What Gaming Has Taught Me For The Real World

What Gaming Has Taught Me For The Real World
Kay Rice

After an enjoyable conversation with my nephew, yes Logan that would be you, and my son Jon, which tossed me back into my days of gaming. I was happily reminded that all those years of fun and games were more than just fun and games. Back in my early years of gaming, I discovered graph paper, dice and Dungeons and Dragons, and a world opened up to my imagination and to writing. Dragons were quickly pushed to the side with Klingon and Starships in a similar game, Star Fleet Academy. Trust me, Captain Kirk is not the only one to beat the Kobayashi Maru and live to tell about it. As years, and technology progressed, my graph paper and mounds of character statical journals found dust as I discovered World of WarCraft, Spore and Vampirates. My heart still longs for the days of graph paper and the random roll of the dice and praying “don’t be a one, don’t be a one”.

But I happily digress. All those wasted hours were not wasted at all but in fact the foundation of who I should have been all along, and lessons that perhaps I should have listened to a little more carefully outside of the college library meeting room were right there. First, however, allow me to introduce you to someone. Her name is Romilly Rhonane Elserves. She is a Drow elf warrior, exiled priestess, with a chip on her shoulder. Romilly is well, a no nonsense, always planning, craving the battle bad-ass. Now when she was rolled into existence that late August evening in 1982, she was a “non-player character”, I had to bribe the Dungeon Master to let me play her as my¬†character with my share of pizza that night. Eventually, and against his better judgement, he allowed Romilly to step forward and so her existence began. Here are the lessons I’ve learned through Romilly about life through gaming.

Lesson #1: Never, ever, ever wear your heart (or soul stone) on your sleeve for everyone to see. For obvious reasons once you are sized up and decided what kind of character you really are, especially a soft-hearted girl, it is a struggle to gain any other reputation over top of it. Hearts and soul-stones are easily broken if they are left out in the open. Both are bad.

Lesson #2: Never carry anything you can’t use. Romilly was a traveler, if it had no use, it had no place. Well, that went for people, creatures and anything else as well, but especially for items. If you don’t use a potion, trade it, if you don’t need that second sword, sell it. Hording is best left for trolls and Ferengie.

Lesson #3: If it has eight legs, leave it the heck alone! Romilly, being Drow, is very respectful of the Drow deity, Loth, but she also knows that spiders mean trouble. Spiders are not friends, they are predators. Smile, don’t turn your back and walk away slowly.

Lesson #4: If you are approached by that Knight in shining armour, a paladin, his hair perfect, his smile shining, his armour so bright it could blind the sun itself. Put your guard up, immediately. He’s a fake. Hero’s do exist, but they look like us and you can bet their boots have as much mud on them from real battle as you do.

Lesson #5: Never get too cocky. When you are on top of your game, someone in your own group is looking for the chance to steal your gold and knock you off your high-horse. If you think you are the best, keep it to yourself and constantly prove that you are what you think you are, but don’t be so bold as to announce it to the world.

Lesson #6: The fates have a sense of humor. If you are suddenly surrounded by ghouls and skeletons, you WILL roll a dreaded 1. You will drop your sword and run away like a total dork, screaming. You will also be reminded of this feat of amazement for approximately six campaigns by your own group, if not by the Dungeon Master himself.

Lesson #7: The more you practice, the better you get. Romilly would use any time possible to practice her art with the bow and long sword. Thus avoiding the dreaded, role of the one, as much as possible. No one picks up the game and starts rolling perfect hits, defensive tactics and potions. Practice, pay attention, know your surroundings. Practice, practice, practice.

Lesson #8: Do not steal from the members of your own group. So, the druid has a really cool robe of invisibility that you would love to have. Even winning this item in a ‘friendly game of cards’ could be considered stealing if it is not done on the up-and-up. Point is, payback is not kind. You may find your quiver of arrows empty at just the wrong time. Just saying.

Lesson #9: Ogres are bullies. Every campaign runs into one, or a dozen. They are big, stupid, bullies. They can also ruin a game quickly. Don’t beat them at their own game, think above them, get around them, move on. Take joy if you can topple one over on the way.

Lesson #10: NEVER, EVER, EVER, EVER Tick-off the Dungeon Master/Game Master. Be grateful to his sage advise and hints and take your lumps like everyone else. Otherwise, oh pompous Human male Knight of grand stature, you too, can be turned into a purple, hobbit with ta-ta’s the size of cantaloupes.

And thus are the ten most useful things I learned from all those years of gaming. So, it wasn’t just a waste of time and graph paper, it was learning about life.

Until next time, may your dreams become your wings and may they take you to new heights of imagination.

Kay Rice

Time to Rest #FWF

Time to Rest
Kay Rice

The problem with flying is that you need to land,
Soaring among the clouds is intoxicating and grand.
It becomes such a desire to soar above the clouds,
It tends to make one exceptionally proud.

