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Fantasy gaming becomes reality for LIers

From left to right: Reeves Crowe, 28, of

From left to right: Reeves Crowe, 28, of Huntington Station; John Francavillo, 63, of Huntington; David Cohen, 24, of Syosset; Ryan Walsh, 29, of East Islip; and James Mattia, 29, of Bayville, sat around one of the four tables that Ravenblood Games in Plainview has for daily gaming events. Game enthusiasts gather to play games like the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, a fantasy role-playing game played with 20-sided dice and a game map. (Sept. 11, 2012) Credit: Jessica Stallone

Reeves Crowe spends his days staring into the bright screen of his computer working as a desktop support technician at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.

But, the 26-year-old spends two nights a week in a completely different world, one of fantasy and enchantment.

He’s among the dozens on Long Island who meet up at Ravenblood Games in Plainview to play Pathfinder, a fantasy role-playing game based on the well-known Dungeons and Dragons game.

“The guys joke about how they can be anyone they want to be when they play and a lot of the time they're the complete opposite of their personality,” said Crowe, of Huntington.

David Cohen, 24, of Syosset, becomes the powerful Xsigar.

Ryan Walsh, 29, of East Islip, is the gunslinger Cassandra, an acrobatic gun wielder.

Chris Hall, 37, of West Islip, is Rognere, an alchemist known for his potion-making.

John Francavillo, 63, of Huntington, is Lelandra a half-elf cleric.

Pathfinder, Dungeons & Dragons and Warmachine are among the games that players gather to play each weel at Ravenblood Games. Events are five days a week and usually start at 6 p.m., at which time it becomes a haven to game enthusiasts from all over the Island.

“We’ve got one guy who’s from Nesconset, we got a couple more people who are from further out in Nassau and a couple of guys come in from Queens,” said Peter Gaeta, owner of Ravenblood Games.

Pathfinder player James Mattia, 29, of Bayville, explained the game as heavily determined by the roll of a 20-sided die. Every action you take in the game requires a roll and the higher the roll, the better.

But, it’s not just the gameplay that they’re attracted to.

“You get to use your imagination,” said Mattia, whose character is the fighter Roman Ivanov. “I don’t get to do this at work.”

Pathfinder also requires the understanding of a 576-page guidebook, which is a revision of the third edition Dungeons & Dragons game.

“These are the guys that started with it in the 80s and 90s before video games were big,” said Gaeta. “They decided they liked the social element, actually being there at the table with the other people playing, so they stuck with it.”

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