Monday, September 14, 2015

The Three Pillars

In Dungeons & Dragons, the whole design philosophy of fifth edition has been placed upon three pillars: exploration, social interaction, and combat. In a similar fashion, my very life is now balanced upon three pillars: Gaming, work, and drinking.

With exploration, D&D talks about maps, encounters, and travel to foreign lands. With gaming, I get distance from life's shit through escapism (chiefly through videogames), a creative outlet in role-playing games, and a means of interacting with people on a safe and confident level, through RPGs or boardgames.

With social interaction, D&D highlights role-playing, the value of NPCs, and being able to do in general non-combat-y interpersonal things, like interrogating people or conning their way past guards. With my work, I have a stable institution that supports my lifestyle, a place to hone and practice my skills in writing and editing, and a social/interpersonal outlet that isn't strictly revolving around the other two pillars.

And combat, of course, is D&D's bread and butter, where the action is, what the game is probably most famous (or infamous) for. All the numbers and planning and character development gets ultimately challenged and tested in D&D's combat encounters. With drinking, I have my wild card; a little liquid courage that allows me to reach out, connect with people I wouldn't normally connect with, and be vulnerable when I'd otherwise be closed off. It's scary, even a little dangerous...but so is combat in D&D, amiright?

D&D is at its best when adventures, characters, and campaigns are balanced on those three pillars. My life, I think, is the same. I'm at my happiest when I'm playing good games with good people (or alone, sometimes), when I'm productive and a part of the team at work, and when I'm having good laughs and connecting with friends while I drink.

But that's not where I'm at, completely, right now. My life is in a little bit of flux at the moment. Like an adventure with too much combat, I've been drinking a bit too much lately. I want to control that. And, just like a D&D adventure, when one side gets out of balance, you re-balance amongst the other two pillars. As I ramp down my drinking, I must step up my game at work and throw myself harder into my gaming to compensate.

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