I’m just back from playing Dungeons and Dragons (DD) and thought I’d share my experience. This wasn’t actually my first time at playing the role playing (RP) board game. A few years back for Christmas my family got a box game of it with everything already set up and the rules made simpler. This game came with us on holiday, mostly camping or the narrow boat because it’s actually a great way to pass a good few hours whilst its raining or you’ve broke down etc. This was my first introduction to DD and I enjoyed playing it because it was fantasy and adventures and something completely different to tradition/normal board games, which like most families we’ve been through them all.
My second encounter with DD was with my ex and two of his friends some months back. We played at his house and did a small, self-contained game. This involved a lot more RP then the box game of course, but those guys really got into the spirit of the game. As for me, I struggled on the complexity of dealing with all the rules and numbers. I’ve always been bad with numbers and remembering things. However, I did like it and was keen to learn and play again. Then when we broke up I told myself that I wasn’t going to let that stop me from having another bash at DD. I was still interested in it, but I just needed to find someone to teach me.
Luckily, less then 2 months after the break up I met someone else and it was actually because of DD that we got talking. We’ve been together 3 weeks now and today was our 5th date. I guess nearly all girls would never concerned going to play DD on a date. But it’s becoming very noticeable to me that I have a nerd side which needs to be embraced. I class myself as a secret nerd, because I’m still unwilling- as of yet!- to admit it fully. So, this evening I had another go at playing DD and this time it was in a Manchester shop which supports such games and others of course. People gather to learn how to play all kinds of things there, which I think is really good because sometimes you can get one of these RP or fantasy games home and not have a clue what to do with it! This evening we got told that all over the world people were sitting down to play the same adventure that we were about to go on because that’s the way these massive things work. (Yeah, I’m still trying to get the hang of it all, just bare with me.)
(DD dice- more covered in numbers then your normal dice….)
I’m so not going into the whole this is how you play DD and make characters and stuff like that. There’s lots of websites with that information on and frankly I’m still a newbie at this. Here’s the official DD site if you want to check it out – http://www.wizards.com/DnD/Default.aspx . Also, I decided that I’m not going into the whole story and background that we are currently playing because and though I’m not confused by it, I’d rather not spoil it for people. But I shall do a little bit about the interesting events that happened in our game and my experiences of becoming a DD player.
Firstly, for the people who don’t know what DD is about and are busy wondering what’s going on. DD is actually all about telling stories. The players choice characters/heroes and the Dungeon Master (DM) who is in control of telling the story also has control of the enemies/monsters and is there to guide the heroes through the story. The game is played on a board which represents the area of the world that the heroes are currently in. There are so many different areas and so many boards!
The players have character sheets which have lots of information in both word and number form printed/written on them. This is each heroes stats and has normal stuff like; their name, race and language(s) spoken. There is also weapons,other items, equipment and treasure/money. A range of different skills can be picked and these are mostly chosen on the race of the character. There’s things like; heal, thievery, nature, stealth, athletics and perception. Skills are useful for a large number of things like stealth would be used to sneak up on enemies
The main last point is about fighting. Heroes have to fight lots of different monsters, it’s not just dragons all the time as the name suggests! There’s a whole range of stuff from wild animals to supernatural to goblins to harpies. The health of heroes is measured in hit points and this are effected when damaged (in any number of ways) happens. For attacks there are a few things that can be done and it’s actually not as simple as drawing a sword and attacking said monster….though I guess you could do that…My character can choose to do tricks to aid in the fight like knocking a monster on to its back or setting a trap, before attacking. You also get experience points too and can level up. The goal of the game is to complete the adventure and get the rewards.
(A game in action)
The adventure we started this evening was all about the Drow race and their quest. The Drow are dark elves and therefore evil. There’s an awesome website my boyfriend showed me which has lots of information about them and also about DD. http://www.kismetrose.com/dnd/MyDrow.html . I see no real need to go into this because you can just read about it all there. For the first part of our adventure we had to fight off some strange creatures. If the DM said their names I don’t actually recall them. My boyfriend attacked the first one and got pinned to a wall and no one was able to get him down until close to the end. It was rather funny, though his hero almost died when someone did kill the monster and he fell to the floor. I almost died too, because I had to fight this ooze monster which poisoned me and I just couldn’t get away in time. However, we both made it through and our heroes can carry on next week. In the end we did mange to kill all the monsters and move on into the next room and to the next bit of the story. Then it was home time. You play a chapter of the story once a week for between 6/8-14 weeks. We are playing 8 weeks.
I was really worried about playing DD this evening. I felt the same the first time I really played it as I was scared I’d mess up or look like a fool in front of the others for not knowing how to play. I felt that again this time, though I was pretty much in the same boat as everyone else, as it was their first time and no one knew how to play. But my other fear was that I might have been the only girl there. Kismetrose has a great article/essay about being a woman and playing DD. http://www.kismetrose.com/dnd/Women.html There were two other women there, so it was that bad, but it’s just so rare they have girls in shops like the one I was in. Games like these have never really been seen as women’s games and men have dominated playing them. Maybe it’s because there’s a level of immaturity in playing them and men are better connect to their inner child then women? There’s also a level of escapism which seems to appeal more to men. I love escapism, I do it in my writing all the time. On reflection, I can’t really explain my nerd side or why I enjoy such related things. I’ve never been a typical woman though and perhaps that has something to do with it?
Anyway, I’m please to say that I did like DD and I plan to go back next week and carry on playing. It might be a hard game to understand, but it’s easy enough to play. Also the social atmosphere was good in the shop and I wasn’t treated like I shouldn’t have been there or made to feel silly because I didn’t know what to do. And as you might have noticed in the title of this post I added the (Part 1) because I strongly believe I shall be writing about DD again, though if I decided to write every week about it or just to start that way and then just add the events into different posts, is still to be decided.
Finally, if you’ve read through all of this and decided that playing DD might be for you then go and check out the official website and find a game near you. Also girls don’t be scared to embrace you nerd/geeky sides! Though beware that interesting things can happen when you do….