Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Roll Them Bones Update.

I attended GenCon this year(2010), and it was the first time I could make it. When I found out that Wil Wheaton was going to be there, and he'd requested that people at the con give him dice, so that he could prove the theory that you can't have too many, I decided to give him one. As the idea fermented in my head, I came to the decision to give him a very special die. The following is a livejournal entry from today, which acts as an update to Rolling Them Bones.


This was Wil's first GenCon. He posted about it in his blog. I noticed that he was having a talk on Friday, so I canceled a game to go see him. He related a story about he and his wife, talking about gaming while they were driving in the car. Go read it now. It's not long. I promise I will wait until you are done reading it before I continue with my story...



Okay, good, you're back... So, Wil read us that story on Friday. It got big laughs.

The next day, I'm sitting in on a 4e D&D Dark Sun game DM'd by Chris Sims (formerly of WotC, with contributions to the Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide, Adventurers' Vault, Monster Manual 2, Martial Power, Seekers of the Ashen Crown, etc etc). The players are myself, my friend Craig Campbell (who is a good friend of Chris' from back in the day, and has written a bunch of stuff for Dragon, Dungeon and the WotC website), Tracy Hurley (aka Sarah Darkmagic), Tracy's husband Fred, and Jobe Bittman (MetaDM). I'm setting up my laptop so that I can record the game (just for posterity), and I suddenly glance to my left, where Fred is sitting... and he has a Yahtzee cup. The first thing that pops into my head is "Like he's shaking them in a Yahtzee cup?" I stifled a laugh, but Craig and I exchanged a good laugh about it afterward, 'cause he was thinking the exact same thing.

I had some misses with Wil... on Thursday I didn't have the time to see him. On Friday I couldn't stand in line long after his talk because I had a game to go to. Then the line was capped before I got there after that game. Then on Saturday I forgot the d20 I was going to give him in the hotel room. Finally, on Sunday, everything matched up. I got into the vendor's room right at 10am and lined up. Within half an hour, I was walking up to his table. He wasn't shaking hands, due to getting Swine Flu at PAX Prime, and I respected that. I showed him a die that Craig's friend Rob gave me... a 10-sided "reaction die" with emotions in text on one side, and emoticons at the other. He thought that was cool. I gave it a roll, came up with "Surprised" and made a surprised face, which gave him a chuckle.

Then I pulled out my d20. It's my first d20, from 1979. I put it on the table.

"Wow, that die has seen some action!" he said.

"Yup, that's my very first d20. I bought it in 1979, and retired it around 5 years later, when I killed a medusa with it. It rolled around on the table for like, 5 minutes before finally coming to rest on the 20, and the DM ruled that my character cut the medusa's head off! I put that one away right after, and it's sat in my dice bag since. I've been reading the stories you've written in your blog about how much gaming has meant to you, and they've given me such a great sense of nostalgia that I want to give you back some nostalgia in return."

"Are you SURE that you want to give me your FIRST d20?" he asked, shocked at the prospect.

"Yes. Absolutely. At first, when I considered it, all I thought was 'No, no way. I can't do that...'. but as I thought about it more, I thought 'I have my stories about this d20, but how much better would those stories be if I gave that die to Wil Wheaton.' So please, take it, with my blessing."

He picked up the die, and put it into the cup beside him, on top of several other dice inside. "I shall place it with its brothers." he said, a smile on his face, and his voice full of respect and reverence.

I chuckled and said "I would only humbly ask that you afford it some small place of honor in your collection."

Both he and his "handler" chuckled at that. I was struck with a sudden thought that it was an ironic chuckle, like maybe all these dice were bound for destruction or something, but I chose to ignore that. His handler asked if I wanted a book or a picture signed, and I chose Wil's "Games Matter" chapbook. The one he read to us from, during his talk on Friday. He signed my book, and as he did, I told him the story about Chris Sims' game. Chris had signed the Dark Sun rulebooks while I was sitting there, which Logan Bonner was going to give to Wil. I made a few suggestions, the funniest (at least to the people at the table) being, after Logan told him to "speak from the heart.",... "Hi Wil. You're cool. I like you a lot. Signed, Chris Sims' Heart". heh. So there was some connection, instead of it just being a random mention of a random person he didn't know.

"So, I'm sitting in on Chris Sims' Dark Sun game yesterday, and while he was signing your Dark Sun books, I was setting up my laptop to record the game. I just put it down on the table, and opened it up, when I glanced to my left... and what did I see?"

"A Yahtzee cup."

He laughed. Loudly. So much so that he started coughing, and it sounded painful (due to the sinus infection). I felt slightly bad about that, but still, he got a good laugh out of it. That was awesome. I don't know what it is about making a star laugh like that. I felt the same as when I made George Takei laugh out loud during the costume contest of the '92 Toronto Trek convention, for insulting Larry "The Doctor" Stewart (geez, that guy was a blow-hole).

"Oh, that's great." he said, with a big smile.

"Yeah, my first thought would have normally been 'Really? Seriously?', but instead, it was your voice saying "You mean, like in a Yahtzee cup?" I said, mimicking how he had read that in his story.

Wil laughed and gave me an Iron Guard Salute in lieu of a handshake. I tapped Games Matter to my forehead in gratitude and respect, bowed slightly to him, and we parted ways.

Other than stumbling a bit at the start of my spiel, in telling him that I was sorry he'd caught a sinus infection, and having to COMMAND my brain to focus on what I wanted to say to him... nay, what I'd REHEARSED to say to him (I didn't want to screw it up), I think it was a pretty good meeting overall.

Of course, it would be totally awesome if, when he blogs about the weekend, that I would get some kind of special mention, even if it was just "Thanks to the guy that gave me his very first d20, even though I can't remember his name!". It's not required though. I'm just glad to pass it on to him. Also, Craig and I listened to the audiobook of Just a Geek on the way home, and it really drove home (ha ha) just what a down-to-earth nice guy Wil is, and removed any last vestiges of regret I might have at giving up that very special d20. Even if, worst case, it just ends up in a box or bag in Wil's closet, forgotten with a bunch of other dice, it has still become part of that die's story for me, and noone can take that away from me. =)