Just got a whiff of something — someone’s hand cream, maybe, or a perfume, I’m not really sure, can’t quite identify what I’m smelling. Vaguely floral, maybe, I think.
Whatever it was, it sent me reeling back more than ten years, to the late spring/early summer days when I first started gaming, flipping through the pages of Mage: The Ascension (2nd edition 4-eva!), and trying to wrap my head around the rules of this incredible new world, the anticipation of what kind of character I’d play, who she’d be.**
I can’t even identify why that particular smell makes me flash back to it — maybe there was some kind of shampoo or lotion or soap I used to use, or… I dunno. Something, from the where and when of those days.
But yeah, I’m sitting here, on a February day suddenly feeling like it’s May or June, like I’m at my parents’ kitchen table trying to explain the whole concept of table top gaming to my mother, insisting that no, I’m not going to end up in a ditch in six months’ time, sacrificed to some dark D&D gods.
I’m cramming the concepts of avatar and sphere and gilgul and Tradition into my head, hoping I get the idea of quintessence right, and don’t fuck up so badly on my first night that I accrue enough paradox to be sent into Quiet.
Turns out, I didn’t need to worry about any of those things, really, though they were all important in different ways. Those first few sessions were vastly different than what I’d imagined they’d be, and thank god, really. If we’d started out by diving into a world filled with Tradition politics and intrigue, I’d have been in way over my head. Instead, we started small, just the PCs getting themselves in trouble, chased by the bad guys and getting away, getting into more trouble the next time, the world slowly expanding as I figured it out.
In later years, we’d get into the bigger picture — not just affected by Tradition politics but eventually affecting them ourselves, sometimes with those same characters, but mostly with others (though those original ones had cameos in other games, long after those first adventures were finished. We could never quite let them go).
Anyway, whoever it was that smelled all flowery has walked away. Scent’s gone, memory remains.
**And, to be honest, I look back at her concept and /facepalm a bit, amazed that the gents didn’t take one look at the character sheet and backstory and declare me unfit for their troupe. She had a lot of potential to be a Mary Sue. I think I managed to keep her from being one entirely, but eek.