D&D Aftermath

It was awesome!

The small talk in the car wasn't too bad, though I wished he had turned the radio on to fill the awkward silences. Once I got there, met the people, all like my neighbor, about 10 years older than me and from a different generation. They were actually playing D&D first edition (I think). It was a version where you didn't have things like stealth and attacks of opportunity, and battles didn't really take place on a grid.

The hard part was role-playing. When you don't know anyone and you're an introvert, it's hard to contribute a voice into the game right away. The first twenty minutes consisted of hiring retainers/hirelings/meatbags, which I didn't know was necessary (and found out it was as I'll describe in a minute), as he rolled dice for reactions and silver pieces a day and so on. Even me, who listened and watched everything with the wonder of a five-year-old at an aquarium, eventually wondered "when do we get to the part where we roll dice and kill goblins?"

I named my character "Harven Castamere", a human fighter (since I wanted to start simple). While others were taking their turns or goofing off, I drew his picture. My neighbor was playing a priest, and he kept proclaiming that the "Lord of Light will protect us!" and the guy next to me played a dwarf, and seemed only interested in dwarf stuff. "If there's any dwarfs, I'll hire them?" "Are those skulls dwarf skulls?" to the point it was a little obnoxious.

Then we went to a river. Our first battle was against a two-headed snake. There were nine of us, so it was killed before it even got a chance to attack. The DM was doing a good job of describing what was happening, going beyond simple "you defeat it". We lopped off its one head, and it made a sickening smack. Unfortunately, that was the last of the good luck we were going to have.

We went to a river and roped ourselves together to make it across some rocks. When we came to the middle, there was a gap too big to jump, so we got the idea to rope our 3 ten-foot-poles together. Unfortunately, we apparently had to go back to do this (if I had known that I would have said to rope them ahead of time, since we could see the gap from the bank). So when we turned, we were roped together, and one hireling fell in. That meant another fell in, and then another. I think if I had fallen in, the whole group would have. One hireling was eaten by pirhanas and our dwarf lost his boot armor.

After that it kept getting bad. Skull Mountain looked filled with traps and things that might become traps. Piles of dirt looked deadly. There was an archway with skulls in cubbies around it, one with horns. The dwarf tried climbing to reach it, fumbled the roll and fell, and impaled himself on his own spear. Down to seven. The priest invoked the wrath of a walking statue, and everyone who fought it kept breaking their weapons. We ran into a corridor where , the one time I didn't check for traps, I fell into a trap door, then rolled 6 for damage, wiping out all my hit points and dying.

That was devastating for me, because I thought maybe I could luck out and not have to re-roll a character like everyone else had done. Then someone went down into the pit I fell into to get my stuff. They got my body and then I found out I wasn't dead, just unconscious. That gave the team a glimmer of hope, but as we continued, we kept running into bad guys. Short of describing the entire adventure, we had to cut out early once we were at a point we were well enough to go. Out of nine who went in, only three made it back--the priest, a hireling, and me.  Now I know what this means:

But my point is now I felt comfortable doing stuff and saying stuff and suggesting battle tactics. It all feels like a puzzle-solving video game to me, where the storyline/gameplay is much more fluid. I think maybe doing it in a bar might be a bad idea, since it's hard to hear anyone, and six players tends to get a bit much. But I loved-loved-loved playing it. I loved the discovery of walking around in a dungeon, the tension of wandering into possible traps, the "aha" moments when you get the treasure or solve the puzzle or discover a new one. And I can't wait to do it again.  I hope I can do it again.

Happy Eric listens to the DM happily