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My husband Darren has played role-playing games like Dungeons and Dragons since he was a teenager. When I started dating him twelve years ago, he introduced me to the games. At first I didn’t do so well with them, but after the initial stumble I began to do better and liked playing them. Joe joined us for gaming three years ago. There is a lot of learning to be good at gaming, but it is worth the effort. Darren and I have played with other people before, and each group dynamic is different; I have enjoyed each group experience.

Darren is our dungeon master, which means that he reads the adventures we play and sets up each week’s encounters. He gives us experience points so our characters can level up, making them stronger and better at skills. He plays the roles of the monsters we fight and the other creatures we interact with. He does a ton of work for each encounter. I tried my hand at being the DM once, and I wasn’t very good at it. Darren is good at it; he is inventive, knows the rules, and rules with a benign fist.

Joe and I are the players. We have characters with certain abilities, scores, and combat strategies that we develop as we play week after week. We just finished a 4th edition version of Dungeons and Dragons, which is published by Wizards of the Coast. Joe played Donaar, a Dragonborn Paladin and I played Shaadow, a Razorclaw Shifter Rogue, and we got our characters to 21st level. When Joe gets back from Maine, we are going to start an adventure in a game called Pathfinder, published by Paizo. Joe already chose to play a Half-Elf Ranger, but he still needs to finish making the character. I haven’t decided for sure about my character yet, though I am leaning heavily towards Half-Elf Oracle.

Both D&D and Pathfinder use the d20 system, which means we use dice of different sizes to play the game. A d20 dice has 20 sides, a d8 has 8 sides, a d6 dice has 6 sides (it is also used in a lot of games other than just role-playing) and so on. The dice are used to randomize the play in a variety of situations, like in combat, to see if we hit a monster or not, and skill checks, to see if we can jump over a creek or talk a guard into letting us past. We sometimes role-play an interaction with characters, especially if we are trying to get information from a NPC – non-player character – and asking questions, but we still have to roll the d20 to see if we succeed.

Once in a while we take a break from playing our role-playing game to do other things, like play Axis and Allies, when we are in between adventures or when life dictates it. Darren has different versions of Axis and Allies, and he loves playing it. He doesn’t get to as much as he wants, so we usually play that during breaks.

Joe will be back next week. As he would write, take care, have a good weekend, and happy reading.

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