Writing, Technology and D&D Dungeons and Dragons Campaign Diaries: Episode 0 – Shadow from the Past

Campaign Diaries: Episode 0 – Shadow from the Past

The date is March 2019. I visit my sister in New York for the week. We plan a week of events. The kids mention they want to play Dungeons and Dragons at the local game store, so we book a session and head over.

We arrive at the store and the kids pick out their pre-generated characters. I’m asked if I’d like to play. I decline. I hadn’t played D&D since high school and outside of a few games during that time period, I explain that I never quite enjoyed it.

Mind you, I loved the world, the classes, the monsters, the pulp storytelling – all of it. I just didn’t enjoy playing with my friends at the time because truth be told, we didn’t know what we were doing. Some games were great, but most of the time, I found our sessions to be boring. We played a lot (1st edition and 2nd edition), but when I went off to college, I left it all behind me.

Thirty years later, I ‘m at the game store and I see a Dungeons and Dragons starter set. It includes dice, a pre-made adventure and some character sheets. My daughter seems interested so I buy it.

The starter set contains everything you need to play Dungeons and Dragons, fifth edition.

My daughter wants to DM, but she doesn’t know the rules and doesn’t want to read them. I don’t blame her. I think about getting rid of the kit down the road.

Six months later, during a conversation with some parents at our dojo, I mention the starter kit. One of the dads my age loves to play D&D. My daughter and I get invited to a game. It’s a family game – lots of kids playing with adults. We decide to give it a shot.

I’m told to roll up our characters so I buy myself a copy of the Player’s Handbook. I roll up a cleric and she plays a rogue. We play once a month but the experience isn’t very enjoyable. There are lots of kids running around and it’s hard to pay attention. Sessions are spaced at least one month apart so there isn’t any consistency.

Yet, I start reading the Player’s Handbook to understand the rules. I look up YouTube videos on playing. I don’t want to feel like I’m playing blind like I did in high school. I read the handbook cover to cover, finding the fifth edition to be rather accessible.

And then it happens. Meeting some friends one night, one of them asks, “you guys feel like playing Dungeons and Dragons?”

It turns out, everyone used to play the game back in the day. Except we need a Dungeon Master. Everyone has kids so no one has the time to put together a campaign. And then it hits me – I have an adventure ready to go back at my house.

At once, it’s decided. I’m slated to be the Dungeon Master. We agree to start in January. The adventure: The Lost Mines of Phandelver. Turns out, I have a lot of reading to do over the holidays.

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