by Sefarina Benevides
What is D&D?
Dungeons and Dragons is an interactive role playing game where players join up with their friends and go on adventures determined by a proclaimed Dungeon Master (DM). The DM is the one responsible for how the world they are playing in reacts and evolves, they play the part of every non-player character throughout the game, are the determiners for the twists and turns of reality and by most accounts, are the “god” of that universe. The players of the game create characters of their liking, either based on themselves or someone completely opposite to themselves. In this world, you can be a Dragonborn creature, an Elf, a Gnome, or a number of different races. You choose your ethical alignments (whether you’re a lawfully good person, or a chaotically evil person) and your class (Wizard, Monk, Ranger, Fighter, ect.) While playing this game, you truly get a sense of how extraordinary the mind is. An entire universe exists within your own imagination. You have the task of roleplaying the character in the real world, in front of your friends, or nowadays, in front of a camera.
My first time
My first time playing D&D was two years ago on a short visit to Missouri. My parents and I drove down there one weekend to visit family. We stayed with a number of different family members, including my grandmas, grandpas, uncles and aunts. Every day we were at a new family member’s house, oftentimes eating barbeque and cake. On our last night, we stayed at my uncle Josh’s house, he and his girlfriend introduced us to an awesome game… a game where we spent hours designing characters, hours walking through the woods and barns and old towns. A game where we fought monster spiders and had to solve a mystery of missing cows. A game that in real life lasted hours, but in-game lasted about 45 minutes. My parents and I were immediately hooked. On the drive home it was all we could talk about. My mom started looking up podcasts and shows where she could learn more about the game, and my dad started watching instructional videos about how the rules of the game worked. I personally have always been a strong believer in winging-it, so I just sat back and enjoyed the ride home. This game was called Dungeons and Dragons.
Fast forwarding… a year later my aunt and uncle came up to visit us in Wisconsin, where my dad begged them to play D&D with us again. Now if you were to see my dad’s house, you would think he’d be a person who already knew how to play this game. Every wall in his house has some sort of medieval decoration, whether it be swords or daggers, shields or tapestry. It was clear that this game was meant for him.
We didn't get to play that visit, but once they drove back to Missouri, my parents started playing with them virtually. Over this past year, the state of the world has been a bit.. tense… so a virtual alternative to playing was definitely the way to go. I myself never was able to play with them, or even had that strong of a motivation. That was until this year.
New Years 2021
Now that my parents are proficient in the game, and have participated in a few campaigns, they definitely have a feel for it. From coming from a place of total fascination to a place of genuine passion was incredible to witness. They started collecting dice and players handbooks, watching hundred of hours of podcasts, and practicing their character voices on the regular. They were in.
I myself have never been that attached to the game, but nevertheless, my parents still urged me to learn. My mom had the idea to become a dungeon master herself. She studied and memorized and planned out an adventure of her own. With tools of books of monsters and a dungeon master's guide, she was well on her way. She had the idea to start a campaign, with her two brothers, their girlfriends, my dad, and one more person, me. They invited me to join their campaign and learn the game all over again. At this point it’s been two years since I last played, and I had almost completely forgotten how the game worked. I said I would join their campaign but it would take a lot of work. Considering I would be joining a game with three experienced DM’s, and three other well-versed D&D players. To say I was nervous was an understatement.
My mom helped me create a new character, and spent time re-introducing me to the game. There was definitely a lot to remember. It took some time, but I eventually became familiar with the general rules of the game. To practice combat, we played a quick one-shot where only my dad and I were playing, this would also serve as a first-time DMing session for my mom. We all helped each other learn our new roles and become familiar with the set up. We did this a few times to get the hang of the new technology we were using and online platforms that were new to all of us.
The entire party got together for episode Zero, to introduce our characters to each other and establish relationships between characters. This definitely settled some nerves, and made me feel more comfortable interacting in-game with other people. I would say my biggest inspirations for role playing are my uncles, Josh and Austin. They’re both so goofy and play so well off of each other.
Next session was episode One, this is where things got interesting. This was our first episode where we actually got to go on some adventures. We drank and ate, and sang and laughed, and fought some goblins along the way. Considering this was my mom’s first time DMing for a real adventure, and for a real party, she did an amazing job. There were some hiccups with the technology we were using, but hey, ‘tis the state of the world. Where a screen replaces human interaction and tiny character icons replace figurines. At this point I was excited to keep playing, and excited to see where this adventure would take us.
Before this, I was really doubting myself, and self-sulking in the thought of “well I’m not as good as the other players”, “I don't know what I’m doing”... so I decided for myself to get out of that mentality. I even joined another campaign with a group of friends, to learn from different people how to play.
New Years Eve was my get out of jail free card. Because I was new to the game, I had the option to leave the party completely after New years, if I didn't like the way it was going. Because hey, D&D isn't for everyone, and my family knew that. We played our New Years Eve game and had a great time. We walked through creepy caves, fought some wolves, and role played our hearts out…. literally. Five minute until 2021, we all got our wine or sparkling grape juice and counted down. 10.. 9.. 8.. 7.. 6.. 5.. 4.. 3.. 2.. 1.. HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!
After we all signed off and settled down, my parents asked me if I wanted to keep going with the campaign or if I wanted to quit now. I’m optimistic for the storyline, and know things will get a whole lot more interesting, so I’ve decided to stay with it. I'm excited to keep playing and further develop my character, Sharog Urog, the Half-orc bounty hunter, in search of their birth-father, alongside their bestest compadre Rinn Nailo, AKA “Nighbreeze”, a monk on a mission to achieve omnipresent super galactic oneness.
I’m looking forward to where this new interest will take me, and looking forward to the new year. Time to slug my hand axe over my shoulder and charge towards 2021.
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