Dungeons and Dragons and other tabletop roleplaying games continue to blow me away at the sheer amazingness that can happen. Honestly, I can't MAKE UP the kind of garbage that happens in these worlds. For instance:
Last night, we were in a Tomb of Horrors-esque dungeon designed by an awesome roommate. There were 3 of us and it was taking our ALL just to survive-- and not even that. She had created a cheap way for us to revive ourselves within the dungeon because she WANTS us to die horrible deaths over and over again. The effect worked wonders on our character's psyches. Our paladin after dying twice basically thought that her god betrayed her and through her actions lost her paladin powers, our rogue stopped giving half a shit about traps and just kind of ran in hoping the best as he couldn't detect half the traps anyway, and I ... well I'm pretty freaking neutral good, so I hung out with my pet squirrel and hoped for the best knowing that helping was all I can do.
As it was D&D, the normal derptasticness began happening quickly. At one point in a fight with a Gibbering Mouther, our elf was confused and was sheathing/unsheathing his weapon over and over sensually, our paladin was blind and swinging wildly at a bedpost she thought was the enemy, and the two fearless halflings were throwing rocks (and rolling criticals) from afar at the foe who for no apparent reason was on top of a bunk bed.
The uniqueness began to happen when we found a magical deck of tarot cards. At this point, we were at rock bottom. We had been traveling nowhere but downward for over 4 days. Each of us had either died or been at the brink of death multiple times and suffered random personality changes (our Paladin had to wear a tutu and bells by this point but was insulted if you mentioned them) and VAST material loss because of it.
This sense of hopelessness we lived in was just enough for 2 of our 3 members to draw cards from the deck their once alloted time. Nick drew 4. The first gave him a whopping ten THOUSAND experience, putting him a good 2 levels above me and Ashley. The second summoned Death himself to have a duel with him. If he lost, he was gone forever-- no resurrection spell of ANY power or even a greater wish could bring him back. He carefully leveled himself, but he died within moments. The third and fourth sprang forth magically from the deck. The third summoned a lvl 4 fighter in the service of the drawer. The fourth randomly shifting the alignment of the drawer. Against all probability, this deck that took Nick's life instantly gave it back. A Lawful Good Fighter of the 4th level suddenly appears, confused yet exceedingly willing to help and constantly searching the Earth for one whose soul is banished forever in the hands of death himself.
Our paladin, having lost hope in her god in favor of the foul magics of this place draws next. She drew 3. She drew 50,000 experience right off the bat and was high as a kite. This would put her at the legendary status of lvl 11. Her second card imprisoned her body hundreds of miles below the surface of the Earth in suspended animation. And even after the most ridiculous shuffling I have ever seen, Death shows up again to coup de gras her. ... I didn't fucking touch the deck after that, but I had an idea. I tried to play a game with the dragon of the dungeon. He was the only thing standing in my way as I could turn into a bird and fly out of here easily if he wasn't a faster flyer than me. If there was one thing my character was good at, it was diplomacy and I managed to talk my way into a bargain with a dragon. Our fighter would have a draw-off with the dragon. If our fighter drew through SEVEN cards without dying, the dragon would have to do the same. Seven cards later, we have a legendary fighter who is considered a king on the surface, with a magical weapon that we rolled so high on I don't think entire sovereign nations could afford to buy, with the supernatural ability to know exactly what to do in the next-and-only-the-next dire situation, another lvl 4 fighter squire (this time played by Ashley as she was now perma-dead), and the only bad thing that happened was a permanent unlucky -1 to all saving throws.
No one could believe this shit. The dragon opened its mouth to incinerate us on the spot. Nick asks, "does this count as a dire situation? Ok then, I'm going to use my supernatural ability to run down these stairs before my body can react to what is going on." I reflexed my way down the stairs barely.
So here we are in a lvl 8 dungeon with a lvl 8, a lvl 11, and a lvl 4-- a strangely balanced group of exactly the size we had before hopelessness drove us to make a pact with fate. What took life, invariably gave it back. What was lost was replaced. In all the possible ways this could have unveiled, it worked out. This is the magic of tabletop gaming. There are no rules-- only guidelines. There are no plots-- only dungeons, crafted with care and yet limited only by the imagination of the DM and the machinations of fate. One can do anything and travel to the ends of every imaginable world. The strangest part is that I am not creative enough to write a story where these things happen, yet it doesn't matter because they HAPPEN regardless of what the DM plans. A supernatural life and a spirit beyond all of us weaves tales into these worlds we create and our imagination summons them into reality. I continue to play because I continue to desire to see what will happen next.
... Much is the same with life. I feel that I have every reason to stop listening to these stories, yet there are things that keep me listening. Stories that swell my heart, experiences that weigh on my soul, moments where I feel necessary, and laughter that paralyzes all else. These things cause me to continue to play this game. This life has emptied me out and that emptiness seems so unbearable at times. Yet what is empty can be filled. God. If you are inside my heart, hear my prayer. Grant me the serenity to see just one more adventure. Always-- just one more.