©Stonie Williams

The Lapsed Gamer: Part 1

Guest Writer: Stonie Williams

©TSR Inc.

My name is Stonie Williams. I’m 32 years old on the outside and perpetually 9 years old on the inside. I recently returned to the world of RPGs after nearly a decade away from gaming. I’d like to share that journey with you.

I grew up on RPGs. My first roleplaying game was Prime Directive, set in the Star Trek universe. I was 8 years old. I played with my mother and her friends who roleplayed once every couple of weeks or so. I was so enthralled with roleplaying that my mother got my brother and I the AD&D First Quest kit. Complete with pre-made characters, spell lists, monsters and treasures guide, miniatures and an audio disk. She also began to collect the D&D Endless Quest books, a choose your own adventure series. It was 1994, I was the ripe old age of 9 when I started playing D&D and it’s been a huge part of my life ever since. I forever after wore the moniker of Roleplayer.

©TSR Hobbies, Inc.

My family was big into RPGs. Mom worked at a comic book and gaming store while I was growing up and the culture surrounded us. We played Shadowrun and White Wolf. 3rd Edition Dungeons and Dragons came out in 2000 and it was all my 15-year-old heart could to do to contain itself. We played as a family, I was the Dungeon Master for friends and for several years it was a reoccurring focus of my time. 4th Edition rolled around and we were getting older. We had lives that didn’t always intersect. We rolled characters one evening but couldn’t seem to find the time to get together. The interest wasn’t what it was. I started having kids, went back to school, working full time, and years flew by.

2015 and I had a gaggle of kids that were reading faster than I could find books for them and a couple still learning. My oldest son had grown up listening to the old stories. Games that went long into the night, failed rolls and parties that lasted and parties that didn’t. I decided one cold and rainy day to streamline the rules and play a game with the kids. We made very basic characters using my old 3rd Edition books. They had a blast. We spent about two weeks playing on and off and even the little ones were enjoying themselves. It made me nostalgic for those old gaming groups again. My brother kept up with it, playing with his friends at home. He had a game last 6 months and the stories he told made me miss our old games.

©Wizards of the Coast

2016 and my Dad gave me a copy of 5th Edition. We talked about doing a Skype game with some of us living further apart but once again plans never seemed to coalesce. Almost a year later, my brother got engaged. He’d asked me to be his best man. Money is tight, we’re getting too old for the bar scene and live over an hour from each other. I was racking my brain trying to decide on the perfect bachelor party when it hit me. Of course! Let’s do play D&D. He can invite as many people as he wants, we can do it on voice chat, I’ll set up a dice roller bot and off we go. Nothing but our imaginations and Discord for a group voice chat. Simple, right? Boy, was I wrong…

Watch the blog for the second part of my thrilling tale as I dive into what it took to get this adventure off the ground! Thanks for reading!

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  1. Christopher Bishop
    Christopher Bishop

    Excellent and very relevant take on what being a lapsed gamer means. Like veterans discussing their roles in a war, Gamers love spreading both the good and bad tales of yore. The vigor with which we talk about our experiences can many any child stop in their tracks. I know it did that for my kids. Should I die tomorrow (please no) I could go knowing I passed a tradition that will hopefully continue long after I am gone. A tradition of imagination, problem solving, socialization and fun. That my friend is a legacy, I look forward to the second part of your tale!

    1. Avatar
      Loki Lyesmith

      Oh, I absolutely agree. It always gives me with pride when my kids latch on to things like this, knowing that it has the potential to be something they keep with them the rest of their lives and will share with their loved ones long after I’m gone. I always knew I wanted to be a Dad one day, but the legacy part, passing on traditions, I’m not sure I fully realized would be such a big part of that.

  2. John Enfield
    John Enfield

    I bet that was fun getting to hang out in a comic book and game store as a kid. My grandparents had a Stuckey’s Store when I was a kid and I read all the comics, played with the toys and ate myself almost sick on the candy and snacks in there when we’d visit. 🙂

    It gets tougher and tougher to get a group together and keep them together as you get older and as people move away and have increasingly crazier schedules. I can barely get a group together anymore. It must have been especially tough on you with that transition having grown up playing RPGs. My parents and sister tolerated my obsession with sci fi and fantasy stuff, but never really played any of the games with me. The closest I came was getting them to occasionally play chess or Risk with me. Didn’t have a regular gaming group until college.

    I’ve never had any luck with making gaming over internet work at all. Maybe your next installment will help me figure it out.

    1. Avatar
      Loki Lyesmith

      Our second session was this past weekend and I’d definitely like to continue putting down my thoughts and any insight gained into continuing this experience. Thanks for reading!

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