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Steal the Sky: The Scorched Continent Book One
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Of Dice and Men

Of Dice and Men - Cameron McNary I was lucky enough to be one of those people crammed into that crowded panel room at PAX 2010 to see the world premiere of this play. To my knowledge it was the first ever world premiere of a play at a fan convention. We waited in line for a couple of hours just to get in, and there were enough people turned away at the door to fill the room a second time. And it really was something to be part of that experience. The energy in the room was amazing. Everyone was laughing at the jokes. I know I cried at the end, and looking around me I knew I wasn't the only one.

I decided to re-read this play today to see if it held up outside of the frenetic energy of the live performance, and I'm pleased to say I'm currently wiping tears from my eyes again. What really makes this story so great is that it's not a pop-culture-fest full of stereotypes to cash in on the current popularity of geek culture; nor is it something only for those in the 'secret club' of geekdom. I personally have only played a handful of tabletop games, mostly 'newbie' sessions at gaming cons, just enough to understand the game basics, and I didn't feel like I was missing anything.

While it is about the game and the D&D characters, the main focus is on relationships, both in and out of the game. The playwright also goes to great pains to emphasize that these characters are not supposed to be played up as caricatures or stereotypes of the basement-dwelling gamer geek. The characters are real people, dealing with issues such as loss, love, growing up and moving on. At its heart, this is a universal story of a group of young adults whose social circle just happens to be a D&D gaming group.

I'd love to see more local theatre troupes pick this one up.