Dungeons and Dragons, and me!
This spur of the moment blog post is about the glorious game of Dungeons & Dragons (D&D – like you didn’t already know what that was), and me, JP.
Years ago, decades even, I bought an Advanced Dungeons and Dragons rule book. I loved the artwork and I already loved fantasy. I loved the story snippets inside and I loved the idea of it; stories told to me by friends of friends. I wanted to play, it was as simple as that. Alas, it didn’t happen… well, not how I imagined it.
My first day in Mathematics at High School was scary. Mr Barker (appropriate name) was the bull dog of teachers. He looked mean and had a voice on him that caused every lad and lass present to cringe in fear. One of the first things he did was to comment on my name and compare me to my much older – and always in trouble – cousin. “I know what to expect from you then, Ashman.” Well that wasn’t a great start, was it? But let’s fast forward a few months and cut to the chase.
Mr Barker played (or had played, never knew if he still did) D&D! I have no memory of how we came to the subject, but he informed me, with glee, that a small group of older lads (scary!) were starting a D&D group on their lunch breaks and he, Mr Barker, had given them permission to use his tutor room so they would not be disturbed by the school’s cockheads. I was super excited… until the day.
I’m jumping ahead here because there’s not much to tell. After about three sessions with the group I gave up. There was next to no dice rolling and every scenario ended up with the randy thirteen year olds having their miniatures humping some imaginary women or not – safe to say, Mr Barker was never in attendance. So that was my early experience of D&D. That and a loved rule book that confused the hell out of me and left me not wanting to ask anyone else if they played. I stuck with Warhammer instead, for years and years.
Let’s hop two years back, if that. My younger bro, Martyn, who’s always joined my games of Warhammer or 40K, Xwing Miniatures and so on and so forth. I’ve always gotten him into games and dragged him along whether he liked it or not (he does, and if he doesn’t then I don’t want to hear it). Well, this all paid off recently. He started talking about D&D these two years past. He started talking about it and he started researching it. He began watching the awesome Critical Roll and got me into it. He told me about Force Grey and I loved that too. And he, ladies and gents, began to play! HE started a gaming group before me! I was not only pleased for him, but I wanted in. And him being the kind soul he is, asked me if I wanted to do a text based version on WhatsApp. I was in! In in in. He would DM (Dungeon Master – run the game) and I would play a group leader. He ran (still does since we still play that way) the other party members as NPC’s (None Player Characters) as well as controlling the beasts and bad folk we faced. I loved it. Still do. I have a human fighter named Hjefroy (my readers might recognize the name from Black Cross‘ (shameless Black Cross Amazon link) epilogue. It’s been fun and it’s taught me the game of D&D.
Since we started that, I’ve begun watching Acquisitions Incorporated on Youtube, the recorded D&D game that includes none other than fantasy author Patrick Rothfuss:
The show is hilarious, as is voice actor Matt Mercer’s Critical Roll, which my bro originally got me into. If you’re a fan of D&D or gaming in general, then check out these shows (and the many others out there). Groups of friends having a laugh and playing D&D might not sound fun, but these guys and gals have me crying with laughter on many occasions.
But what now? Have I merrily continued with our text based game whilst watching others play? No. No I haven’t. I was settling for that – and enjoying it no end – but I wanted more. Want more! So, with even more enthusiasm and excitement, I recently started my first live D&D game on the clever website called Roll20 (Roll20 link). Again, my brother invited me to his (second) group on the site, where I have joined as a gnome barbarian (oh yes, 3ft of muscle and gnashing teeth) and it’s been great. I’ve only played one game so far, in which Pigget, my character, charged a coach into a tree, shield-bashed another and generally kicked ass – or knees rather, since I’m not sure he could reach a human’s ass.
Pigget, my gnome barbarian, as created for me on Heroforge by my bro. This website, for miniature/character creation, is super fun! Check it out – but be prepared to lose hours to character creation. (Heroforge link). I’ve also started creating characters from Black Cross and Black Guild (2017 release – Goodreads link, so you can add it now!), so keep your eyes peeled for links to those characters!
And there we have it, my jaunt into the realms of D&D and all the super cool folks playing it. Friendly isn’t the word. The folks in the group my brother invited me to have chatted to me as if I was there from the start. It’s imaginative, funny and honestly exciting. If you’ve never tried it but know someone who plays, then ask them. I’m sure they’d want to get you involved. Grab a beer or a coffee and some snacks, read up on the rules – far easier than ever before – and/or watch some of the countless D&D videos online to get a feel for it. If you don’t know anyone who plays or wants to play, don’t despair, just check out Roll20 (Roll20 link) and you can (pimp yourself out) advertise yourself as wanting to join a noob group.
Get on it, folks. Get on it and create the character bursting to get out of your mind, be it wizard, cleric or fighter; human, gnome or elf. It’s your choice!