Or as I was originally going to entitle this post, "The Thing in the Trenches".

A strange and protracted chapter in the history of my involvement in the gaming hobby came to an end yesterday. For the first time in 20 years, I no longer own any Magic: The Gathering cards.

We've searched through the sewers and drawn from the bottom of an abandoned well, now it's time to go deeper than we've ever gone before with a new round of oddities for a mine! Get out your dice and get ready to spice up your subterranean delvings with another ever growing, ever evolving list of random objects, encounters, and anomalies found deep in the mines.

Years ago The New Yorker published a cartoon wherein two well-dressed dogs sipping martinis in an upscale lounge remark, "It's not enough that we win. The cats must also lose." In any game where winning is possible for someone, loss is possible for someone else. But there is a particular class of player who takes the balance of winning and losing to the extreme. For him, it is not enough to win. And when he can't win, someone else must lose.

Whether gathering to lay an ally to rest or skulking about to beat the restless dead back into their yawning graves, adventurers have plenty of reason venture into graveyards, necropoleis, and cemeteries. But a garden of the dead should be more than a few crumbling tombstones on a field of turned earth. It is a place with its own atmosphere that - pardon the expression - lives and breaths, and you never know what you might find there.

I’ve been a GM for almost twenty years and I’ve had plenty of dizzying highs, terrifying lows, and nougaty centers in the tabletop gaming hobby. This past weekend I experienced everything on that spectrum when I was volunteered to fill in a local anime convention’s vacant gaming track. The convention organizers didn’t underestimated the demand for gaming. They didn’t know any reliable GMs, but a friend of a friend new me. That’s how I found myself providing 14 hours of gaming activities per a day for three days.