Last Wednesday I did something so out of the box for me, I had to take pictures to prove that it really happened.
I played Dungeons & Dragons at my local comic book/game store, Lone Star Comics.
I’ve never played D&D. My friends did back in high school, but I wasn’t cool enough to play. I thought it was all terribly complicated. I was too intimidated to try something new. Too afraid of looking silly or stupid, and I missed out on all the fun.
Fast forward more than a decade (ugh) and I’ve reached a point in my life where I know if I don’t find the courage to try new things I’ve always wanted to do, I’ll never do them and all the fun in life will pass me by. I am refusing to let my shyness and anxiety hold me back from meeting new people and having fantastic new adventures.
Which is how I found myself sitting at a large table with nine other people, in the middle of a comic book store, pushing around an inch-tall figure of a Pixie Rouge.
Dungeons and Dragons in the original table-top fantasy roleplaying game. From Wikipedia:
“D&D departs from traditional wargaming and assigns each player a specific character to play instead of a military formation. These characters embark upon imaginary adventures within a fantasy setting. A Dungeon Master serves as the game’s referee and storyteller, while also maintaining the setting in which the adventures occur and playing the role of the inhabitants. The characters form a party that interacts with the setting’s inhabitants (and each other). Together they solve dilemmas, engage in battles and gather treasure and knowledge. In the process the characters earn experience points to become increasingly powerful over a series of sessions.”
D&D is collaborative story-telling with dice. The Dungeon Master guides you through a set of obstacles, much like a narrator telling the backbone of the story. The player’s characters flesh out that story by working together to overcome the obstacles.
Last Wednesday, my Pixie Rogue, a couple Dragonborn, and a few magic-users got spit out into a dungeon from a swirling vortex, and had to fight wave after wave of baddies. It took 2 hours of gameplay to defeat 12 monsters, but we managed in the end. I even got to make a killing blow on my second turn!
When I walked in, I was so nervous I was shaking. This group plays together every week – how would they react to me, a no-nothing n00b who asks a million inane questions? Well, they reacted like gamers – warm, welcoming, and helpful. They wanted me to have fun in the hopes that I come back and play again. They wanted me to love gaming as much as they do. They answered all of my questions without once making me feel silly or stupid for asking. When I pulled out the wrong die to role (only once!), they simply corrected me – “No, that’s your d10. You need your d8. This one.” When I was unsure of my next move, they walked me through it, reminding me to add my special modifiers and helping me understand what was going on.
I was pleasantly surprised to see that I wasn’t the only new person (just the only first-timer) and I wasn’t the only girl. Not that I have a problem playing with a table full of guys, but I definitely felt more at ease when Casey came in.
By the end of the first hour, I was having so much fun, I forgot to be nervous, I forgot to be anxious and shy, and just played the game. I laughed and joked with the other players. We planned and schemed together and ultimately won the day. When it was all over, I wanted to keep playing – a sure sign I’ve found something I will enjoy for a long time.
As we all gathered ourselves to leave, almost every player asked if I would be coming back this week. I can’t tell you how much that meant to me – I was overwhelmed.
Many thanks to Stew, Kim, Zach, Shane, Aldo, Casey, Jonathan, Cory, and our DM Robert for making me feel welcome and letting me join you on this adventure. See you in two weeks!