Being a Tank

Do you play WoW? If you don’t even know what those letters mean then this post may not work for you. I sort of pride myself in being able to explain things to people who aren’t interested in them, but honestly this may even be beyond my level of expertise, but I do have something sort of spiritual to tag onto the end so if you want to stick around you may get a short devotional thought for your effort. If you don’t I will understand.

The game World of Warcraft is wildly popular. That is really an understatement. Ten Million people pay $15 a month for the right to play this game with their friends. If you don’t play it is hard to describe what it is all about. There is a fantasy styled world with lots of computer controlled people, shops, cities, monsters, and dungeons all set up and waiting for you to interact with them. In addition to that there are hundreds of people just like you controlling 3D models of dwarves, elves, humans, orcs, and a variety of other races who are all running around in this world as well. As player you interact with other players and with the computerized world.

While you can play this game alone it is meant to be played with other people. The game really shines when you start finding other people to play with. There are lots of people who have dedicated nights when they log on to meet up with a group of friends (their “raiding party”) and play through content in the game.

To succeed in this social environment part of the game everyone has a role to play and they must play that role or the group will fail. Some people are there just to inflict damage on whatever enemies you face. Others are there to heal the rest of the group and some of the people are there to be the tank.

I recently started being a tank and I have to say that I love it. Now don’t start thinking about a real tank. This is still a fantasy world we are talking about. The tank has one major job. He wades out into the thick of the enemies and basically picks a fight with them. Then he has to stand his ground long enough for the rest of the people to kill the enemies. His job isn’t to inflict the most damage. His job is basically to keep the people from attacking the other people in his group. He even has special gear that makes enemies want to attack him more.

Now I like being the tank for two reasons 1) because I don’t do well hanging back in games and 2) because I feel like it is sort of noble in a weird video game sort of way. There isn’t much glory in being the tank, but the rest of the group can’t survive without you.

Now to the spiritual point. I think sometimes as pastors we are called to be the tank for people in our church. As a “professional” I feel like it is my job to do whatever I can to help the people who volunteer to succeed. If this means that sometimes I need to step in front of a cruel word and take the blame for something that may not have been my fault so be it. I am the tank.

Of course to do this you have to have the right sort of gear. It is important to be able to stand up and take criticism and that is never easy to do, but if we are willing to do that for others then we can sometimes turn the tide of a difficult situation long enough for a peaceful resolution.

Geekstravaganza Scenarios

Geekstravaganza Scenarios

Instructions for Group Leaders:

You are going to be a part of something a little different. Think of it sort of like a “choose your own adventure” book from your younger days. Follow the directions below. After each scenario open up their choice to discussion from the rest of the group.

Directions:

Choose a person in your group to roll 1d4 (That is the pyramid shaped die).

Read the scenario that corresponds to their number. In that scenario that player will be given a choice.

After their choice the scenario have them roll the d20 (the big 20 sided die)

Read the result text that corresponds with their roll.

DO NOT READ the result text until after they have made their choice.

After that person has made their choice and their dice rolls move on to the next person. If they roll the same number as a scenario you have already read they should re-roll until they get one you haven’t completed.

Scenario 1

You are Lothar the Strong. You are a warrior to the core. When people see you they are first blinded by your shiny armor and then in awe of your amazing biceps. You strike fear into the heart of your enemies and inspire courage in your friends. But how you respond to this situation is entirely up to you.

Imagine you are enjoying a fine night of dining at the local inn. You are there early so you are the only customer at the time. You are just about to leave so you pick up your sword and shield when suddenly a dozen bandits burst into the room. They are wearing black with red bandana around their face and they are all carrying swords. Most of them head towards the inn keeper and his wife. Only one guy stands are guards the door.

You have a choice. Will you fight the one guy at the door and leave or will you stay and take on all of the bandits and try to save the inn keeper. Choose wisely because while you will probably can defeat one enemy easily 12 will mean almost certain death.

Result Text:

If you save your own life and fight the guy at the door:

Roll the d20.

1 You die like the coward you are

2-4 You are gravely wounded but you live to run away again another day. Of course the innkeeper and his wife die and you have to live with that shame for the rest of your life, but at least you are alive.

