My tools this time: Google+, Skype, Roll20.net, iPad, GURPS Character Assistant, Gmail, and a multi-monitor PC. Not the familiar stacks of books, bags of dice and a table covered in figures and snacks, but somehow it still feels right, the same side chatter, the same distractions, the same laughter.
I'm a bit overwhelmed by all the cool new toys. My attention being pulled from widget to gizmo and then to some other shiny object. Before I am truly ready and in accordance with a long held tradition. my new PC is dumped on the party. My digital avatar is placed on a pixel based grid along with the other PCs. I stumble through a threadbare introduction, failing both my geek and RPG skill rolls. The required descriptive exchanges go around and I start to feel that old tingle in the imagination. just as the niceties are wrapping up the GM dumps a nighttime orc raid on the camp.
Map spaces outside of our campsite light are concealed in a black fog of war. The Dwarfs night vision lets him see farther into the darkness. A list of all combatants shows up on the map, battle order is set. Orc raiders moves are measured, facings are set and range attacks taken.
Now it's our turn, spells are cast with dice rolls showing up in a game log. We can make notes on the map and tag our avatar to show effects they are enduring. It's not long before I am less infatuated with the bells and whistles and simply enjoying the feeling of the game. It doesn't matter that my ranger can't load his bow, much less get a good shot off, I am still having FUN!
It has literally been years since I have been able to sit down with a group of gamers and sling dice. The fact that the group is all over the USA and the dice are virtual do not appear to be giving me any problem at all, the old enjoyment is still there. Dang it is good to game again.