ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Recollections From a First-time Dungeons & Dragons Player

Updated on August 24, 2017

My Thoughts on Dungeons & Dragons?

It was one of those things that was always a little too complicated for me to fully understand. It’s a game that deals with math, and math was never a strong suit of mine. Not since elementary school, anyway, back when equations were so much more straightforward.

And rules. Dungeons & Dragons has lots and lots of rules. So much so that it needs more than one rulebook. There’s the Player’s Handbook, the Dungeon Master’s Guide, the Monster Manual, and that’s just a few of them.

Despite occasional confusion with numbers and formulas, questions about which rulebook is for what, and dilemmas about choosing the right spell at the right moment, Dungeons & Dragons was a hobby I enjoyed immensely. I always loved the adventure and story aspects of the game, and the sheer sense of fun and imagination that came with it.

Source

Let's Open a Window to my Past...

Back in the 2009-2010 era of my life, I knew this couple. For the sake of my article, I’ll call them Janelle and Daniel. They owned a cozy apartment in a tall building, the closest thing to a skyscraper in that part of the city. Once a week, they would host D&D at their apartment, and myself and a few others would attend.

We were a small band of friends, consisting mostly of former high school buddies. Most of us had graduated in 2007, so we were in the middle of one of those awkward life transition phases. We weren’t school kids any more, but at the same time we were still searching for our place as responsible, contributing members of society. (Although as I’ve discovered, that’s a struggle that can last well into adulthood.)

The memories are still sharp in my mind. Long evenings full of munching on snacks, rolling dice, and plotting our next moves in the middle of a tense combat session. I wrote fictional backstories for some of my characters too, something that even helped kick-start my hobby as a writer.

Daniel was a great Dungeon Master. His worlds were imaginative, vivid, and varied. Every time, it would be something different. He had a good grasp of the rules, and could explain anything and everything about the game mechanics that confused me. Thankfully for my math-challenged brain, however, he also was not a rules freak. He was skilled at planning out exciting adventures for our party, but he was also good at improvising when he needed to.

My collection of D&D dice.
My collection of D&D dice.

The Rise and the Fall

Our group lasted roughly a year. For all the fun we had together, if there was one thing about Janelle and Daniel that bothered me, it was their unreliability. When we first started doing D&D, they were pretty consistent about making plans and keeping them. Every now and then, though, they would cancel. Of course, it was a let-down whenever it happened, but I went with it. No big deal; we'll just try again next week.

Gradually, however, they began to do it more and more often, and usually at the last minute too. The cancellations became ever more frequent until, eventually, I was informed that Dungeons & Dragons would not be continuing. I wasn't told why. Not at the time, anyway. Just that it was over. (Years later, I found out it was because some of the members my group didn't get along that well with each other. There was a lot of behind-the-scenes drama that I won't get into, but in a nutshell, it was personality clashes that drove the group apart.)

I was quite disappointed, regardless. Disappointed, and even frustrated. But not really all that surprised. There must have been a part of me that sensed it was coming.

After the End

My next disappointment came several months later, when it turned out Janelle and Daniel had moved to a different city altogether. The move had been such an abrupt decision on their part that I didn't even find out about it until after it already happened. I was lightly conversing with Janelle online one day, when all of a sudden, she informed me that she and Daniel were already settled in their new home! If them ending D&D hadn't surprised me, leaving town sure did.

Thankfully, they hadn't moved to some absurdly far-away country. It was a few hours' drive from my hometown to where they lived, so it wasn't as if I'd never see them again. All the same, I was sad. While we still messaged each other from time to time, it was disheartening that we wouldn't be seeing each other half as often any more.

I also missed Dungeons & Dragons. I missed the wacky and weird variety of creatures we used to fight. I missed the colourful array of characters that filled out our travelling party. I missed the lush, rich, and vivid worlds; the places where Daniel had opened up his imagination and let us inside to explore. Above all, I missed my friends. Once D&D ended, the rest of us just didn't hang out so much any more.

The building I used to play at.
The building I used to play at.

A New Beginning?

A few months later, I discovered one of the gaming stores in my downtown hosted weekly D&D. I was still going through "D&D Withdrawal" at the time, and it didn't take me long to decide I'd love to have the chance to play again. Despite that, I can remember feeling apprehensive when I attended for the first time. I'd visited this gaming store in the past, but never as a D&D player. I also didn't know any of the people there. I was as much a stranger to them as they were to me.

All things considered, it worked out fine. The people there were friendly and welcoming, and seemed to know their stuff. The sessions were fun and relaxed, and everyone got along fine. The Dungeon Master was mellow and down-to-Earth, while also being the kind of guy who could keep a good handle on the players and on our quest. When I describe it like that, it sounds perfect in every way.

But, you know, it just wasn't the same.

It was fun at first. After several sessions passed, the novelty wore off, and I eventually stopped going. It wasn't that there was anything wrong with the group, per say. Or that anything bad happened with anyone there. The storytelling in our campaigns wasn't half as memorable as in my old group, though. Nobody could do it as well as Daniel, it seemed.

In hindsight, I wonder if perhaps I should have given the gaming store group more of a chance. Maybe if I'd stuck it out longer, it would've grown on me. Yet, at the time, my heart just wasn't into it any more. That was when I realized what it really was about D&D that made it special to me. It was less about the game itself, and more about the time it gave me to spend with my friends.

Despite the bittersweet note things ended on, it's still an experience I look back on with fondness. It was a lot of fun, and it came with many great memories.

Source

What Happened Next?

That was it for me and Dungeons & Dragons for a good long while. It wasn’t the last time I ever played D&D in my life, however. Years later, I was given a chance to play again. But that’s a story for another time.

Do you have any D&D experiences you’d like to share? Let me know in the comments below.

Thanks for reading.

© 2017 Ian Rideout

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Ian Rideout profile imageAUTHOR

      Ian Rideout 

      11 months ago from Alberta, Canada

      Thank you, Alexis. That's nice to hear.

      And that's so true. My brother has played D&D a lot more than I have and been in a lot more different groups, but based on everything he's told me, he's experienced the same thing. The way the DM runs the group, and the group dynamic in general, can drastically change the way the game is played.

    • AlexisG profile image

      Alexis 

      11 months ago

      It's sad to hear how your first campaign came to an abrupt end. The group you play with factors in so much in the overall experience. Thankfully I have a fantastic group (we've been playing for over a year), but because of schedule conflicts, finding time to play has been exceedingly difficult the last few months.

      Side note: Very well written article!

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)