Well, Now I’m Playing Dungeons & Dragons

I’m just now realizing that I probably should have taken a picture of our little table on Saturday, strewn with papers, journals, pencils, various-sided dice, and a few beer cans.

After talking about it a few times over the course of the last year or so, I started playing Dungeons & Dragons with a group of friends, and we had a great first night!

Two friends of mine (a couple) had gotten a starter kit a while ago, but we never made real plans to try it out. They finally hosted an event at their house for five of us total to come and learn the game. None of us had played DnD before Saturday night, and we readily admitted to each other that the game was a little intimidating — so many rules, and such a loyal fan base.

But we gave it a shot, and I think everyone had fun.

Who Should DM?

The choice for our Dungeon Master was going to come down to one of the couple who hosted the event or me, and I was relieved to not have to learn how to DM on the first night. They had hinted pretty strongly that I should use my storytelling talents to lead a campaign, but I had already given some thought to the character I wanted to create.

I would like to DM eventually, and our current DM definitely wants to play a character. We may end up rotating DMs and characters each campaign between the three of us, so my character would “sit out” a campaign so the current DM’s newly created character could join in.

Of course, that means we’ll have to find a way to make that work narratively, so I’m looking forward to that challenge. I don’t really know if you’re “allowed” to cycle different characters in and out of the same group, but we don’t care. That’s how we’re going to play.

The Set-Up

Fortunately, we all came into the first night knowing we’d have to spend a couple hours actually building our characters and figuring out the basic rules. It was honestly an enriching experience to go through that process together.

I think it made everyone feel more comfortable with diving into the game, and we all got to know each other’s characters a bit better along the way. Our group consists of:

  • Levi, a Lightfoot Halfling Rogue
  • Rowan, a Wood Elf Druid
  • Roland, a Human Ranger
  • Rum, a Halfling Cleric

I have the Cleric, because it just seemed like an interesting class to play when I was reading up before our first night. DnD Clerics aren’t as one-dimensional as their World of Warcraft equivalent, the priest. Clerics can actually wear real armor and do some fighting, but I also took on some healing/warding spells to help the group.

His full name is Boden Rumblemug, nicknamed Rum, and I’m obviously already working on a more detailed back-story for my him. I’ll probably write more about him later.

The First Quest

After spending a couple hours eating pizza, sipping beer, and concentrating on understanding our characters, their builds, and basic rules like how the hell spellcasting works (we still don’t know for sure), we decided to jump in and play the first part of our campaign!

The DM had spent most of that time reading through the DM guide and helping us understand the rules a bit. This was all new to him, too, so I’m impressed with the way he lead us through our first night.

We learned that we all met by happenstance in a tavern in Phandalin, which I guess is one of the big towns in the Forgotten Realms. (I have so much to learn about this world, and I’m pretty stoked.)

We each stopped in for a drink and got to talking at the message board, where there were several quests to complete, all relating to the sighting of a white dragon in the area. Side quests!

We chose discussed which quest we would take on first, and completely, utterly, hilariously bungled it.

We ended up completing the quest, but only after a drawn out and ultimately pointless fight against a Manticore, where our Ranger missed two of his three bow shots, we ran out of powerful spells while the rogue was not in the fight, and the manticore subsequently flew away, battered and bleeding, with a sack of cured meats.

That was us completing the quest. We’re a work in progress.

I Think We’re Hooked

It was good fun. After about five hours of preparing and playing, we called it a night, but unanimously agreed to meet about monthly to play.

We all also agreed to work on our character back-stories, ensure we’ve selected all the right equipment and spells, and read up on the rules a bit.

Such as what a “spell slot” really is. Is it the total number of spells I take on a campaign, or the number of spells I can use out of a larger list? We argued for 20 minutes over this and basically agreed to continue with how we’d been playing and figure out the rule later.

(I just looked this up on Reddit and found an easy explanation.)

Anyway, I’m taking notes and doing some more research for my character, and I’ll probably post about it another time.

Steve D

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