gaming News/Blogs

You, Me, and D&D

I started this article about a year ago and it got stuck in publishing because I couldn’t decide if I wanted to publish it or not. I figured I’d publish it anyway.

I’ve been thinking about this article for a while now, considering what I would say about my love of D&D and of RPG’s in general. I figured we could start first off with a story, then I changed my mind and wanted to go another way entirely, but the best way for me to attempt this is just honestly and from the heart.

I must have first heard of D&D when I was in uni when I started watching The Big Bang Theory. Catholic High Schools are not the best place to hear about D&D, especially when we were for a time banned from playing Monopoly because it was ‘gambling’. Yeah, it was a whole thing apparently. I guess it was from the group of geeky men who would sit in the Atrium playing ‘Magic: The Gathering’. Seeing people play that, I think my brain just assumed (wrongly so) that games like that were only for geeky men.

Cut to a few years later and I am sitting at work talking to a geeky guy who sat beside me at the time and we somehow get onto the subject of Dungeons and Dragons. He was just learning to play at the time and I was just getting interested in wanting to see what it was all about. Critical Role had been on my radar for some time, but with the vast catalog of episodes, it seemed daunting to start. He suggested going to a comic book shop to learn how to play, but it was too far from home and it was another year passed before I could think about D&D again.

Then the Pandemic hit and I suddenly had A LOT more free time available to me. I didn’t have to travel to and from work anymore freeing up two and a half hours per day for me to use however I wanted. How did I decide to use it? Well, one night (August 15 2020 to be exact) I decided ‘Why the fuck not? What do I have to lose if it’s not for me?’ and I put on the first episode of Campaign 2 of Critical Role.

Within minutes I was HOOKED! After an hour, I’d bought the Players Handbook and my first set of dice. Within the length of the first episode, I was looking up stats and getting an account for DndBeyond to start building my first character (a human fighter called Mara Ashfury who is still sitting there for her chance to show off).

With becoming a Stan of Critical Role, I instantly became a dice goblin and holder of books and merch. It has honestly gotten to the point where I have to write lists of what I currently have as that’s easier for me to send to people for gifts.

I carried on the same manner each day. Wake up. Work. Watch two or three episodes of Critical Role. Then sleep. I even had a spreadsheet going at one point to keep track of how many episodes I was getting through in one day. All of this was to achieve one goal. To catch up to campaign two in time to watch the Halloween episode live. 75 days after I started watching, I finally managed it, and just hours before the Halloween episode. Yes, this is an achievement I am extremely proud of and will shout about until the day I die (probably).

So where do we go from there? Well, there was all of campaign one to watch (which at the time of publication I’ve started a rewatch of it and have reached episode 34) but more importantly, I had the itch to play!

We tried to put a game together in work but then people left and it all fell apart so I was without a group again. Little geek me didn’t really know too many other people who were obsessed with D&D so I did what any sane person would. I contacted a few friends I knew were into it and I said if they agreed to play, I would DM for us. Unsurprisingly, they all said yes!

Jump to February of 2021 and I had created a world for us. A world with its own creation story, its own history, its own political system, and its own religious system. We were ready to go! Then a week or so before our first session, my gran in her infinite wisdom, suggested that we record the sessions and put them on YouTube. I was sold, and so was everyone else, and thus Queer & D was born! Being a first-time DM and it being the first time I had ever okayed D&D, I decided to run a one-shot from the ‘Adventuring with Pride’ book and build out from there, but we were all hooked.

So where are we now? I started writing this article about a year and a half ago but ran out of steam. Coming back to it, D&D is still as strong a presence in my life as it ever was. We just uploaded session number 38, but it’s our 40th game as I decided to create a Cyberpunk one-shot to live out my best Cyberpunk life and then I ran a Stranger Things Oneshot while we were at a convention. We are just finishing our first villain arc encompassing three backstories for characters and we are going from strength to strength! D&D has even given me some new hobbies, I suppose that’s unsurprising. I started off with miniature painting, then moved on to building terrain so that one day I can play a game in person with my niece. Then with my dice goblin-ness, it was only natural that I’d branch out into making dice myself. I’m still getting a hang of all three, but it’s all part of the fun.

I don’t know what D&D will bring in the future except for even more fun and the further building of my various D&D collections, but I am glad it is in my life now. It came at the perfect time when I needed it most. I don’t know really what the purpose of this post has been. I guess it’s to show you that you don’t have to be a geeky male or anything like that to be able to play D&D. As long as you have fun while playing that’s all that really matters, no matter who you are. So pick up your character sheet and your d20 and get to making those characters. They won’t make themselves!

-Written by Christine

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