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MAIL FROM: BudAustin
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You are too hard on your Networks students. They spend countless hours staring at small TelNet screens, trying to please you. In my own extensive teaching experience, students are far more likely to learn by consuming large quantities of ice cream. I suggest you provide them with this valuable educational and nutritional resource immediately. If you do not, I shall re-assign you to teach English Comp 1 in the basement of the Library. I hope you like rats!
- Bud "David Moore" Austin
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As most of you are aware, I am running an Role-Playing-Game, or RPG. Avoiding for the moment discussions of morality and any specific game, I'd like to make a few comments on what I like most about it.
I have always loved stories. Reading books, listening to Adventures in Odyssey, and telling my own personal (sometimes modified) tales to friends have always delighted me. When I was in middle school I made up several hours worth of stories and recorded them in voice on tape for my brothers to enjoy.
In second grade I encountered a new kind of story: a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure book. While most of these books are poorly conceived or poorly executed, the premise is still a fascinating one. Interacting with a story was new and exciting, and I bought my first book "You are Invisible".
My next step into interactive stories took place with Lego's. I have five brothers, and one of us would build a small castle or other structure and place a Lego man at its entrance. The rest of us crowded around as the designer asked "Which way should Mikey go?" We would direct him as Mikey fell victim to various traps and calamities.
When we acquired Zork for our computer, interactive story-telling went to a new level. Zork was a text adventure game, a game with gave descriptions of rooms, treasures, and sometimes opponents and allowed us to interact with them. We mapped out a massive cave network, found our way out of the "maze all alike", and killed the dwarf with the hatchet.
Computers advanced and the computer based RPG was born. We played some of these, but following a certain Odyssey episode we were generally dissuaded from playing them by our parents. Naturally we still did, albeit not blatantly.
Here at LeTourneau I encountered the parents of those PC-based RPG's, table-top RPG's.
The concept of using some paper and dice and four or five friends to play a game for hours on end seemed ridiculous. This notion vanished when I sat through a "session" with some friends on 3B. Here was a story, live, changing, interactive, and so fresh you could smell it (often smelling like five guys in a dorm room.) There were rules to learn and foreign terms to remember, but it was a structure for new stories to be made and experienced. I was hooked.
I have played table-top RPG's for six semester's now, and loved almost every minute of it. This semester I am telling my own story, I am the Game Master, or GM for a small group of friends.
The experience is intense and taxing, much like impromptu speech-making. My role is to entertain five people for six hours by telling them a story in which they make most of the decisions. I plan, they add their creativity and personal vision to my planning, and then I try to turn the resulting splash of madness into an adventure. It is story-telling, raw, fast, and often disorganized.
Draining, invigorating, I can't get enough of it.