This weekend, I wrote the final encounter of the D&D campaign I’ve been working on since last year. It was a bittersweet afternoon – on the one hand, it feels great to finally reach the conclusion and it’ll be fun to actually put that on the table (in person!), but on the other, what the hell am I going to do with my time now that I’ve finished?
It’s no secret that D&D has been a saving grace for me over the past two years. As my mental health took a deep dive off a cliff (more about that here), it was one of my key coping mechanisms. Regular routine plus a creative endeavour equals a somewhat happier Robyn. So, it’s understandable that a part of me is a little scared of the current phase coming to an end. Of course, it’s not the end of my group’s game nights – far from it. If anything, we’re finally moving back to in-person sessions, but I may well be taking a back seat from the DM duties to let someone else take a turn.
Throughout the last nine or so months, I’ve learned a lot. I’ve learned that running a game on Discord does need you to step in more than you’d like to move the story along. I’ve learned that dropping story threads doesn’t really matter as long as everyone’s having fun. I’ve learned that it’s okay to throw RuPaul’s Drag Race UK queens in as random characters when your party needs you to invent yet another shopkeeper. (A’Whora, I hope I’ve done you proud as the town’s maverick tailor.) But most of all, I’ve finally found joy in creating things again.
I’d started to get my mojo back a little bit before the pandemic began. I’ve dabbled in fanfiction since I was a teenager, and I wrote a few video game-inspired pieces before COVID rolled around, but then, it did, and any hope of me writing more – whether original fiction or otherwise – seemed very, very far away. But D&D gave me a deadline and a focus, while also giving me some flexibility, and absolving me of the need for my writing to be anything but fun. The pressure’s off – I only need to make sure the people at the table are having a good time, and as long as they are, then my work is done.
The campaign may be over for now, but I’ve still got a good number of story threads we can pick up on, should we ever want to return to the city of Phlan. I’ve even figured out ways I could connect it to the new Feywild module, if we start playing that one. When it comes to D&D, the story is never truly over.
The question still remains: what do I do with my time? Technically, there’s nothing stopping me writing a whole new campaign – I just don’t necessarily have a place to test it. I can world-build, craft NPCs and even write lore around the setting, and when you put it like that, it’s basically writing a story, right? So, maybe every Sunday, I can just sit down and write. It’s more intimidating than D&D, that’s for sure, but if I keep thinking “story” and not “novel”, it feels a lot less insurmountable.
On the other hand, I have a lot of Assassin’s Creed still on my PlayStation hard drive. Send me creative vibes, please.