What's it about?
When Tilly Evans dies, she leaves beyond a nerdy legacy the likes of no other. When Agnes Evans, Tilly's older sister, discovered the legacy in the form of a homebrew Dungeons & Dragons module, she decides she wants to know more about the sister she lost.
The following example of play is meant to simulate a game between a DM and one player.
Example of play:
DM: You find yourself resting in the Valley of Understanding, deep within the territory of Ravenstroll. To the right of the valley, the Pit of Your Deepest Anxieties. To the left of the valley, The Mountain of Your Greatest Loves. You rise, this sense of doubt welling within you. What do you want to do?
Justin: I want to piece together how I ended up here.
DM: Sounds like a History Check to me.
Justin rolls an 18
DM: Tell me, what do you know, how did you get here?
Justin: Do you ever have multiple things that you love? Those things that you kind of classify as your hobbies? If I had to summarize a few of the things that interest me the most, it'd be theater and tabletop gaming. To specify, I especially love The Flea Theater and really small theaters with really awesome, small productions; and I pour my heart and soul into tabletop roleplaying games, way beyond just the big two - Dungeons and Dragons and Shadowrun. So, when I found out that a formally Flea Theater play about Dungeons and Dragons (which I had missed during its initial run) was being re-produced by a small theater company for an awesome limited run, I was fucking there. I bought a ticket as soon as they went on sale, last showing, Saturday night. They started a fundraiser to help make the production better and I threw money at that as well. I knew I wanted to see this good, good show. I was invested before "Go" and I stayed invested up to the end of the show. Oh, and I was listed in the playbill as a "sponsor" which sounds so fancy and I did not even know about until I saw it at the show and that was pretty freakin' metal.
Can I discuss the nature of the show?
DM: That sounds like an Investigation Check to me.
Justin Rolls an 11
Justin: The question of the show, from the beginning, is what do we leave behind when it's over? When our time is up, no matter how soon, what do we leave behind for the people who survive without memory? I think a lot about what I'd leave behind if I died suddenly. And not just your possessions, your books and things. What do you imprint your soul on for the people that follow you? When my grandmother died, she left me with an old troll doll that used to belong to her, and a little heart-shaped pin with the word MOM across it, along with a crate of old paperwork she had carefully sorted, a detailed account of a life lived. My grandfather left me a half-finished pack of Lucky Strikes and a black rosary with the left arm of Christ and the cross having broken off, and a bunch of pictures he took while he was in the Korean War.
So, when I go, what do I leave? A bunch of scribbled-in, barely legible notebooks, hinting at ideas never acted upon? A couple of Tabletop RPG system conversions I tried to get working? A couple of short stories, two little (really bad) collections of poetry, and the personal notes I tracked out in my many books as I read them? The articles on this very website? I suppose Tilly Evans left behind nothing of major significance either, besides her module. I wonder what I leave behind will mean to whoever digs through it. Will they wonder who I really was when I was away from them? I suppose I won't know, you know? And that's okay, because what people read about me from my work is up to them to decipher. I'd like to find a more subtle way to explain my next point?
DM: How about a Performance Check?
Justin Rolls a 1
Justin: Long live your fucking hobbies, right? Those beautiful little things that you put dedicated love and care into, you know? You might enjoy your job and the work you put in there, but it is those hobbies I bet people really know you for. Making music, or writing prose or poetry, or crafting whole worlds for fun, or playing fucking tabletop RPGs or whatever. That's the shit that survives you, I think. People might remember the amazing things you did as your job, but people who care will always talk about what you decided to do in your off time, and that's fucking cool. Benjamin Franklin was a fucking politician, I only ever hear people talk about his hobbies. How often do you hear about his political decisions instead of the time he flew a kite with a key to learn about electricity? Put that love in, make the world want to talk about what you're doing with your real life, your proper time.
Can I find a way to talk about the show and support without sounding all "critic-y"?
DM: If you can give me a successful Insight Check, I'll let you pass.
Justin Rolls a 20
DM: Go Wild.
Justin: Support your local fucking hobby shops, whatever your hobby shop is. For me, for this article, I'm saying to support your local game shops. I only really frequent three, when I get around to them, so I'll throw them up. Support Twenty Sided Store in Brooklyn (who sponsored She Kills Monsters), support The Compleat Strategist down in Manhattan, and (if you're into painting models and war gaming, I guess) support the Warhammer outlet in Manhattan too (good ass brushes and paints for miniature painting if not their models). And support those small theaters doing cool shit out in the city. PrismHouse Theater Company put this show together, and they did so well that they've made at least one fan. I patiently wait to see their next production. But, if you hear about the small theaters working, go fucking see their stuff. You never know what amazing talent and gems you'll find tucked away in this city.
PrismHouse produced a wonderfully imaginative spectacle with She Kills Monsters. As a love letter to every thing I love about finding new family and tabletop gaming, this show was killer in every way. I'm glad that, of everywhere I could have been that Saturday night, I dedicated my night to killing monsters with the best damn crew I could have ever seen swing their blades.
Tell us about your experience.
In the comments below.