Every now and then I catch myself thinking of real life in the framework of some game world or another. There’s something strangely calming about thinking that life follows a simple set of rules as laid down by White Wolf or Wizards of the Coast or whoever.

Today, it happened while I was leveling my cooking skill preparing dinner, as inspired by watching my friends play The Sims. Yesterday, however, a far more complex and elaborated version played out in my head as I was dragging my ass home toward the end of as epic a run as I’ve had.

Making my way northwest up the decidedly un-Torontonian curve of Niagara Street, kilometer six was drawing to a close and I was feeling tired. Very tired. My legs hurt, my feet were beginning to go a little numb from the repeated pounding on the pavement and I just wanted to sit down. I slowed my pace for a minute, I shook my shoulders out, and I concentrated on my breathing… and I realized what I had just done. I had responded to my failed athletics (2) + stamina (2) roll and spent a willpower point, thus providing the one guaranteed success I needed to continue the run and not just curl into a ball on the sidewalk.

For those not familiar with the White Wolf system, most activities are performed using an attribute score (strength, perception, charisma, etc) and an appropriate skill (acrobatics, social, science). One rolls a number of 10-sided dice equal to the combination of points one’s character has in the attribute & the skill. More challenging tasks require more successes, where rolling a 7 or higher on a 10-sided die counts as one success. In my particular (real-life) case, I rolled four d10s and came up either with no successes, or simply not enough to overcome the mounting difficulty of my run. As it was in my best interest to keep going, I spent a point of willpower (a certain, valuable, oh-shit resource) to earn one success and hobble home.

After my (somewhat beleaguered) mind grasped onto this idea, it continued to elaborate upon it – figuring out how to best model a system of extended exertion (requiring more successes as fatigue becomes more of an issue), and think about modifiers to the difficulty (cool, rainy day, -2 successes needed. Nipple Tape of Chafe Resistance +1 helping to mitigate some exertion-related stresses).

On the topic of the run in general, it was long, and difficult, but also extremely satisfying. I ran through the crowd leaving a soccer game (i expect), and enjoyed making a small spectacle of myself. Look at me! I’m not like you, look at this weird thing I’m doing that’s not like what you’re doing!

Finally, I’d like to thank my iPod’s shuffle for deciding to put Syncopix’s Nightlistener on for a second time, right as I neared home. It’s a pretty cheesy song to listen to, sitting at one’s desk, but it was just what I needed to get me home.

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