Team Mayhem! Marathon Gaming and Team Building

The last time we left our Keebler Coalition of Misfits, we were about to set off on our adventure to Oak Hurst. The next time we gathered, it was for an incredible 10 hours of game time. Now, I didn’t think anything of it. I know that a single session of D&D can take hours. However, I’ve since heard from a couple of friends who do separate games and, apparently, our group’s second time playing was tantamount to a long distance marathon. Go us!

As far as learning the actual game, I’ve discovered that it’s a process of understanding your character and their motivations and then not being afraid of improvising.

That being said, I am not a good at improv. True, I am a writer and I can get the character down, but the on the spot action throws me for a loop. It takes a while for me to get going when it’s time to take action. I find that there’s not a whole lot of time to think through a coherent strategy. This results in more than a few missteps. Like not following up on a blatant plot point from your DM or being extra dumb in your actions and almost getting killed twice. Yeah. That was me. I am still too embarrassed to talk about it.

Another crucial part of D&D is learning how to play as a team while in character. That means getting to know your fellow characters while you are in character. This is proving to be a rather interesting experience since most of the team doesn’t really talk to each other. Most team work at this early stage in the game is negligible. Our characters simply don’t trust each other too much yet. I am told that will come with time. For my character’s sake, I hope so. She’s too inquisitive to be stuck with a ton of non-friendly people. But then she is young, so maybe this is just shaping her up for the world in which she lives.

 I will say that all of these prolonged gaming sessions are very fun. I am really enjoying getting to know my characters as they grow and learn.

By the end of our 10 hour long escapade, we made it all the way to Oak Hurst and we met Marl. Here we will learn about the magic apple that seems to heal the dismembered and disfigured, and we will try to help find the other guards that have been lost out of this garrison.

In other words, LOTS of team building exercises for Team Mayhem!

 

Game On!

Kira

Team Mayhem! The Start of the Campaign

This is it. My first ever D&D game. Will and I pile into the truck with our notebooks, mechanical pencils, and dice bags (as well as a couple of bags of snackage) to pick up Tom and Rachel. Together, the four of us venture down to Sidney’s place where the start of our D&D journey will commence.

Once we’ve arrived and had our fill of the pizza feast that awaited us, we all gathered around the table set up in Sidney’s living room. We select our avatars- little cardboard pop outs with illustrations of different characters on them. There’s a final drink/ snack run and we settle in to begin.

On the TV is a large slide that depicts the five realms that split apart. Sidney begins the introduction, explaining the realms and which country/kingdom is at war with who and general history of the world we are going to be playing in. So far so good. I am not 100% on the rules of what needs to be rolled when or what I can or cannot do. The only thing I am aware of from various snippets of conversations with others is that the DM is tantamount to God. Whatever the DM says happens, happens. Beyond that... I haven’t the faintest idea what I am doing.

Our party is made up of a drunk Tiefling fighter (pretty much a devil-looking creature- I can’t remember what his name is), a quiet Rogue Half-Elf named Tess, a Fey Wild named Phairen, and my own characters, Dis and Khaos who I introduced in the first blog.

Based on the first round, pretty much what we are doing is narrating our character’s actions and trying to not get killed by a horrible roll of the dice. Sidney (the DM) is playing the part of everyone else we meet. Now, some of the players (specifically my husband) play the game in character. Meaning he talks like his character would and such. Not everyone does it, so I am not sure if I need to do the same.

Also, I wasn’t sure if we took turns taking actions (like roaming around the town to figure out what we are doing, etc). I wasn’t sure what the protocol is for pickpocketing someone or stealing something (I am a Rogue Street Urchin...), so I just paid for everything I needed. (Okay, so I am a piss poor Rogue Street Urchin).

All of the characters met in the tavern called the Yawning Portal where they were called in to pay a debt to the owner, Durnan. Before speaking with Durnan, we were given the chance to look around the city where a large festival was taking place. Dis and Khaos checked it out and got the gossip about the soldiers being called in and noted all of the extra security. Eventually Dis and Khaos wandered back to the tavern where we received instructions to head to a place called Oak Hurst and help someone up there find his missing mercenaries. We were to leave on the transport up in the morning.

The first battle was against a bunch of ice spiders that crawled out of a pit in the ground. It was horrible. We are level ones with an average of ten hit points before we die. The spiders were SUPER hard to fight off- I think we went into 9 rounds in the fight, or something like that. Dis and Tess were both knocked out cold. We didn’t die straight out of the gate, so we have that going for us. The party made it to the next morning, ready to depart for Oak Hurst.

