D&D & Me

So here’s what I did Friday night:

And I had a blast.

We’ve been talking about getting a real-life tabletop D&D game going for about nine months now, ever since we found out 4th Edition was coming out and basically rebooted the whole game. I babbled about it a few months ago and even went public with my search for the perfect dice. (I ultimately went with these.) Meanwhile, I hit the books and got really stoked to reconnect. I was never really hardcore about D&D, but I did play in high school and I figured, knowing what I know now about multiplayer gaming and patience and storytelling and stuff, this could be really great. Playing a lot of WoW certainly helped stoke the flames for a simpler, more straightforward RPG experience.

Turns out Rob Smith used to be really into it and is an experienced DM, but has been away for so long that he was starting over too. Paul Curthoys had a stash of miniatures that he hadn’t touched in 20 years or so and really wanted to play again. Despite her love of fantasy and voracious reading habits, Kat had never played D&D. Neither had Gary Steinman, but he was interested. And Evan Lahti seemed to have some experience, but not with 4th edition. We were a band of newbies and born-again newbies.

So we danced around “when” for months and I finally just picked a date that I hoped everybody could make. (Someone had to roll for initiative.) So armed with books, dice, a laptop, and some very adult beverages — apparently it’s all about various types of scotch — we stayed late at work this past week to roll up some characters.

Kat and I had created ours (using the very, very helpful DDI Character Builder) ahead of time, but we figured the first meeting would be just to get everybody up to speed anyway. We wound up staying for several hours, started the adventure, and had an epic combat session. Here’s what I learned:

  1. Playing with people who are just as clueless as you are really helps. When you can play with people who are all at the same level of experience, it’s far less intimidating — nobody’s afraid to ask questions.
  2. A few of us did our homework, and that was worthwhile, too. Nobody knew everything about the combat rules, but enough of us knew enough to quickly look up the stuff we didn’t understand.
  3. We agreed ahead of time to balance the party and discussed not only who wanted to play what, but who was willing to play what. We wound up with a warlord, a wizard, a rogue, a cleric, and a fighter. When one person claimed rogue, the other wannabes backed off. And the party is much better for it. Plus, we all feel kind of special and necessary.
  4. Everybody took it just seriously enough to actually play a role and talk in character. Nobody felt awkward.
  5. It helps if your DM has a British accent.

I can’t wait for the next session. I have to travel this week but I’m getting back Friday afternoon. Friday night, it’s Magic Missile time.

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