About a week ago, my friends and I all got killed live on the internet. Twice. Wait, let me back things up. We were on this show called The Gauntlet and… Hmm. I may need to back this up further.
I’ve been a tabletop gamer for longer than I’ve been an actor. I started with Marvel Super Heroes, moved up to Star Wars (the old D6) system, then the World of Darkness games (during my angsty high school years). It wasn’t until I hit college that I really got into the most iconic RPG of all time, Dungeons & Dragons. 3rd edition came out when I was a Sophomore, and I remember getting my core sourcebooks in the mail when I was living in a real castle in The Netherlands. They were a constant travel companion with me as I rode trains around Europe, exploring old cities. It was during these overnight train trips that I designed my first dungeon; a dungeon that I ran for a new group of gaming friends as soon as I got back to Boston. From there, I was hooked. We had regular games off and on until I graduated. Such good memories.
Anyhow, if you’re a gamer, then you know how after Wizards of the Coast announced D&D 4th edition (a complete departure from the trappings of the previous system), Paizo Publishing took the bones of 3rd edition (and 3.5) via the Open Gaming License and created Pathfinder.
What does all this have to do with anything? Well, over the course of my life, gaming has provided me with some interesting opportunities. It has made me a better actor, a better improviser, and a better writer. I even got to work on the movie Role Models for over a week because of my LARPing experience.
Now, here we are almost 20 years later, and during Hollywood Fringe this year I get a personal invitation from my friend Chris Bramante to take a team through The Gauntlet; a game broadcast live on the internet that he DMs. Of course I said yes, and I assembled a team comprised of Theatre Unleashed’s finest role players and improvisers for what was sure to be a memorable night of murderhoboism and mayhem.
We had Spencer Cantrell as Giorg the Great, Sammi Lappin as Imogen (last name Nunnaya, as in nunnaya business), Lee Pollero as Flip the Fighter, and I played Tiny the Barbarian. A berserker, two fighters and a rogue in a Pathfinder-lite dungeon crawl.
No arcane or divine support.
No crowd control.
What could go wrong?
Well, in a word, everything.
And it was glorious.
There were not one, but two TPKs
(marking both the first and second time I’ve ever been a part of such an event).
If you want, scroll up and watch the madness unfold. I won’t reveal how it all went down, but the first TPK is about an hour and 10 minutes into the video. The look on our collective faces as the realization of what just happened dawns on us is priceless.
Thank you Chris and the HyperRPG team for having us on to play! I do hope that we get a chance to come back and play again. We had a great time, even though we only managed to get into the second of three rooms in the dungeon.
And now, I’m going to go pour one out for my poor barbarian.
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