Thursday, November 28, 2013

Goodbye, Grid

This week, a great era came to an end.

My group completed their second (two of them their third) Paizo campaign; Skull and Shackles. While my updates about said campaign have been scarce, to say the least, I do have a few thoughts to share on the matter. But first things first:

It was time to put away a dear old friend of mine. My battle grid.
Those of you who’ve owned and used a BG for an extended amount of time will nod in recognition when I say that you’ll be amazed at how many memories can be cramped down into a flat piece of canvas. Or whatever this stuff is made from. I’ll just go with ‘dreams and fairytales’.

I bought my BG back in 2004, which was kind of a huge thing for me, seeing as how it was my first time to ever use miniatures in my D&D games. Before that, I was so used to the AD&D “I move up and hit it with my sword” mentality. It was a very smooth conversion, however, especially once I started getting my hands on some nifty minis (you know, back when you could by those oblong boosters with minis - I loved those!) and the grid had its virgin trip in my first serious campaign “The Records of the Sembia Wars” - a 3.5 campaign for five of my friends that went from level 1 to 18 in the span of four years. In between he was dragged to play with strangers on a monthly basis, with the odd weekend here and there for our various other sessions, and then we started the “Savage Tide” campaign. All the way from 1-20 over 1½ year, he just took it every Wednesday evening; having rooms, corridors, halls, arenas and various (sometimes rather immature) drawn on him. Session after session. Night after night.

He was brought along into “Carrion Crown” when we started Pathfinder for real in 2011, and completed the entire campaign with my players. Once again did he endure the shouting, drawing and spilling of various liquids on him without a complaint. We pressed on, firing up Skull and Shackles in august, 2012 and after so much time we’re finally here at the end where the players became the pirates of the day and went home.
But Grid had started showing signs up his age. Like an old dog, his heart still beating with kindness and joy, in a body that just can’t keep up anymore, it almost felt as if he was quite ready for another adventure. Only time had taken its toll on him, along with enough spirit-washes, that his lines were barely there anymore. The colors faded, the texture stiff and dented. I remember we all looked at him, laughing about how hard it was in the end to figure out exactly how long you had to move your mini in order to show a 5-foot step.

And I made a decision. Grid had lived to serve his share and deserved peace now. Throughout nine years, this Christmas, has he served me and I can’t even imagine how many stories he knows and how much pain, fumbles, wipes, glory, and joy he witnessed. You could say I’m making a huge fuss out of this; but then again - I don’t think I am. In all respects, dice come and go (and get lost or hurled through the window), minis break and players grow older. But battle grids are eternal.

There are still imprints on it, showing some of the very old rooms that just didn’t want to come off because we used a killer-pen. Some of them I remember and some are lost in the past. The interesting thing was, when I posted it on facebook, that a lot of my friends chimed in to show their respect, remembering they too had seen their share of adventures.

So there you have it, Grid. Thanks for all the adventures. Your successor stands ready, in awe of your stories. You have indeed deserved a place on my wall, in a frame, along with the last room ever drawn - the boss fight of “Skull and Shackles”. I couldn’t think of any better way to go out in style.

Hug your battle grid today. They love you and they should have all the respect they deserve.

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