Here’s a secret not everyone knows (although people who know me won’t be surprised) — every Thursday evening I make a 90-mile round trip into Anchorage to play Dungeons and Dragons with a bunch of people at Bosco’s Comics. :) This week was the seventh week in a row and there are six more weeks before the “campaign” is over.
Ever since I was a kid I’ve wanted to play DnD and my sister Mariella remembers me “forcing” her and our brother Ray to play when we were all teens, although I don’t remember that (probably since I wasn’t the forcee).
I almost got to play with John Carmack, John Romero, Tom Hall, and the other original members of Id Software about 20 years ago — I recall eating pizza and drinking Mt Dew all night long but I don’t remember actually playing. I think I was probably a spectator and not a participant.
I’ve been interested most of my life but haven’t ever been in a place where it was handy/easy to find a way to play. And while I’d read books about playing DnD and other RPGs, I was kind of intimidated about the idea of joining a group that had already played together, etc.
But a couple months ago I stumbled upon mention of a thing called Dungeons and Dragons Encounters — it was a 2-hour per week game lasting 13 weeks where everyone started from ground zero. And yes, they welcomed complete newbies to the game — no experience necessary!
They let me pick from a stack of pre-generated characters and not knowing what I was doing I just picked the one on top — Jeskan, a Dragonborn Cavalier. As a defensive character my job was to lead the way into a fight and get the monsters to pound on me while the other members of the party picked them off.
Okay, I was also trying to kill the monsters, but a defender often takes a lot more damage than the other characters.
Last night my character was killed in battle.
(Pause for a moment of silence…)
In fact, the entire party was killed! Part of it was due to the roll of the dice, part of it was a battle strategy that was flawed.
To keep the game going everybody in the party has two choices — either come back next week with the same character, but with some penalties added, or come back with a brand new character.
While I liked Jeskan, I had grown a little bored with playing a defender. It seemed like everyone else had many different cool attacks while I could only slash someone with my sword or breath dragon breath on them. And the dragon breath could only happen once per fight (I guess I had to recharge between blasts).
So I’m taking this opportunity to switch characters and roles. Instead of a defender I’m going to be playing a striker, which mostly deals in offensive strikes to single targets at a time. A striker will use magic or trickery to move around the combat field and strike at those who need stricken.
The character I’ll be playing is named Zibit and is a good male Drow (dark elf). His usual weapons are a scimitar in his main hand and a short sword in his off hand. He also has a hand axe he can use as a throwing weapon if needed.
While it’s not cheap to make the round trip to Anchorage every week, I don’t have a lot of other hobbies and I don’t buy booze or heroin, so I kind of think it’s okay. It’s a fun escape for a couple hours a week and it also gives me lots of ideas I can use in stories and games, so I think it will show a business benefit, too.
Hmmm…maybe I can say it’s “research” and take the trip off my taxes as an expense? Gotta check with the accountant on that one…