Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Building My Character Sheet... IRL.


   I have started a journey, questing for a better me. Thanks to the blogs at Nerd Fitness and the support tools of Spark People I have re-started my quest for fitness. This started with the Walk to Mordor, which I blogged about earlier.
   Following their advice, I am combining my Nerdiness (and the addictive traits therein) into the journey... Nay, into a Quest! A quest for improving myself, thus to use the Nerd Fitness term, to 'Level Up My Life.' But, other than throwing around memes and terms, what does that actually mean?
   Having read through a lot of the Nerd Fitness blogs, I like the interactive terms/ideas they use. But, I also like the tools and individual group supports on Sparkpeople. So I've decided to build my own variation, using both. Being an old School DM, this fits into my particular nerdiness quite well. So how to start?
    So, if I am the main character... the Hero of my own story, instead of thinking like a DM and quest building, I need to step back and build my Character Sheet. I already have an over-aching quest in my Walk, so what is this character of me to be thrust into adventure? Nerd Fiteness did a nice blog on What is your Profession (or Character Class depending on your Role Playing System,) and talk a small bit about racial traits to class skills as well... so my character sheet will be based primarily on that blog. Why re-invent the wheel? So let's begin...

     I think of myself as a Dwarf. At 5'10" and 315lbs at my heaviest the body shape is close. I have always been barrel chested, and can fairly easily build muscle mass. And thus Warrior seems the obvious choice, the big battle hardened tank, right?
      Not exactly. While I do like the Imposing look I had when in High School I played Football, and was into weightlifting... but it wasn't when I felt my best. That would be reserved for the combined time of Wrestling, Weights, and Martial Arts... keeping myself to a very stout 168lbs. This was essentially 'cross-training' back in the 80's, before the phrase became popular in the 90's. The character class (profession) that fits the best, I think, is Ranger with it's adaptability and endurance combined with practical strength training.
     So, I have a Race, and a Class... what else? Well, how do you build (or fill in) a character sheet? There are basic stats, relevant skills, useful items, back-story ideas (motivations) and lay out the sheet for future goals. The sheet then becomes a reference guide to help you toward those goals.
    What let's look at this in reverse- what are my goals, and then which stats or skills do I need to build my sheet around? Well, I want to loose weight. I want to not be winded as easily. I want to build up my strength. And I want to get better at my swordplay skills. My stats and skills should reflect those goals, the difficulty lies in finding a way to define them.
    Weight is the most obvious- my current weight measurement. I have taken to weekly weigh-ins and the Sparkpeople tools to track my progress. So that one is okay for now. I might add in body measurements later (waistline, stomach, upper lower arms and legs, etc) for a more accurate picture.
    My old weightlifting in high school gives me the background to fill in the Strength stat- find my weightlifting reps limits, and slowly increase them... the old school lifter's pyramid. This gives a tangible set of stats for record keeping.
    Endurance? I started my quest in January with the 'Walk to Mordor' and have been tracking my distances. My daily distances vary pretty wildly due to everything from RL obligations to health or the weather. I made it first my goal to just go out some every day. So far consistency has payed off... by not missing a day in over a month, it is becoming habit forming (or Hobbit forming as a friend quipped.) and even though my days length of walk varies widely, the weekly totals have been on the steady increase. I think that daily average distance over a weeks time would be one good stat for this one, but I also need to add in Cardio time till winded, as that is one of the primary goals.
    Lastly, the hardest one to define- Swordplay. This skill is tied into my personal Nerd-isms. I have been tied to epic fantasy since early childhood- I literally learned to read on 'the Hobbit,' and have been involved in fantasy role-playing since the late 70's. In more recent time, I have taken up LARPing, and have thus enjoyed fun 'mock' swordplay.
     However, as my weight increased, and my activity levels decreased, I moved more to Archery, and hiding behind my chainmail. That Armor is now part of my endurance training as I wear it for my late night walks with weather permitting (my cutoff is no chainmail in the rain, or below -20F.) My chainmail is over-sized, and much heavier than need be, 1/2 sleeve, covers to the thigh, and weighs in at 90lbs.
     Also, I say swordplay, but I mean a variety of weapons. Maybe I should divide the stats up and list time practiced? Single short; single long; florentine (matched shorts or long dual wielding); sword and board; axe; axe and shield, polearm; and maybe even flail? what about special skills, like missile block (weapon or shield?)
   In short, my Quest (plan) needs work, but I am working on it in true gamer style- by hitting side quests while marching toward Mt Doom.... and filling in the skills as I level into how they should work- then stretching them into working for me.

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