So I had been eyeing D&D for a long time. Obviously I’ve played video games, and lots of them. But somehow doing all the math myself and being able to change my character and parts of my adventure anyway I wanted appealed to me greatly. So, I finally got my chance when our fearless leader offered a space in a D&D romp.
I spent an hour or so making my character (A rogue), and then we set off on our first quest. For three hours experienced players toyed around with mechanics and tried to steal everything they could see. I didn’t even get to slay a monster. The rest of my party got into one fight. All in all, six hours of character creation and joking around. I was perplexed, this didn’t seem like the epic adventure it was supposed to be.
When I was asked to participate again, this time with more people of my skill level, I was grudgingly willing to give it another shot. It turned out to be the D&D I had dreamed of. We still took an hour or so to roll characters, but the adventure was the most important part. We worked to develop our characters and create a meaningful experience. I played a favored soul(cleric) with no heal spells.
The epic climax was probably the most lasting memory. It was an extremely tough fight, but we kept going at it. This is when our DM began to honestly emit some of the most evil laughter I’ve ever heard. Then he described a body of entrails flying towards the back of the room past all of us. After a long slog our DM describes the vampire as tired, wounded, and with a fiery look on his face. Then it was the vampires turn. The DM rolled the dice and… he got a crit. Natural 20. I had 50 life, the vampire did 4 times 15. 60 is a tad more than 50. The DM readied himself for an explanation with a glint in his eye. He described the vampire pulling back his tremendous scythe, hesitating for merely a second, then slicing me right into two parts, effectively killing me. I later learned that the vampire had 6 health left, and realized myself that I had a spell that could have made me invulnerable to such an event. But it’s experience I will have to save for the next time.
I had a tremendous experience this second time. I had so much fun picking my path and actions, it was incredible being really immersed in a fantasy experience. I loved filling in the role of a character anyway I wanted. Creating inside jokes and being able to troll or harass your best friends almost directly is quite amusing also. For example, during my first D&D experience, the uncooperative thief got battering rammed every time she wasn’t following directions. Screaming battering ram will forever bring forth laughter and memories.
However, there were some key issues I wish I could change about my experience. Most importantly would be the battle phases. We would enter a battle, I would take my turn almost immediately, but my peers would take 5-15 minutes to discuss their options and read through handbooks to figure out exactly what they should do. In video games, all of those calculations are immediately done and presented so it expects you to react quickly and thoughtfully. That just doesn’t happen in DnD. There was lots of discussion and less casting and slashing. I wish there was a time limit in the battle phase, so I’ll have to bring that up the next time I play. Also, D&D may be too intricate, with not enough temporary limits and control. I wish there were less options to chose from and a watered down selection to play with, at least since they were the first few campaigns I had ever embarked upon.
If I had to tell anything to fellow DnD noobs, it’s to enjoy the experience and always keep your character data on hand. You never want to go past the line with friends, but you still want to act out enough to create escapism and illusion to create the best fantasy setting possible. It’s extremely helpful and time saving to know everything your character and your fellow characters can do, so you may want to write or type out things past what’s immediately on your character sheet.
I can’t wait to tackle another scenario or quest, and live another epic journey. D&D is amazing.