Monday, July 14, 2008

My Journey to Dungeons and Dragons

In 1974 a little known company, Tactical Studies Rules, Inc., released Dungeons and Dragons. I was 18. At the time, I would have no reason to have heard of this company or its game. I was already working full-time not the least bit interested in games.

Several years later, I was in the United States Navy, stationed in Long Beach, California and I walked into a store and noticed an area with Dungeon and Dragon books in it. By this time I was avid fantasy book reader. So this definitely caught my eye. I was 25. I looked through the books and found out it was a fantasy game, played with pen, paper and imagination. I thought this would be so much fun. Bringing the books I read to life. I tried to get people to play but they mostly thought I was crazy, that DnD was either a kids game or some form of devil worship. No one I knew played. I never did go back to that store and pick up the books.

Eventually I just started getting the books or box sets just to look through them, hoping that eventually I would find people that played. Wishful thinking on my part.

I got married, had kids. They grew up. My son got me into computer/console games. Then Everquest was released and to me this was an answer to a prayer! I can play something akin to DnD online!!! Not the same, did not much need to use my imagination others used theirs to create a fun world with monsters, quests, elves, orcs, ranger, clerics and other people from all over the world!! I gave up my hope to play the pen and paper game and just enjoyed where I was.

Fast forward to 2008, I am now 52 years old and I am still playing computer/video games. I also go to a Buddhist Temple on Wednesday nights. (Be patient this all ties in!) During our break times it is fun to chat with the other attendees. There is this guy Jim. I was never really sure how to take him but we talked off and on. Not sure how we got onto the subject but he mentioned he played Dungeons and Dragons and a group was just starting a new 4th edition game. I told him my story and how exciting it must be to actually play. My son has played off and on. (He is now playing Shadow Run). Friends I knew on-line played but I did not live close enough to play.

When I saw Jim again 2 weeks later, he invited me to play!!!! OMG!! Even at 52 I was very excited about actually playing a game I have dreamed of playing for over 30 years!! They have a group of 10 people playing. Get this, 5 guys and 5 gals!! I was thrilled!!

Yesterday was the first time I played. I was a little nervous. I really do not role-play in MMO's. I was worried that I would not fit in. I only knew one person there. I took the role of an Elf Cleric (the half elf ranger was spoken for). Off we went. They actually started the game a week before. They other players had the history of their characters already set. So I had some catching up to do.

We are all playing teenagers ranging from 12-18. We are setting out on our first adventure. I can not recall all the classes or races, but we have 2 guys playing brothers. One is a Human Wizard, age 16; the other is a Half Elf Ranger, 14. The ranger is definitely the more mature of the 2. The wizard was so excited about being able to blow stuff up (what wizard isn't?) that he hardly thinks before he acts and gets the group into a world of trouble! Watching this southern guy hollering and waving his arms around cracks me up! From now on every wizard I imagine is going to have a nice southern drawl!.

Is 10 players too much? Yesterday we had 8 playing. It was hard to find anything to do in the downtime between battles. I mean after all only so many people can search a desk. During much of the gameplay I just watched, trying to learn what dice to roll, what spell to use. These people have been playing DnD a while, even though 4th edition is new to them. I have insinuated my personality into the game. I let the wizard bleed a bit before I healed him. We also do not zap bears anymore, we scare them first. It is going to be fun to see how this group of players and their characters progress. I did feel at ease and I am sure as my role-playing skills develop I will have way more fun.

If you have never played before give the game a try. I am glad I never gave up on this dream. I hope there is a dream out there that you have not given up on and you may end up fulfilling it tomorrow!!


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