Just as the eagle soars above, moving so fast,
She is bound to hit those dreaded downdrafts.
Plummeting down to the mercy of the wind,
Until she can find her balance again.

The time will come when the wings need rest.
To take shelter in the warmth of her nest.
Flight is grand, oh so grand, but comes with a price,
Keep your dreams and your heart from being sacrificed.

While finding joy to fly so high and so near the sun,
Pay close attention, as some feathers come undone.
Slow down, glide peacefully to the home, the nest,
Take comfort in the warmth as you sleep and rest.

Then when the sun rises, and sleep shakes away,
Stand up and stretch your wings to a new day.
Keep humble the pride to soar high above,
And keep close to you, those whom you love.




Kay Rice

She sat there, staring, at the face in the mirror.
Not quite certain if she saw power or fear.
The spark in her eyes, flared like a fire,
The time engrained on her face was far from tired.

Clutching the vanity shelf, as if trying to hold on,
Convincing herself the transformation was not wrong.
Youth replaced years, once worn on her face,
Yet the tormented memories were still in place.

This world of hers, had failed her many times before,
Until she accepted the gift which promised much more.
Darkness for light, life over her own impending death,
She turned away from anything that was left.

In life she was a shadow, a prisoner of lies,
Now revenge grew like a fire deep in her eyes.
The change she felt from the well of her soul,
The change which took over, was making her whole.

She sat there staring at what she’d become,
Some would call her a monster, yet a hero to some.
Neatly painted nails, now sharp as razors and knives,
Her heart pounded as the new form began to rise.

The face in the mirror was still hers by name,
Yet she knew inside, she would never be the same.
She knew the only fear she now had to hide,
Was the temptation to become, the wolf inside.


Who I am (A child’s voice)

Who I am (A child’s voice)
Kay Rice

A childish voice yells, “I’m Batman Today”!
Dressed in pajamas and a sheet for a cape,
A serious pose, holds back his grin,
In HIS world, he’s the hero to all his friends.

A childish voice whispers “Today, I’m a pony”.
I gallop around in a field full of posies,
A happy-go-lucky clap, he mimics for hooves,
and a scarf tied to his jeans for a tail to swoosh.

A childish voice proclaims out loud “Today, I’m a rock-star”!
I sing and yell and I travel so far,
As he dances to the sound of his radio blaring,
and dreams of fans, his name they are yelling.

A childish voice cries out “Today, I am afraid”.
I don’t know what to be or what I have made,
I’m me, but who am I, deep down inside?
I’d like to find out, but today I’d much rather hide.

A young man steps forward, from dreams and school days,
All grown up from childish things, ready to make his own way,
A hero, a mustang, a rock star, he stands tall and with grace,
All his dreams have given him the courage to find his place.


Written for my wonderful blessing of a son, Jon.


Blue Roses

Blue Roses
Kay Rice

A petal falls from the bouquet of blue,
Once alive ad firm as they arrived from you.
Beautiful blue roses graced this room,
Sadly, they wilt all too soon.

A rose for each year you knew my smile,
A rose for all that time separated by miles.
A rose for the day you first kissed my lips,
A rose for the first time you embraced my hips.

Each rose a meaning and sealed with a kiss,
Each rose has its own special ist.
You remembered my love of roses so blue,
and bring them to me to show your love so true.

Beautiful blue roses to show me your heart,
yet sadly they wilt and soon will depart.
Yet, what is this one in the middle standing so high?
One single rose that will never die.

This one single rose is the symbol of your eternal love,
A rose so perfect and as soft as a dove.
A rose like your love which will never die,
A rose to always be kept and cherished by my side.


Teaching the Phoenix to Fly

Teaching the Phoenix to Fly
Kay Rice

You saw the phoenix as the sparrow took her last breath,
unable to fly or to sing, there was nothing left.
A fragile small frame that encased a soul larger than life,
smothered and suffocated through years of torment and strife.

You saw the wings, spread out in the night,
long before they ever knew how to take flight.
Strength that was born from silent screams,
memories that haunt long tortured dreams.

You saw the fire in the back of darkened eyes,
a spark long forgotten in years gone by.
A memory of dreams made in youthful days,
long before life became lost in its dark maze.

You saw her rise, proud and strong from the back of the room,
like a butterfly breaking loose from its tight cocoon.
You saw her breath warm the frosted air all around,
and break loose the tethers where once she was bound.

You saw the phoenix rise long before she cried out,
you heard her cries long before she knew how to shout.
You taught her to strike and face all her fears,
most of all you, kissed away all of her tears.

You raised the spirit of a phoenix from a sparrow’s last breath,
and you showed her a life when there was nothing left.
You gave her a voice when her song was all but done,
you taught her to fly when she could no longer run.

And for all of these things, I say ‘I love you’,
as you take my hand and we face each day new.
As my eyes are now open and my wings feel the sky,
You and you alone taught this phoenix to fly.