Monday, 21 September 2015

My Better Half (Part Two)

Megan during a podcast recording session.
When I realized that I wanted to push my game a little further into dramatic territory, my wife Megan was the first person I tried to "sell" on the idea. I remember being hesitant about it, even though she's a drama nerd from way back, because she had bought into the idea of RPGs as monster-ass-kick-a-thons as much as I ever had in my teenage years. Her character Rosa, who had begun life in that long ago ANGEL campaign, was a combat monster.

I seized on a particular aspect of her character, a Drawback she had selected that meant Rosa had a problem with commitments. When I approached her, I made the argument that unless this really was a Drawback -- something that caused Rosa problems -- it really just amounted to emotional armour making her invincible. (And a lot of roleplayers would have answered that assertion with "You're damned straight it does. Now fuck off.") I suggested that it might be more interesting if we made it a complication, presenting her with the opportunity for a relationship in the game. It would only be an interesting story beat if Rosa was struggling with this for some reason.

Megan gave me the side-eye when I floated this idea, one day we were waiting for the bus, but agreed to give it some thought. This eventually led us into the most interesting gaming we'd ever had, to that point, and Rosa became an unforgettable character struggling with knowing that she was going to die at the same time she really had something good in her life to live for. (And yes, eventually Rosa earned her happy ending.)

Megan has been at the forefront of HTHD play ever since. Whether I'm playing a scene with her as a GM or as a player, I always know that she's not afraid to push our scenes farther and go deeper than I can with almost any other player. She roleplays hard, always does interesting things, and is a generous partner to play scenes with. She is also excellent at sharing acting chops with those of us who only do this at the table, drawing on her years of university drama training. (And just in case you missed it, she shared a lot of that stuff in the final episode of our podcast, which you really should give a listen.)

I am also pleased to report that, in addition to continually charting brave new courses in acting at the table as a player, Megan also finally caved to years of husbandly prodding and made the leap to being a GM. She talks about that stuff modestly, but she's good at it. Like I knew she would be.

The last thing I wanted to mention is for you, readers, and not necessarily for my wonderful wife (who does enjoy it when I say nice things about her).

For those of you reading this out there who are single: I hope you'll take a bit of advice from an old guy who has screwed up a lot of things in his life... but who has a terrific marriage after eleven years of all the adversity the world could throw at us.

Find someone to share your life with who loves the things that you do. 

As far as I can tell, if there is a magic wand that grants happiness in this world, that's it. Megan and I have always been best friends, and we share everything. Gaming has been a constant in our lives for the last eleven years, a thing that we not only share with our friends but especially with each other. When we play a great session, we talk about it late into the night. When there's a problem, we hash it out together. When we're trying to push the game a little further, or troubleshoot, or set something up for next time... we talk.

Having common interests and sharing sincere friendship with your spouse or significant other is so, so important. At the end of the day, if you don't have anything to talk about other than who isn't doing their share of the dishes or what to watch on television as you're drifting off to sleep, what have you got?

If you love gaming, don't just do that with your friends from high school or university. Share that part of your life with someone who loves it as much as you do.

I may not have figured out much in this life, but I know I got that one right.

For Megan, all my love.


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