In the mid-1970’s parents were nervous about RPGs. Concerns were fuelled by inaccurate and sensational media reports that re-branded D&D as a cult. This may have increased sales of D&D at the time but it also left tabletop RPGs with a reputation of begin a bit ‘out there’ or ‘niche’. Any school or library that tried to encourage RPGs risked complaints from parents.
Thirty years on most parents would be delighted to see their kids unplugging themselves from super violent console titles to read rules books, meet up face to face with real friends and enjoy imaginative storytelling.
What do I love about Dungeons & Dragons? It has to be the socializing. The funny banter between friends. That is by far the best thing about Dungeons & Dragons. Getting together on a lazy Saturday afternoon to hang out and talk with friends. Maybe having a BBQ. It’s just all in all good times. That aspect alone makes up why I love playing Dungeons & Dragons.
I find that the week or two I have to prepare for a game as a DM (Dungeon Master) is a great creative outlet for me. I draw and plan out maps, encounters, battles, and wars. I even find myself sometimes picking out the background music I would like to have playing when the game actually starts. If the weather permits I will try and sit outside with a couple of rule books, some colored pencils, graph paper, my iPod and just go to town.
Since Hannah and I started playing Dungeons & Dragons it has become one of the big highlights of our weekend. It will be a great distraction for us here in Juneau when the weather turns cold and we enter the darker months.
This last weekend I ran my first game of Dungeons and Dragons ever, and it went so well! I don’t think it could have gone any better.
Six of us, including Hannah and myself gathered at a near by friends house to setup and play. Snack food was being layed out as I setup the battlemat (I wrote about this battlemat earlier) on the dinning room table along with my Dungeon Master Screen, note books, scratch paper and dice. Soon everyone gathered around the table to play.
I began the game by telling the story of Sir Robert Tembelton who was protecting the small village of Crowking. The adventures in my group where hired by Tembelton to help him protect the village from a growing evil. But when my group of new adventures arrived that found that Sir Tembelton had left to investigate a local cole mine as reports of undead threaten the farming community.
The game lasted two days. The players even used a mine cart with the dead Sir Robert Tembelton strapped to it to plow through the mine.
I had so much fun and there was so much roll playing!
Ever since I have been getting into Dungeons and Dragons I have been researching battlemat options. Battlemats can be used to help display combat aspects of a D&D game. Some people like to use them, and some don’t. I do like to use them.
Since I have started researching battlemat options I have been very disappointed with the reviews I have see on other websites and blogs. There seems to be one cream of the crop option when it comes to battlemat choices for D&D gamers. That would be Dwarven Forge sets. (Check them out on youtube) But I do find the Dwarven Forge option a little price prohibitive for me.
Now after Dwarven Forge, the choices for battlemats are a little less clear. A friend of mine got the Paizo GameMastery Flip-Mat which is a double sided laminated mat with 1 inch by 1 inch squares drawn on it. Because it is laminated you can use just about any kind of marker on it and wipe it off when your done playing. But this battlemat does come to you folded, and you can fold it away for easy storage when your not using it. However it dose not lay down very flat as a result. Which I do find annoying.
Another option (and the one I went with) is the Chessex Battlemat. This is a vinyl mat with an overlying black 1 inch square grid on it. It came with some short directions on how to keep it clean. It lays down flatter then the Paizo mat. But you do have to take a little bit better care of it. You only want to roll it up for storage as folding it will cause creases. You only want to use water based markers on it. Like the kind you would use on an over head projector. You also want to stay away from red and purple, and orange markers as the ink used in these colors to stain the mat.
The Chessex Battlemat came with some short and simple care instructions with it which I have found helpful. They also shipped to me here in Juneau Alaska very well. Using good post office packaging and peanuts to unsure the product came to be undamaged.
I have used this battlemat a couple of times now and it has gone over really well. I am glad I chose it. These pictures don’t show it very well but after a few minutes the mat dose lay down flat.
With all the Dungeons and Dragons talking I have been doing (not only on my blog but with my friends and co-workers) it’s not supprising that some of us would finally get a game started. For the last couple of weekens I have been part of group of friends playing Dungeons and Dragons 4th edition. I am not DMing this game. Just playing as a character. (A half-elf rouge actually) It’s been a lot of fun hanging out with friends, laughing, joking, and just have a good time in general. Some of us have never played D&D before, and some of us have.
Playing the game as a player character has really been helpful to me in answer questions about DMing. It’s helping me understand how the game is played and how a good DM should act and tell a story.
Since I have been playing with this group for a coupld of weeks now, I have started filling notebooks with Drawings and notes for the game I will eventually lead. I can’t wait to get started but am also glad to have as much prep time as I do.
Here are some pictures from the game i have been involved with currently as a half-elf rouge.