I’m gonna say it was in around April or May of last year when my friend, Wyatt, asked me if I was interested in joining a tabletop campaign he was going to be running with some of our other friends. Now, I wasn’t too close with a lot of the people in there, they were pretty casual friends for the most part, but I had heard great things about Wyatt as a DM and the campaign did sound interesting, so I said, “Sure, why not?”
Well, exactly one year ago today, we had the play session that honestly kind of changed my life in ways I can’t even begin to imagine. It started me on the longest campaign I’ve ever been on with our current arc ending this coming Sunday. It’s been an incredible creative spark for me and an inspiration in character building and storytelling. It’s been an emotional rollercoaster, bringing the actor in me out in a big way and forcing me to deal with some interesting mental issues that I otherwise might have ignored. And, without a doubt, it has created some of the closest and most important friendships I have had to date. In order to commemorate this special day (seriously, one year for a campaign!), I wanted to share with a brief story of how we found friends where we least expected them.
As some of you might remember, my family and I went to Europe for a few weeks this past winter break. We had a lovely time over there, but the process to actually get to Europe was an ordeal. Our flight on American was delayed getting out of San Jose and while we were assured we’d be at a close enough gate to make our connection in Dallas, we landed at a different terminal entirely, causing us to miss the last flight to London and have to stay in a hotel in Dallas. On Christmas night, no less.
Throughout this whole process, I’d been Snapchatting and texting my friends to let them know how the trip was going, because how often do people go to Europe, right? (Little did I know that summer, like, everyone would be going to Europe, but shhh). I’d also been texting our Skype group for this campaign. See, while most of us in the group went to Chapman, a few of our players were the DM’s friends from back home in Dallas. One of them, Tayler, joked around with me about meeting up when I was in town, though I didn’t expect to be actually in Dallas for more than a couple of hours, max.
Now, tired and hungry and frankly pissed off as we waited and waited and waited for our bags to come out, the prospect about tossing us Whataburger through security sounded a lot more appealing. It also didn’t hurt that we found out the hotel we’d be staying at was pretty close to their town. A lot of texting back and forth, because hey, we had some time to kill, and Tayler agreed to bring Nate, another one of our campaign buddies, and some food to the hotel.
When I got the text from them that they were in the lobby, it was almost as exciting as being in Europe would have been. We had only met maybe four months ago over Skype, but not in person. We had plans to all meet up a little later in winter break, but this random meeting was going to be my actual first time meeting these Internet friends. A lot of older people don’t understand how you can have such strong connections with people over the Internet. The thing is, even though we’d never met before in person, I felt almost like I knew these two better than I knew some friends I’d known since kindergarten. There’s something about coming together over a mutual love and experiencing things as a group that really bonds you. Running through the lobby to give them both a massive hug was maybe the perfect unexpected Christmas gift I could have received.
As a fun little addendum to this story, Tayler and I actually wound up going ice-skating in London not three weeks after then. It’s crazy how things pan out, isn’t it? Anyways, here’s to the whole crew of this crazy little Star Wars game. Happy one year and here’s to another one full of bad jokes, epic fights, and more emotional turmoil than you can shake a therapist at.
Me and my rescuers in Dallas
Me and Tayler in London
The greatest people I’ll ever meet… and also the worst