Role Playing Games try to simulate the way we interact with the world and break the elements down to a few essentials. These essentials are then simplified and incorporated into the game as the designer envisions. For example, my character might be described as having 12 Strength, 15 Dexterity, 17 Intelligence, 15 Wisdom and 12 Stamina. If I tell you that the numbers represent a relative value from 1 to 18, you would be able to guess that my character is a scrawny geek with decent reflexes.
Fortunately RPG’s usually give you a way to improve these stats, questing. It’s usually something along the lines of kill 2000 frogs and get +1 to strength. It’s also usually a one time deal just to make sure not everyone is 18 Strength.
Why am I talking about games? I wanted to point out that we also have quests in real life. They are not always called quests, the rewards are not always as clear, the goals are not as simple but the mechanism is still there. My first optional quest was college. Think of it in these terms, I could have joined the military, improving Strength, Dexterity and Stamina but I chose to go to college for an increase in Intelligence and Wisdom. There may be some argument about how well I succeeded but that’s a different post. High school was similar but non-optional. I took up Fencing as a hobby and by sticking with it gained in Dexterity and Stamina.
If you read my previous post with the “utter social ineptitude”, you can guess if there were a score for Social Ability, engineers would tend to be very low on the scale. My personal stats (sorry, gamer for statistics) in that area were very low. There are certainly a number of quests that allow you to improve these traits. Toast Masters is an excellent program to help you to interact. Being the person I was, I chose efficiency. That which does not kill us and all that. I joined a local renaissance festival for several years. Talk about culture shock to an engineer. Wear tights? Sing in public? Hug my neighbor? Touching was not part of the deal.
By the end of my quest, I had acquired a wife, a number of very good friends, and very different perspective on human interaction. I was even able have discussions with strangers and not break out in a cold sweat. I can even exchange hugs with non-relatives. I was however, a failure at singing, dancing and even drinking. As I said, I started with very low stats.
After all this you’re probably still wondering what’s the point. This blog is a quest for me. My nature is still reserved, still isolated. By writing this blog, I’m forcing myself to open up and actually share thoughts, opinions, ideas and a little bit of my personal life with friends, family and total strangers. So far I’m improving my writing skills (there might be some argument there too), learning HTML, XML, Python, WordPress and a few other programs. I’m having to consider what people might find thought provoking or funny in my writing.
So far the rewards have outweighed the challenges. I’m looking forward to seeing where this blog leads me.
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