wilco or Ventrillo back in the day, but it would be hard to go back to such crude interfaces or having to rent servers today.

Animal Crossing continues on. I'm purposely not trying to munchkin my experience and have been playing pretty casually overall. Maybe an hour or two a day. I get my town center to today, which I know brings back Isabelle but I'm not sure what else. I've been focusing my energies and my Bells to populate my catalog. I'll leave the decorating of my house and island until I have more pieces to work with. I've played most iterations of AC since the GameCube edition, so this is all old hat to me. It's a visit to an old stomping ground during trying times.

Playing everyday does make me yearn for a vacation to a tropical island in my real life. For now my digital village will do.

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