Cornfield Meet

Things collide here.

In Which the Adventure Begins Anew

An elf, a halfling, a half-orc and a human walk into a bar. The halfling starts smart-assing a nasty dragonborn. And that’s where the fun begins.

(Okay, technically, the half-orc was already in the bar, but why clunkify the setup?)

It's a trap! (No, really - it IS a trap. A giant spider trap.)

Photo by Wendy, map by Kato, surrounded cleric by Aoife.

So I returned for real to Dungeons & Dragons on Saturday, Jenn played for the first time ever, and our daughter may join the party next time around. All in all, a seriously amazingly fun afternoon.

Kato & Wendy were not only superbly gracious hosts (honestly, I may run out of superlatives and have to start making them up, so be warned) – I mean, they gave all three of us sets of dice in our favorite colors as a “Welcome to the Game” surprise – but they also made our adventuring an absolute joy.

For starters, Kato is, it turns out, a truly kick-ass DM. He created this one-shot adventure from scratch, starting it in the town of Fallcrest and taking our characters’ brief background stories and weaving them into the setting with a great setup. And as things unfolded, he struck a fantastic balance between enthusiasm and teaching the rules and keeping things moving.

Wendy, being an experienced player, just rocked her half-orc fighter – whom we met when she stepped in to keep that dragonborn from turning my big-mouthed halfling into ground chuck – and got into character and the game without Jenn & I feeling out of place.

From the perspective of someone who last “played” D&D in middle school (and the quote marks are because there were only two of us, and neither of us really wanted to learn all the rules – we just dug the maps and the monsters and the dice, so it was mostly just exploring and fighting monsters and always winning), this new version of the game was awfully easy to learn. I remember back in the early 1980s, for instance, things like how scarily plausible it was for a first-level magic user or cleric to die with one roll of a d4.

I couldn’t help but think that if we’d had this d20-based system of checks and skills and attacks back in the early ’80s, maybe my friend Mike and I would have put more effort into playing by the rules and gotten as much enjoyment from actual gameplay as we did from designing ancient forts and unexplored lands on graph paper. And using the miniatures and a battle mat definitely made combat far easier this time around.

When lowered our weapons after our first group encounter and decided it was time for pizza, a few hours had passed in the roll of a die, and we were just having a blast.

Already well into the evening, it made for a good stopping point, and our friends Keith & Marcia popped by around the same time as dinner, so we all spent another few hours hanging out.

As excited as I was about playing D&D again, I was really wondering what Jenn would think, and desperately hoping she’d have a good time. While I’m not going to speak for her, I will say that a) a certain cleric has a lovely Irish accent and b) when we got in the car to head home, Jenn almost immediately started saying things like, “I wish I’d taken a closer look at that scroll,” and “You know, I should have used my Elven Accuracy to re-roll one of those attacks.”

I tried to send a psychic message to 12-year-old me, somewhere in the rear-view mirror with his Basic D&D Set, rolling up characters he’d never get to send on their own quests: “Have fun. Don’t worry: Someday, you’ll get to play again and it will be awesome.

Thank you, Kato and Wendy: Natural 20s all the way.

May 24, 2010 - Posted by | 1980s, eighties, Games, geek | , ,


  1. […] myself half-dreaming scenes from his family history, got excited about buying dice, and eventually sat down at the table for my first real D&D […]

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