Tabletop Thursday – D&D Reunion

“The corridor is 10′ wide, stretching ahead of you into a lighted room.  You hear the sounds of high-pitched voices chattering with excitement, and an occasional loud crack, sounding like stone striking stone.  Brandis, you cautiously creep ahead and peer into the room.  You see three small draconic-looking humanoids, up on a 10′ tall ledge, whirling slings over their heads, firing stones down at a bloodied armored orc cowering behind a pillar.”  [Dice are rolled] Brandis, one of the kobolds has noticed you, and is pointing and chittering excitedly in your direction.  Everyone roll for initiative.”

At this point I looked up from behind the DM’s screen as the dice clattered across the table.  My best buddy, Joe, is sitting on my right hand side, where he always sits, mapping, as he always does.  Next to him is John, making a funny remark about his die roll, as usual.  And then the surreal hit me.

Because sitting at the head of the table, opposite me, was Joe’s 18 year old son.  Across from John was my daughter, and next to her was my brother’s daughter.  It was a reunion game, getting my D&D buddies growing up together to play again, some 30 years after we got started, and this time with our kids.

And it was funny how quickly we fell back into our roles.  Me as DM.  Joe playing a rogue, as always, and handling the mapping and note taking.  John as the fighter, and the comic relief.  It was amazing how comfortable it was.  The only thing missing was my brother, who couldn’t play because of chronic back problems.  But his teenage daughter was there, and she sat in for him.

I had been talking up D&D 4E to Joe for a while now, and on a whim I sent out an e-mail to all parties before leaving to visit, and the idea was enthusiastically embraced.  We convened at my parents, as always, but the difference was that instead of being banished to the basement as usual, we got to play in the dining room.    I took about 15 minutes to explain the new rules, and then we just embarked, with me and my daughter (so proud of her!) helping them through the various combat situations until about the 3rd encounter, when they finally had a good handle on how to play their characters.

Of course, some things were different.  There were plenty of snacks, but they were a bit better than our usual Doritos, Mountain Dew and French Onion dip (although we had those too.)  We were watching our language a bit more than we did in the past, since we had younger kids around.  My mom was amused to no end, watching us play.  At one point, she walked through and said “Well, at least I know where you all are, instead of running around getting into trouble.”  We got a big chuckle out of that one.  She also said “I can remember when I was nervous you were all going to go to hell for playing D&D.”  John, a 23 year veteran of the army, who served 4 tours of duty in Iraq, wryly spoke up and said “Some of us DID go to hell for a while.  But I got better.”

We played from 4 in the afternoon until midnight, when we had to stop because the grown ups had to get up early for work the next morning.  It was the longest marathon gaming session I have played in years.  All parties had a great time, and they all insisted that the next time I come down to visit my parents, that we continue the game.  My niece, who had never played before, fell in love with the game, at different times would exclaim “This is so intense!” 

The next day, she was talking to me and my daughter about the game, and she said “Is there any danger to becoming addicted to the game?  All I can do is think about playing now!”  I looked at her, smiled and said, “It’s 30 years since I first played, and I’m still playing.  Nah, I don’t see a problem with it being addictive.”

(This post is dedicated to Dave Arneson, co-creator of Dungeons & Dragons, who passed away yesterday.  Thanks, Dave, for contributing to all of the hours/days/weeks/months of fun I had, and am having.  RIP.)

2 Responses to “Tabletop Thursday – D&D Reunion”

  1. Great post–I dig how you guys make your table-top play such a family thing. Fun stuff.

    • This weekend I hope to play some “Faeries Tale” with my youngest daughter. She’s been pestering me for a while to play. Now I need to come up with a good story for her…

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