For fun, days 1 – 5 of the D&D 30 Day Challenge
How You Got Started
I guess as far as RPGs go I am a late bloomer. I was always interested in stories and fantasy from an early age. For me role playing really began for me through camping. I was a member of Boy Scouts of America (save your cheers and jeers aimed at the organization for somewhere else). I went on numerous backpacking, and extended camping trips. With 2 – 14 days and long, mindless travel without phone, internet, or even book, you learn to make your own entertainment very quickly. So my first exposure were just free-form cooperative storytelling. Somehow we managed without encumbrance rules, play mats, spell lists, and proper stats.
Somewhere along the line (bought it I think) I picked up a starter box for 2e D&D but had no one to play it with at the time. Eventually I snaked a hardback copy of 1st edition Earthdawn off another Boy Scout for $10. That pretty much sealed the deal for me. The art, the loving attention to complexity, the well-wrought original game world and its occupants all just clicked with me. I still haven’t played Earthdawn to this day (it is a dense system after all). But Earthdawn coupled with the purchase of a little game called Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness made everything clear.
I wouldn’t actually get around to playing D&D until roughly a decade later. Closing out my college career and consequently having a lot of free time I looked back into tabletop RPGs. A new edition of D&D was being released (4e) so I decided it a good time to look into the affair. There was a newer game store nearby run by a… German or Austrian-born (can’t remember which) student. Met some people and took to the edition without any preconceptions. Unlike most people of the time my gaming backbone did not consist of D&D 3.x, which was probably a good thing in the end.
So yeah, that’s about the thick of it.
Favorite Playable Race
Dwarves. I contest they have some of the best ‘adventuring’ racial traits in the game. Lessened penalties for heavy armor & encumbrance, useful racial weapon proficiencies, dark sight, poison/spell immunity or resistance, bonus to finding hidden doors, unable to get lost underground, innate knowledge of an item’s wealth. Gruff, industrious, dependable, salt of the earth folk.
Favorite Playable Class
It’s usually the first class I play in a new game system. The main reason is the cleric is the class that gives me the best overall look at how the game’s bits fit together. They use weapons, heavy armor, have decent HP, and cast spells. They also do the heal thing as well.
Cleric is the real utility class and that’s why I like playing it. I can step up and provide flanking for the fighter or rogue, throw out party buffs, step back and do some controller casting, and of course heal. For me it’s nice because there’s almost always something I can be doing on a turn to make a difference and it’s not always the same thing. No ‘turn four, same as before; I hit it with the sword,’ or ‘I’m out of spells for the day, don’t look at me wrong or I’ll self-immolate thanks to my d4 hit dice.’
Plus you always get to impress with clerics. Most people see clerics as the Healbot. But when shit gets bad, like real bad, I find it’s often the cleric that pulls everyone out of the fire. Also their spell list is sick. It’s not about straight damage but knowing the situation to pull the rug out from under your enemies. It’s one of the more difficult classes to play but in my experience one of the most rewarding.
A nice extra is in-game your character will have a support system (organized religion) and easy leads for motivation and role playing opportunities.
Eh… D&D specific it’s difficult for me to say. I really don’t enjoy either Forgotten Realms or Eberron, and I’ve only had a brief experience with Ravenloft. So based solely on experience I would say Ravenloft. I tend towards grittier and darker fantasy so it makes sense, and I would probably enjoy more the settings of Blackmoor and Greyhawk if given the chance. They are more pulp feeling.
Outside of D&D I would probably look more at things like Savage World of Solomon Kane, or the default setting of Earthdawn. Out of most settings I’ve read Earthdawn has some of the most compelling explanation for random, unoccupied dungeons and citadels, and provides races that are familiar while not completely trite and boilerplate trope.
Your Favorite Dice Set/Individual Die
My original dice from TSR I received with the starter box. They’re my most used dice. I prefer simple, flat colored dice over speckle and translucent. I’ve had a pair of copper dice which are great, but make a lot of noise/damage due to their weight. Precision dice are nice though they are really light, if heft is important to you.
Ideally I think I’d like a paired set of nice hematite dice.