Dungeons and Dragons

I have been playing Dungeons and Dragons for around ten years. I cannot say consistently, because D&D is not something that can easily be played consistently, but I do not want to say I have played off-and-on for this last decade, because you never truly stop. Each session — every story and campaign — is paused and saved to resume. Nathan, the uncle of my closest friend Donnie, has been playing since the 8o’s. He is ultimately the cause of my interest in the experience. The second edition of the game was released in 1989, and that is the edition that Nathan grew to love, so it is the edition that I played until earlier this year.

The majority of the decade involved Donnie, Gavin, Nathan, Andy, and I playing, Nathan always being the Dungeon Master. Some of Nathan’s friends were involved at first, but they only played for two sessions after I joined the group. The group had been playing for about a year before I did join. Andy — Nathan’s cousin who was disabled after an automobile accident — joined in a little after I did.

Despite the fact that we have not played that campaign for over a year now, we still have their characters — their progression. Donnie’s Pumpernickel Went, Gavin’s Droop E. Wiener, and Nathan’s Tilly Liversniffles still live on as The Three Gents. I am their thief companion, Arlyli Igwesia. I took my name a bit more seriously than they did. Andy always plays a dark elf character whose name, abilities, and backstory changes nearly every time we played, but we were fine with it. We have fought everything from rats to liches and done everything from arranging a kobold wedding to aiding a red dragon in overthrowing a demon king and its army in the deepest crevices of Hell. Eventually, however, life happens. People have to work, struggle, and survive, and our cantankerous heroes have to endure a significantly lengthier pause.

Donnie and I invited our friend Matt to play with us and Nathan in a new campaign. Donnie took the role of DM for this campaign so Nathan could more freely enjoy playing a character. We later invited our friend Andrew to join, and he became obsessed. This campaign eventually ended. This became a trend. Donnie and Nathan would swap being DMs as we played when we could but not many stories stuck. We recruited more people — Caleb, Jordan, Trevor, and Jeremy. Andrew was the DM at one point, and I was after him. Donnie was after that.

We started so many campaigns and made so many new characters that we were beginning to burn out. Everyone wanted to play, but, as a whole, the group did not allow themselves to be engaged. Every encounter in every story became a silly encounter that we would purposely sabotage to create desperately needed entertainment in the form of humor to break up the overly abundant combat scenarios. Donnie and I would nostalgically wonder where the magic of the good ol’ days had gone. We began creating new rules and modifications for the 2nd edition rules we still clung too, but they did not change enough.

I had been doing research on the most recent editions, hoping to find how they were keeping this glorious game alive and fresh. Adopting newer rules seemed like a good idea, but Donnie and I were apprehensive. However, the 5th gen books happened to go on sale on Amazon, so we made a snap decision to buy them. Andrew also bought his own set so he could look at them while away for college (he attended a university a couple of hours away). Donnie had been the DM so much that he wanted to be a player. I wanted to DM, but I also wanted to experience the new world. Andrew really wanted to DM, so we decided to let him DM. This 5th edition campaign began the second week of March, and we are still in it. We have been playing for one day every two weekends at least, but there have been some moments where we played two or three weekends consecutively.

It is going well, but it could be going better. The classes, races, spells, and everything else feel foreign despite being largely familiar. We have made conclusions about which changes are welcomed and which are unwanted. I decided to be a scribe for this campaign as I had for a few other sessions, albeit randomly and inconsistently; however, I dedicated to being a proper scribe, and because of this, I have a D&D story to share. I will periodically be posting the chronicling of this most recent campaign, so please, stay tuned.