Tabletopping It – Dungeons And Dragons (V. 3.5)

…okay. So, today, I went and saw “Cloud Atlas.” I started to write a review about it, but events throughout the rest of the day distracted me from that task. Also, I’m not 100 percent sure about what to say about the movie for a review… Go see it, I think, is a definite inclusion, but it’s a pretty big movie with a lot to talk about. So it may take me a little bit of time to flesh out a review. More than the 45 minutes I have left in the day right now, for sure.

Instead, I’m going to talk about what took up a big chunk of that time: Dungeons and Dragons. That’s right. I’m nerdy. Deal with it. Nerds are sexy (or at least passably handsome in my case).

Anyway, tonight, my roommate’s D&D group met here at our apartment. As several players in their regular game were absent today, they decided to play a one shot, and my roommate invited me. I haven’t played D&D since school started in August, so of course I wanted to play. Their only stipulation was that I wasn’t allowed to play as Kiev.

…Okay, before I explain Kiev, I’m going to explain D&D. Dungeons and Dragons is a tabletop role-playing game. Not a sexy one, unless you want it to be. Rather, it’s a game wherein players create a character of some sort of race and class, or defining occupation in a sense (Except not really?), and act out those characters within the realm of a story created by the Dungeon Master, or DM. Most often, D&D is placed in a high fantasy setting, similar to Lord of the Rings. All the decisions’ and actions’ results are decided by dice roll.

Now, some people keep playing the same characters throughout different campaigns, having the character level up through each campaign. I do that, sort of. What I do is I have a character, Kiev Svbodny, that I’ve kept mostly the same over the years. He is usually a half-elf, sometimes a half-drow (dark elf), who is a divine spellcaster, either a Cleric or a Favored Soul. He usually has a profession as a bartender, and sometimes has a profession as a librarian as well. Whenever possible, he worships gods of Trickery and Luck, whoever they might be (usually Olidammara). And he’s pretty much always been Chaotic Neutral.

…Okay, to non-D&D players, that likely made no sense. Really, in order to play D&D and understand it, you need to simply play D&D. Find a group of friends that have played the game before and ask to join in on a low level campaign. Have an experienced player help you roll up a character based on what you would like to do (fight with weapons, use magic, steal things, be evil, be good, whatever) and what the dice will let you do. Then just pretend to be that person you just created.

Tonight, I decided to go way off base (partly because they told me to). A regular player in campaigns I’m in has often been… bad at playing. And keeping his characters alive. He goes through several. So, last campaign I played with him, we said his next character would have to be a bugbear evangelist.

Well, I decided to play a bugbear bard/wannabe evangelist/prostitute tonight in honor of that.

Really, that’s the fun of D&D. Depending on the group and the DM, you can either have a serious night of high fantasy orc slaying or whatnot, or you can have a fun, humorous, ridiculous night that really doesn’t go anywhere but is quite entertaining. And either can be a great experience.

D&D is a great experience. I suggest everyone try it out sometime. I still have a campaign I want to DM for a newbie friend of mine, though she’ll likely never have enough free time to do so… Anyway, if you’re new to the entire D&D scene, you should probably try 4th Edition, or the upcoming 5th Edition. I haven’t tried 5th, but I hear it’s like 4th except a bit better. I don’t really like 4th all that much, to be honest, which is why I said version 3.5 at the top. In my opinion, 3.5 gives a bit more freedom for character creation and, thus, roleplay than the 4th Ed. I’ve experienced, but there are others that disagree with me.

Whatever you end up playing, just remember to have fun, whether you’re a half-elf cleric for the trickster god Olidammara, or a bugbear prostitute bard with great oratory and hiding skills. …I think I’ll clean up the bugbear for a later campaign. Prostitution and frost whip for laughs aside, he wasn’t that bad.

Tomorrow, I’ll talk about “Cloud Atlas” to you. Until then… sorry for all the bugbear.

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