Last night a group of us gathered at Justin and Amy’s house to embark on a new Dungeons and Dragons campaign.
My history with D&D has unfortunately been minimal. When I was in elementary school I had played D&D Basic Edition with a group of friends. I remember avidly reading the rulebook over and over again, rolling up characters and drawing dungeon maps even though I never acted as Dungeon Master (DM’d). I loved the fact that there was a game that brought the fantasy world to life and didn’t have a hard and fast set of rules or process in the same way that a board game did.
Once high school came I stopped playing D&D and focused on trying to fit in and be cool, but I always held a warm place in my heart for D&D. My interest in fantasy games then got me interested in the Final Fantasy series, first on Super Nintendo and then on the Playstation.
Two years ago I purchased the audiobook edition of The Happiest Days of Our Lives from author Wil Wheaton , listening to it on one of my road trips back to Toronto. One of the stories in the book talked about Wil’s discovery of D&D during a gym class at his school and his journey with D&D throughout his life and his subsequent sharing with his children. That piqued my interest about D&D again - as amazing as RPG’s like Final Fantasy and World of Warcraft are, the fact remains that they are by necessity closed worlds without the possibilities for the unexpected in the way that D&D is. I began listening to some of the D&D podcasts from Wizards of the Coast that featured Wil, Gabe and Tycho from Penny Arcade , and Scott Kurtz from PvP . I enjoyed the interplay amongst the group and realized that D&D was as much about having fun around a table with your friends as it was about the fantasy world. I decided I was going to pick up a new Player’s Handbook and look into joining some friends who I knew already played. Meredith was game as well and we eventually found ourselves around a table, having tons of fun and enjoying D&D again.
When Justin and I attended PAXEast , me getting my Player’s Handbook signed by Wil Wheaton, as well as meeting Chris Dietrich, got Justin and I talking about D&D and the possibility of starting a campaign amongst our friends. I mentioned that I would love to DM and everyone was willing to put themselves in my hands. I bought a DM’s handbook, Monster Manual and a ton of dice and started looking into campaigns to run. I went back to the D&D podcasts to try to learn as much from DM’ing from WOTC’s Chris Perkins as possible. I thought he did a great job of both running the game and breathing life into the world. I was super nervous about running a good campaign for my players. One of the great things I tracked down as an alternative to miniatures were small tokens that fit on a 1-square-inch map.
All this work culminated in our evening last night. Due to a last minute emergency with our over-adventurous cat, Meredith had to stay home, but the rest of us got together and had a ton of fun over the space of three hours. The group had one combat encounter and one event of information-gathering about the ultimate purpose of their adventure. There was a tremendous amount of laughter, fun, and I feel overall the night went very well. I can’t wait for the next time we get together!