I joined a friendly group of pals for Thanksgiving this year in Berkeley. We had a feast beginning with barbequed oysters and appetizers in the backyard garden and moved indoors as the sun went down and it got chilly. My costuming pal Lady Heather joined us and brought a lovely salad. Other delicacies included wild rice salad with green apples, sweet potatoes in a handmade sauce and the bbq turkey with mole’ sauce. I made and brought Indian Pudding, a recipe from my grandmother. (it involves a lot of milk, molasses and a bit of cornmeal, baked in the oven for 3 hours – delicious with vanilla ice cream.) We also had a wonderful homemade chocolate torte with ginger snap crust, covered in raspberries. Our group of diners included friends visiting from Colorado, Michigan and various parts of the SF East Bay. I hadn’t seen our hosts in quite a while, so it was good to get caught up with them and to enjoy their warm hospitality.
I met this morning with some friends from my D&D role playing group for brunch, which was a real treat; we usually get together about once or twice a month. We brainstormed about settings for upcoming campaigns, story ideas and characters we’d like to create. We are a gaming group of made up of some designers, an inventor, a scientist, and some writers who are also crafty folk who love science fiction. We’ve been meeting for years as a group, taking turns being the creator/referee of the games. We had one campaign in which our Dungeons and Dragons game took place in outer space, using the same rules as a “regular” game, but with advanced technology and all sorts of new classes of characters. Our game creator made a web blog for our “space opera” characters to log in and make comments: The Gathering Dark. It’s also where we’ve put artwork, related articles and photos that inspired us. We’ve moved on to another game now and our “scribe” uses the Gathering Dark blog site to post notes of our current game. For the latest game, we have a new game master who is using the Fourth edition of Dungeons and Dragons. We play “old school” style with pens, paper, miniature figures, and dice. It’s really fun because it lets us be as creative and silly as we want and inspires all sorts of other projects. It’s interesting to see the changes in the rules with the new edition, since popular computer games have been developed to such a great extent since the original D&D came out in the late ’70s.
Playing Dungeons and Dragons is what originally inspired me to make costumes. I’d play with a group of students from my brother’s high school and our game masters were instructors there. We had several “live dungeons” and I started designing and making costumes for these games. So, it’s great to be with a group of people who really relate to the creative process and can participate on a regular basis.