5-20 You easily defeat the bandit at the door. Being a coward does have its advantages. Of course the innkeeper and his wife die and you have to live with that shame for the rest of your life, but at least you are alive.

 

If you choose to help the innkeeper and his wife:

Roll the d20.

1 You trip on your way to help them. You are apparently brave but clumsy. You all die.

2-5 You stand and fight, but ultimately the bandits are too powerful for you. You die along side the innkeeper, but because of your bravery his wife is able to escape

6-18 You stand and fight, but ultimately the bandits are too powerful for you. But because of your bravery the innkeeper and his wife are able to escape. They name their next child Lothar in your honor

19-20 The innkeeper pulls a sword from behind the bar and together the two of you fight to defeat the bandits. In the end you are gravely wounded, but you will live. The local bard sings a song about you and you become the most famous Lothar of all times.

Scenario 2

You are Snedly the Sneaky. You are quick with a joke and a smile. Your life on the streets has made you a talented pickpocket and thief. Recently, however, you have turned your life around and decided to start playing things straight. You have chosen to make your living as a common laborer instead of as a thief. It has been hard to find work, but not as hard as it has been to distance yourself from your old friends.

One day when you are walking home from your temporary job as dish washer you see your old friend Rylar climbing out of the window of the magistrates office with a big sack of gold. He sees you and smiles and says, “Hey Snedly, I hear you have gone straight these days. Well, I bet it doesn’t pay this good.” He holds the bag of gold up in your face and then says, “Now don’t go getting any high and noble ideas on me. If you tell anyone you saw me do this then I will tell them that you were in on the job too and on top of that I will find you at night and gut you like a fish” With that Rylar walks into the night.

So what do you do? Do you turn Rylar in or do you keep your mouth shut?

Result Text
If you turn Rylar in:

Roll a d20
1 Rylar finds you the next night and ends your life, but at least you die knowing you did the right thing.

2-9 Rylar is able to convince the constable that you were part of the job too. You are thrown into prison for your role in the crime, but hey, at least you did the right thing.

10-18 You convince the constable that Rylar was the criminal, and he is thrown in prison.

19-20 You turn Rylar in to the constable and you are given a huge reward for your efforts.

If you decide to keep quiet.

Roll a d20

1-6 Someone sees you around the magistrate’s house at around the time of the crime. You are eventually convicted of stealing the gold.

7-17 You keep quiet and the money is never recovered. Since that money was supposed to be used to pay for new guards the city can’t afford to increase security. Eventually crime gets out of control and most of the citizens are forced to move away. I hope you are happy with yourself

18-20 You keep quiet and neither one of you are caught, but your conscience still eats away at you every day for the rest of your life. (Regrets are always the worse punishments)

Scenario 3

You are Ayerick the Lesser. You are a son of the king, but all of your life you have lived in the shadow of your older brothers. People tell you that you aren’t as fast as them. People tell you that you aren’t a strong as them. People tell you that you don’t even smell as good as them. But that doesn’t really bother you. You like living a quiet life at home. While your brothers go off to fight and win honor you are content reading a book or playing games with the cook.

One day a blue dragon arrives at the castle, it kills your father and captures your brothers hoping to create chaos in the kingdom by leaving the throne without a likely successor. Because you are in your room reading you escape the dragons notice. The kings advisors tell you that you should become the king so that the kingdom doesn’t fall into civil war. At the same time you feel like your brothers may still be alive, but no one is willing to go and look for them.

What do you do? Do you stay and be king or do you go off and try to rescue your brothers?

Result Text:

 

If you decide to stay and be king:

Roll a d20

1 The day after you become king the dragon comes back and using his lightning breath fries you as you sit on the throne. All that is left is a pile of ashes and the crown. Good roll!

2-6 Your brothers manage to escape on their own, and after kicking you off the throne they kick you out of the kingdom for not trying to come find them.

7-19 You become king and have a long if ultimately very boring reign. But you are still haunted by the memory of your brothers

20 You become king and quickly forget about your lost family. After all being the king is pretty fun.

If you decide to save your brothers:

Roll a d20

1 As soon as you arrive at the lair of the dragon you are electrocuted by his lightning breath. There is nothing left behind but ash and armor.

