Friday, March 07, 2014

Wherein I Fill Time Discussing D&D

I saw this list of questions on Siskoid's blog. As I need blog content - I'm in the midst of a book that'll take probably another week to finish, and while my comic guy swears he put the books in the mail Thursday of last week, I have no idea where the hell they are now - so I'm utilizing it myself. Given I've only participated in 3 D&D campaigns, only one of which was actually finished, this could be a mistake, but blog necessity trumps all other concerns.

Day 1: First person who introduced you to D&D? Which edition? First character?
I think my cousin let me see a role playing guide for a DC Universe version when I was still in elementary school, but I had no idea what it was I was reading. I think I envisioned it as something like the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe or Who's Who. So the first time I understood what I was looking at would be college, from my roommate at the time, Papafred. I'm going to guess 2nd edition. 3rd may have been released recently, but he and his friends were not fans. First character is also only character, a human Ranger named William.

Day 2: First person YOU introduced to D&D? Which edition? Their first character?
It was one of my coworkers last year, maybe Kyle. Or Jo (in retrospect, making someone with no experience with D&D dungeon master was possibly a mistake). So, 3rd edition. Kyle was a drunk, lecherous bard, prone to badmouthing our half-orc barbarian's intelligence, and making comments about the elf wizard's mom.

Day 3: First dungeon you explored as a PC or ran as a DM.
It was some castle on a cliff at the highest point on an island. There were a lot of monsters, and a large stone that we stole, which cut our dimension/plane/universe off from all the others, with hilarious consequences. Did I say hilarious? I meant dire.

Day 4: First dragon you slew (or some other powerful monster):
The first real battle of that first campaign with Papfred and his friends was against a red dragon. We were 15th level characters, which was little encouragement to the 5 newbies including myself in the party (there were 4 veterans, not counting the DM). I hit it with at least one arrow, and we killed it, so that counts, right?

Day 5: First character to go from 1st to 20th level (or highest possible level in a given edition):
Never happened. The first campaign I was 15th when we started, and at the time we left off because the semester ended, I was almost about to reach 16th level. Second campaign I started at 4th, ended at 8th. Third campaign, started at 3rd, was up to 4th when the field season ended and everyone scattered.

Day 6: First character death. How did you handle it?
There's only been one. In the first campaign, we had a bunch of trolls come bursting through some wooden double doors at us. I saw the goblin in trouble, and because of some stupid rule about archery in at least that edition of D&D, I couldn't be certain I wouldn't hit the 4-foot goblin shaman if I aimed for the 8 foot tall troll. So I ran over with me sword. There was a column jutting out from a wall to the side, with an open entryway. No one had thought to check it before approaching the double doors. The were Beholders in there, and one Death-Beamed me and the goblin both. I was pissed, because if the archery weren't so screwed up, I wouldn't have been in the line of fire. I'm 15th level; if I'm not Clint Barton at that point, I ought to at least be Kate Bishop. But that was the only time I died in that campaign, which was better than every other character except Papafred's fighter-thief.

Day 7: First D&D product you bought. Do you still have it?
I bought a couple of resource guides a few years ago for Hellsing and Tenchi Muyo themed games, on a whim more than anything else. They're still in my bookshelves.

Day 8: First set of polyhedral dice you owned. Do you still use them?
I found one when I moved out of my first grad school apartment, probably left over from that first campaign. I've never actually used it in a game. We bought a big bag of them for last year's campaign, I technically own some of them, but I haven't collected as yet.

Day 9: First campaign setting (homebrew or published) you played in.
I assume the DM made it up, based off characters from 2nd edition. The settings were pretty standard, isolated castle full of monsters, ruined city, devastated countryside.

Day 10: First gaming magazine you bought.
None so far.

Day 11: First splatbook you begged your DM to approve.
I have no idea what a splatbook is. Based on Siskoid's response, I'd say not applicable to me, but the 1st campaign had a newbie who wanted to be a ninja, so maybe that counts. (Note: I'm starting to worry these questions are going far beyond my experience).

Day 12: First store where you bought gaming supplies.
Not applicable, I guess. All those dice were bought online, I have no idea from where.

Day 13: First miniature used for D&D.
Something the DM had. It was probably an elf, but he had a bow, and that was my preferred weapon, so there you go. The last two campaign, we used Star Wars Monopoly pieces. I grabbed Boba Fett.