And all of that was about four hours of playing time (snack breaks included). It’s going to take me a while to get the hang of this game. The good news is that I will have more chances to learn. The next game is scheduled and it should be more in depth than the first session. We’ve named our team Mayhem (because it is better than the Keebler Coalition, which was the other option).

Despite still not being sure what’s going on most of the time, I am beginning to have fun. Thought I still don’t understand why Will wanted me to have multiple sets of dice...  

 

Happy Gaming!

Kira

Hello, My Name Is Kira and This Is My First RPG

Dungeons and Dragons. The mere words doubtless conjure some sort of reaction. “Devils and Witchcraft”, “Nerdy Time Waster”, “Isn’t that how you get to the Upside Down?”, and “Oh! I used to play that!”

                Well, for some time now, my wonderful husband, Will, has been playing the game at a once a month meet up. He’s having a blast, but want the fun on a more frequent basis. He’s convinced my best friend Sidney (also in the once a month group as well as her own weekly group) that she should start up a game. What’s more, he’s convinced two other friends of ours, Tom and Rachel, to play as well. For the record, I wasn’t asked. I was told I would play. Because this is Sidney’s first time running a game, the participant list is capped at the five of us.

                Okay, a little background on me. I love playing games. I just haven’t played a role playing game like Dungeon’s and Dragon’s before. Now, when I was little, my mom had a group that she played with. I’ve flipped through her monster manuals and there was a brief stint in High School where we were going to play, but I didn’t actually commit. So I do at least have a general idea of what is supposed to happen. Kind of.  I’ve decided to chronicle my experiences with the whole Dungeon’s and Dragon’s adventure for, hopefully, much amusement in the coming months.

                The first thing I learned is that there’s a specific language and many acronyms in this game. Here are a few gems that I’ve had to look up just while creating my character:

                D&D: Dungeons and Dragons

                RPG: Role Playing Game

                DM: Dungeon Master (Sidney, for our purposes)

                Alignment: This translates to roughly what set of morals your character lives by: Good, Chaotic, Evil, Neutral, Lawful, etc. For example, my character’s alignment is Chaotic Neutral, meaning that she believes that everything changes and her actions can either be good or bad as the situation dictates whereas a Lawful Good alignment would be the character always doing what’s considered good and lawful no matter what. They wouldn’t steal a loaf of bread to feed a starving family, but they would find a way to pay for the bread, if that makes any sense.

                Oh, and creating a character! What a process! It took a good hunk of time and mine was relatively low maintenance. Will’s character took hours and I am still not sure that it’s done. There was a lot of consulting the Player’s Handbook and a lot of “Well, what do you want to be? Pick a (race) (class) (background) (alignment) (personality traits) (ideals) (bonds) (flaws).” Once those core things were chosen, then more research was needed to figure out what equipment I came with. Then there was the rolling of the dice for my strength, dexterity, constitution, intelligence, wisdom, and charisma. On top of that, there’s calculations for hit points, armor class, initiative, skills and proficiencies and... (this is the part that, as a writer, I could easily go overboard with) a detailed enough backstory to make the character believable.

                I am telling you, creating a character is complicated and there’s a good reason D&D has worksheets to write it all down on. I’d never remember half of this on my own.

                So, what was my result? Well? My character is named Distraethra (Dis for short). She is a young wood elf (only 185 or so- apparently they live to be around 700ish) who was abandoned as a small child in a sprawling metropolis. She’s an urchin rogue that will one day develop into an arcane trickster. She owes her survival to a mouse named Khaos (he’s one of the mouse folk... yes that is a thing. As an urchin, Dis came with a pet mouse. As her backstory developed, Sidney said the mouse was too cool not to be more of a character so we modified the stats to an average rat and gave Khaos a character sheet and his own personality traits and backstory). She’s aligned as chaotic neutral and believes that nothing is ever permanent and people who can’t take care of themselves get what they deserve. Her friend, Khaos, is a disgraced folk hero evicted from his village after losing everything to an unjust person. That event solidified his belief that it would be better to serve the agents of chaos instead of good. Why he decided to take on a small elf-child, I can only guess it was a flip of a coin.        

                I should note that the day after we created our characters, my husband took me to a local game shop to pick out my very own set of dice. Dice, it seems, are a status symbol for RPGers. You can’t just have one set (an average set will range from a d3 to d20). Oh no, you’ve gotta have a couple, just in case the dice are bad. Yes. There’s a thing called dice shaming. Check out the images on Google when you are bored... hilarious. It’s safe to say that Will is excited for me to start this game with him.

                Dis and Khaos will begin their campaign with three others in a few days. It’s gonna be an interesting trip.

 

Smiles,

Kira