2-6 Your manage to free your brothers, but as you are trying to fight your way out all of you are killed.

7-16 You free your brothers, but as you are fighting your way out of the dragons lair you are killed. Bards from all over right songs about your heroism and your name is known around the world.

17-20 By miracle or dumb luck you are able to free your brothers and get them back to safety. In just a few short weeks you are able to read a book telling you about your heroic deeds. It is the best moment of your life.

Scenario 4

You are Kale the Valiant and you have an arch-nemesis—Moltar the Mildly Annoying. Moltar, angry at his name and desiring to go from mildly annoying to pure evil has kidnapped your girlfriend and a carriage full of orphans. In classic villain style he has placed the orphans in one pit and your girlfriend into another. As you arrive at his hideout he throws a lever and a hungry liger enters each pit.

What do you do? Who will you choose to save?

Result Text

 

If you choose to save your girlfriend

Roll a d20

1 You fall as you attempt to jump into the pit. You become liger food, but unfortunately so does your girlfriend (and the orphans too)

2-6 You are able to fend off the liger long enough for your girlfriend to be able to climb out of the pit. She does so just in time to see you be eaten by the big cat and to hear the screams of the orphans in the other pit. The nightmares from hearing that eventually drives her insane.

7-17 You defeat the liger and save your girlfriend. Unfortunately you can hear the screams of the orphans as you do so. The nightmares from hearing those screams eventually drives her insane.

18-20 You defeat the liger and save your girlfriend. Unfortunately you can hear the screams of the orphans as you do so. Your girlfriend laughs when she hears the sound and then asks if you can make her a liger skin coat. Congratulations you are dating a heartless monster.

 

If you choose to save the orphans

Rol a d20

1 You fall as you attempt to jump into the pit. You become liger food, but unfortunately so do the orphans (and your girlfriend too) Way to go klutz!

2-6 You save able to fend off the liger long enough for the orphans to escape. Unfortunately you can’t hold out forever and you become liger food. (but not before you hear your girlfriend curse your name). Sometimes doing the right things sure doesn’t feel very good.

7-17 You defeat the liger and save the orphans. But unfortunately your girlfriend is liger food.

18-19 You save the orphans, and while you aren’t able to also save your girlfriend you are able to find Moltar and bring him to justice—liger justice.

20 You jump in to save the orphans and with all of your strength you thrown the liger from the orphan pit into the pit with your girlfriend. While the two ligers are fighting you are able to rescue your girlfriend as well. You are a hero to all!

Geekstravaganza

Geekstravaganza

 

My volunteer technical director (and co-host of God Geeks) is heading off to college. This past week was his last Wednesday night so in honor of him we did an all Geek youth lesson that I lovingly called a Geekstravaganza.

It was the first lesson that I wrote fresh in a long time. I have been doing things from Lifeway and then stuff from our Dating 101 since December so it felt nice to get back into the writing again, even if it was themes that we have covered many times before.

The Geekstravaganza was broken into 3 parts:

1) You are a super hero. You have powers because Jesus said that you have power. In Ephesians 2 Paul elaborates on that and says that you have the same power that raised Christ from the dead living in you.

2) But the world likes to drag you away and use that power on frivolous stuff. I used the old addage of a carrot on a stick to talk about how MMORPGs (like World of Warcraft) keep you playing. In the same way the world holds out stuff and says if you come and get this stuff you will be happy. When in the end all that makes us happy is following God.

3) So you are powerful and God has a place for you, but there are all sorts of distractions that pull you away from following Him. That means that you have a choice. I used 4 scenarios (and a 20 sided die) to give people a choice to do the right thing or to look out for themselves. I broke them into groups of 4 and then read the scenarios. Once they made their choice (it was always a binary decision) they rolled the d20 to see the result of their actions.

 

Here are two ideas that we used during the lesson. To do the scenarios you will need at least a d20 (available at any hobby shop) and you may also need a d4.

Cookie Cutter Christians

Geekstravaganza Scenarios