This is the story of my experience, while I was at University, with the strange gaming world of Dungeons and Dragons.
The world of Dungeon and Dragons is a strange and secretive one. I was always interested in it and made my interest known but I got no response from my colleagues other than some vague mumbling about how they had read about it somewhere. Yet every Monday, I saw sleepy, bloodshot eyes all around – evidence that each weekend, there was a secret gathering with long, wild, serious D & D marathons going on.
For weeks, I felt left out. Then one winter day, Karen asked me what I was doing for the weekend. I said “Nothing much – feeding squirrels.”
“How would you like to see some real action?” she asked teasingly. Of course, I was ecstatic. “Meet me outside the labs at 9.00 am Saturday. Come alone and don’t be late!”
I was there early and had to wait for her. Eventually, Karen appeared out of the blowing snow and led me into the white landscape. We took some creative short cuts through some hedges and fences and we walked along some streets for a good fifteen minutes. I realised that we had been going round the same cul-de -sac for the last five minutes and it was a familiar cul-de-sac too.
“Karen, are we headed for Wally’s pad? I ask only cause we’ve gone round it four times.”
“Shhh!” and she pushes me up the driveway and to Wally’s front door. “Had to make sure we were not followed” she offered.
She tapped the door three times, paused and then tapped twice. Wally, opened the door and ushered us in without a word. Only when we were inside did they both relax. “Sorry about the cloak and dagger but not every one’s significant other or supervisor knows where we are today and we want to keep it that way!”
I was led into the den and there assembled were six other comrade at arms waiting and eager for the coming adventure into the Dark Realms.
I enthusiastically asked lots of questions but nobody really wanted to waste time helping the novice out. So the rules were simplified and summarised for me. Chose a character. Play the character. When the character does something, I get to roll the dice which determines the outcome of the action. Everything else was under the control of the Almighty Wally our host and Dungeon Master.
The Pecking Order
The wonderful thing about D & D is that you get to chose from a variety of characters. For example, you could be a wizard, not unlike Gandalf. Or perhaps a super-righteous defender of all that is good, a Paladin. Even a Ranger with special abilities like talking to animals seemed like a cool character. Or perhaps a cleric, skilled with knowledge of the supernatural.
“Why can’t I be the Paladin?” I asked.
“Andy is the Paladin.” Karen replies.
“How come he gets to be the Paladin?”
“He brought the beer.”
“Jaime. He brought the chips.”
“Ranger? Wizard? Elf?”
“Taken, taken, taken.”
“You can be a thief.”
Beggars can’t be choosers. “Okay!” I said cheerfully. “I’ll be the best thief there ever was. Let the games begin.”
(end of part 1. To be continued……)