Star Wars is woven throughout the fabric of my existence. I am far from alone in this regard because Star Wars matters to a lot of people around the world. With the new movie debuting later this year, and Force Friday happening today, it feels like a good time to explain why I find Star Wars so important. I spent some time earlier this year at Star Wars Celebration with tens of thousands of people who could share a similar story about how Star Wars has affected their lives. Every one of those stories is original and valid.
This one is mine.
Before delving into the details of what it was like to be at Star Wars Celebration back in April, I want to explain the various stages of my Star Wars fandom and experiences throughout my life. I was born in New Jersey in 1976, so I was too young to be aware of the first movie’s imprint on society in 1977. As I grew up, I became a fan because Star Wars toys were everywhere – and I wanted them all! My mother referred to me back then as Greedy Smurf, which is a title I thankfully outgrew (right, mom?!). I recall watching Star Wars in my living room whenever I could find it on the cable channel, PRISM. This was before the days of digital downloads, DVRs, Blu-rays, DVDs, Laserdiscs or even VHS tapes – so finding a movie you wanted to watch took planning and the local TV Guide. For example, discovering that Star Wars was going to play on PRISM next Friday night became appointment viewing. My aunt or grandmother would sometimes call our house to alert me that Star Wars was going to be on television. My fandom started in this way, sitting cross-legged on the floor in front of an old box TV watching Luke leave his home to partake in a grand adventure.
My memory tells me that the first time I saw Empire Strikes Back was on a VHS tape at my aunt Eileen’s house while the rest of the family were off doing something else; I could be mistaken. The scene that hit me like a bolt of lightning was Luke in the snow cave on Hoth. Helpless and dangling from the roof of the cave, Luke senses danger, closes his eyes, and wills his lightsaber to leap from the snow and into hand just in time to fend off a raging monster.
That was it.
That was the moment!
I had heard “Old Ben” teach Luke about The Force many times in the first movie and watched Luke trust his feelings to blow up The Death Star, but it was not until that moment when Star Wars connected with me on an existential level.
Exactly one year ago today, I published the first post on my blog with a brief introduction about me and my plans for the site. For those that are new to The Id DM, the following post serves as a brief historical overview of the site and highlights columns you might have missed during the year. Looking back from that first day of the blog and processing all that has happened since then is a strange thing. By all possible measures, the blog has been a success beyond my wildest expectations. I have many people to thank, and will certainly do that below. The Id DM is a creative outlet for me. I don’t receive any income from the site and I have at times found running the site to be more stressful than anything else going on in my life. I can only guess on the total number of hours, days and weeks during the past year devoted to planning, writing, editing and posting articles.
I enjoy writing and have considered starting a website in the past, but never found a concept that truly motivated me to execute the plan. Before inspiration struck me to write about my roleplaying game experiences, I had consumed a great deal of information about running combat in 4th Edition and the propensity for the game to slow down and grind to a halt. Many opinions were offered to solve the problem, but there was no data to be found to support arguments one way or the other. I found myself with something unique to add to the discussion. I knew I could analyze encounters and present data on statistics such as turn length by player and length of combat by round. I spent the better portion of a week coding episodes of the Penny Arcade podcast series and organizing the results.
I posted the results on my blog and hoped that a few people would read about it. I did allow myself pie-in-the-sky hopes that the guys who actually played in the game would read the column and respond – so perhaps I lied earlier when I said all of my wildest expectations have been achieved! Who doesn’t want their efforts rewarded with Wil Wheaton’s blessing on Twitter? That’s frame worthy! But I digress . . .
The feedback I received to the analysis of combat speed was fantastic; it motivated me to continue writing. Without that early interaction with others in the online D&D community, my desire to create new content for the blog may have fizzled. However, it seemed that at least a few people were interested in what I had to say and I continued to write and write. During the past year, The Id DM has featured 80 posts comprised of 173,726 words including 11 interviews.
Thank you for seeking out/stumbling upon this site. I am looking forward to writing about my experiences with Dungeons & Dragons, 4th Edition (D&D 4e). The majority of posts will focus on the task of running the game as the Dungeon Master (DM), although I will discuss my experiences as a player character (PC) on occasion.
I started playing D&D 4e back in the summer of 2009. Before that, I hadn’t played D&D in 15-20 years. I’m now 34, and don’t have nearly the amount of free time on my hands as I did when I was a teenager! This results in me having to do what I can in a short amount of time to get ready for each night that I DM. If you’d like to know more details about me (or why I chose the name, The Id DM, please check out the appropriately named About Me page.
If I can offer only one piece of advice in this first post, then here it is – All PCs should try to DM a few sessions, and all DMs should play a few sessions as a PC.
I played 4e for months before I tried to create and run an adventure, and I continue to play as a PC on the weeks when I am not DMing a separate campaign. The knowledge and perspective gained from functioning on both sides of the DM screen have increased my enjoyment while playing and DMing.
I’ll elaborate on this and many other topics in the future. I look forward to receiving feedback and interacting with other DMs and PCs out there.