I popped over to the gaming convention GenCon yesterday, in civilian (i.e., not performing monkey) mode, because Wil Wheaton was there and I wanted to hang with him a bit. When I e-mailed him earlier in the week about dropping by, he sent an e-mail back saying “ZOMG DO YOU WANT TO DO TRUE DUNGEON WITH ME IT’LL BE AWESOME.” I of course had no idea what he was talking about, so I responded with an e-mail that said, more or less, “Bwuh?” To which Wil informed me that True Dungeon was a walk-through role playing game, in which everyone assumed adventurer roles in a dungeon-crawling campaign; like D&D except you get exercise and you have life-sized props and the occasional actual human playing an NPC. I have to admit I wasn’t wildly excited about the idea — I prefer hanging out in a bar to LARPing in any form — but Wil was clearly excited about it and he’s adorable when he gets that way, so what the hell, why not.
As it turns out, True Dungeon was a lot of fun. Part of it was the team of adventurers, which aside from me and Wil included Patrick Rothfuss, Brandon Sanderson, Will Hindmarch, Robert Gifford of Geek Chic,
another friend of Wil’s whose name I am embarrassingly blanking on despite the fact I have met him several times and like him as a person (my excuse: he has a unusual name and I’m running on a sleep deficit, since I got home at 3:30am) Boyan Radakovich, Creative Director of Gamesmith (I remembered his name just after posting this), and then Heather, Mike and John, three folks brought in to round out our group and who were very knowledgeable about the game and how to run through it. As you can imagine this crew was not boring to run about with. Everyone picked characters more or less comporting with their own personalities; I was a monk, which in the True Dungeon world meant I mostly ran around hitting things. Or as I said during the game “I am a monk! I do two things! I punch and I pray!” Brandon was a cleric (he healed me, twice, because when you punch things they punch back), Wil was a wizard, and Pat I’m pretty sure just played as Pat.
The other part was the game itself, which was challenging and fun. True Dungeon has two tracks you can play through — combat and puzzles — and we chose the puzzle track, which with this crew was almost certainly the right choice. We had to do things like [DELETED], and also [DELETED] and then one time we had to [DELETED], and it was great because, you know, when you have that many fantasy and science fiction writers in a single group, it’s not as if problem-solving is not something we don’t know how to do. We ran through the dungeon at a pretty good clip, defeating puzzles as a team, and in the final climactic battle we vanquished the [DELETED] by [DELETED]. The True Dungeon people were pretty impressed with us, they said, in what I am sure is something they never tell any other campaign.
So, lots of fun, and as part of my booty, I have a war hammer signed by all my boon companions, including Wil, Brandon and Pat, which I’m sure makes it the most valuable foam rubber war hammer on the planet at the moment. Don’t try to steal it. I have an actual battle axe somewhere in the house, y’all.