Saying good-bye to a “friend”

Over the weekend, I lost a “friend.”  He was impaled on a spike after wriggling away from the clutches of a giant crow.  The good news is while he was falling, I killed the crow.

I know you think I may have gone insane, but I assure you I have all my faculties.  You see, my “friend” was a role playing character.  And when I say that I killed the crow, I mean my own role playing character killed it.  I have mentioned before that about once a month we gather with some friends for role playing.  (That often evokes images of acne-covered teenage boys with zero social skills playing Dungeons and Dragons in their parents’ basements.  But, I can assure you that’s not the case with us.  Everybody who plays with us is a respectable adult with jobs in regular relationships.  We just like games.  I have made the transition from gamer’s wife to gaming wife.  And that’s OK with me.)

The thing about any role playing campaign, from what I’ve been told, is that you have to be prepared for your character to die.  It just happens.  After all, it wouldn’t be all that thrilling (or relatively realistic) if you were fighting in a battle that couldn’t kill you.  I know this.  But, I still get attached.  I am attached to my own character, Violet Harper.  She’s a sharp-shooting adventurer in the Weird West (known as Deadlands to any gamers out there).  Her husband left her for another woman and she’s learning to totally take care of herself and trust others again.  She’s tough.  I like her.  I don’t want anything to happen to her.

My husband and our friend, Isaac, with whom Chris been role playing since they were in middle school, both have their next characters almost completed.  In fact, they’ve both admitted they’re almost eager for their current characters to die so they can create the new ones.  I don’t understand that.  I’m much newer to role playing, and I’m the type of person who sobs when I get a new computer because I think of all my old computer and I have been through together (sadly, this is very true and in no way an exaggeration).

Rest in peace, Jonathan War Eagle

While I knew that at some point somebody’s character was going to die, I still wasn’t prepared for it.  We’ve been playing this for just over a year now.  I got attached.  The character who was lost to us for good was Jonathan War Eagle.  He was a Native American.  Our friend, Wade, controlled him.  Wade started role playing with this campaign, like I did.  We were novices together.  Another role-playing-savvy friend created the character for him, but Wade made Jonathan War Eagle his own.  War Eagle was the last of his tribe.  And he had a no-holds-barred attitude.  In one of our very first missions we were fighting bad guys on a train.  War Eagle’s solution was to derail the train even though we were all aboard.  Fortunately, we all survived.

In another mission, War Eagle and Violet (my character) were in the bottom of a ship.  To kill a bad guy, he shot an arrow into highly explosive material.  We barely escaped with our lives.  But, these are the tales of Jonathan War Eagle.  Sometimes what he did didn’t make sense, but it all worked itself out and saved our role-playing butts quite a few times.

This last mission we were on involved saving a town from sacrificing two people each full moon to a giant crow.  Our ragtag band of adventurers works together to right wrongs.  War Eagle, who tended to fight melee style with enemies, was right beside a man who turned into a giant crow and carried him off.  As my sharp-shooting Violet was trying to down the crow and save her friend, I even proclaimed, “I’ve got to save my Jonathan War Eagle.”

But, he wriggled free and down he went.  I know what you non-role players are thinking (if you’ve even read this far!): how do you determine death?  Well, it’s different for every system.  We play Savage Worlds, so everything is dependent on the roll of the dice.  I could go into detail, but suffice it to say that the dice did not work in Jonathan War Eagle’s favor.  None of us knew if that fall would kill him.  In fact, it was only a 30-foot fall, so we didn’t really expect it to.  We figured he’d come out hurt.  But the dice changed that up.  Even my husband, who was running this mission, had no clue War Eagle was falling to his death until the dice were finished rolling.

And so we sat there stunned.  OK, maybe that’s dramatic.  I was stunned.  The guys were stunned, maybe, but they were also animated.  They are testosterone-filled guys who were already whooping about the excitement.  My husband painted the picture for us of impaled War Eagle.  We took down his body and decided what to do with it.  I didn’t know what to say.  Neither did Violet.  I was shocked.  Fortunately, my husband was kind enough not to point out to our friends the tears he saw in my eyes as we were saying our good-byes to War Eagle through our characters.  Boys don’t cry about these things.

I, however, get attached.  And the loss of Jonathan War Eagle made me sad.  I’m going to miss that crazy Indian, as we often referred to him for his antics.  I will miss his butt-load of money, enterprising ideas and 50 feet of rope.  Wade will create a new character.  Life will go on.  War Eagle was never real to begin with, yet, I somehow still feel a bit of a loss.

And so, I have to blog and say good-bye to my “friend” who very nearly killed me (via Violet) a few times and who very much saved my butt a couple of times.  He was a good and loyal friend.   RIP, Jonathan War Eagle.

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