Day 14: Did you meet your significant other while playing D&D?
No. Or not yet.

Day 15: What was the first edition you didn't enjoy. Why?
Limited options, 2nd or 3rd. Looking back, the issues with archery (where Papafred and Solomon had to ask the DM to relax the rules so I didn't feel completely useless in the frequent battles) sours me on 2nd edition. Otherwise, it's been so long since that campaign (it predates the start of this blog) I barely remember the specifics, other than that they're different.

Day 16: Do you remember your first edition war? Did you win?
I'm guessing I haven't had that yet, though I may be in for one of Papafred reads that previous answer.

Day 17: First time you heard D&D was "Evil".
I would guess that if I ever heard it, that I didn't know or understand what D&D was, so it didn't mean anything to me.

Day 18: First gaming convention you attended.
Strictly gaming? Never. Cape-Con usually has gaming stuff, Heroclix or Magic tournies.

Day 19: First gamer who just annoyed the hell out of you.
The ninja in the first campaign had a friend who played as a bard, but did almost nothing. Didn't cast useful spells, sing encouraging songs, fight, nothing. I also got frustrated with the DM promising we could each have two really awesome pieces of equipment, then nerfing the hell out of them once we made our selections. The exception being the sword his girlfriend at the time chose for her fighter/meat shield. That pissed Papafred off, because he'd asked for the same weapon in an earlier campaign, only to have the DM nerf it badly on him. Kyle's bard was a little annoying simply because Kyle insisted on playing him as a constant pain-in-the-ass. At a certain point I just wanted him shut up and play. Or for his character to die horribly. Whichever.

Day 20: First non D&D RPG you played.
None yet.

Day 21: First time you sold some of your D&D books - for whatever reason.
Hasn't happened yet. I'm more likely to give them away if it gets to that point. I don't have the interest or energy to haggle.

Day 22: First D&D based novel you ever read.
I'm not sure I have. I'm assuming since Tolkein predates D&D The Hobbit wouldn't count. I don't read a lot of fantasy, more sci-fi (which is why there's an Asimov label for posts, obviously).

Day 23: First song that comes to mind you associate with D&D. Why?
If we'd listened to music while we played, there'd probably be something, but the thing that popped into mind just now was The Legend of Zelda theme. I guess that sort of fits my conception of it, with the questing, monsters, dungeons, and such.

Day 24: First movie that comes to mind you associate with D&D. Why?
Um, the Dungeons and Dragons movie? I never saw it, but I know it exists. I don't know. Unless it's the Lord of the Rings films. I should have read all these questions through before starting.

Day 25: Longest running campaign/gaming group you've been in.
Well all three campaigns have had almost entirely different people. I'm the only common denominator for all three, plus one other person who's been in each of the last two. The second campaign was the only one to finish, but it took about 6, 7 weeks (which surprised the DM, who thought it was a 3-day campaign, tops. We were more deliberate (or slow on the uptake if you prefer) about things than she expected, I guess. The first campaign ran two-and half months, from the start of March through Finals Week. It was only halfway done. Dangers of only playing 2 or 3 hours once a week, and of having so many people dying. Seriously, the meat shield and one of the elf clerics each died at least 3, maybe 4 times. Everyone except myself and Papafred died at least twice. The other other cleric was reduced to ash by the red dragon, Wished back by the goblin, only to be turned to stone and shattered in that same fight I got Death-Beamed. Which meant he had to be Wished back again.

Day 26: Do you still game with people who introduced you to the hobby?
They might still be gaming, but we're not geographically close enough to play together.

Day 27: If you had to do it all over again, would you do anything different when you first started gaming?
I probably would have taken Papafred up on his offer to join a campaign sooner. Though if I did that, I might not have been in these last two campaigns, which were much sillier (drinking contests! search for royal birth certificates! hippie elf communes with a drug lake!), but also more fun in a lot of ways. They were both 3rd edition, so I might have been entrenched against it, if the 2nd edition believers indoctrinated me sufficiently.

Day 28: What is the single most important lesson you've learned from playing Dungeons & Dragons?
Don't trust that anything is as the DM presents it. It's human nature to want to hoodwink people, so expect surprise reveals and double-crosses constantly.

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