What I love about Dungeons and Dragons ( DnD )

the title plus a notebook, knife, potion, and 1d6

Hey, y’all today I’m talking about dungeons and dragons–aka DnD–and all the things I love about it. Check it out here!

Shortly after the pandemic hit, my mentor invited me to play a homebrew version of DnD with her family. After my first official session, I was invited to play in a different campaign of regular-ish DnD with the same players.

Home brew DnD

In this campaign, it is based on Greek Mythology and your race and class come as a sort of package deal. I play as Lydia Angelous, a Commoner Drunkard. Basically, I get more powerful as I drink with the help of my Drunken Brawl. She’s not the smartest of characters with a base Intelligence of 7. But what she lacks in intelligence she makes up for in Might (strength) with a base stat 16. Standing at 6’0″, she’s not the shortest member of the party. She started out fighting with an iron xiphos and a knife. Lydia loves a good drink and might sing you a sea shanty or two in her sweet off-Scottish voice.

Speaking of the party, my party members consist of Gustav the Minotaur, Drag the satyr, Elsa the Child of Drakaina, Sr Cheng the Commoner Teacher, and Athene, archer of Artemis. We met after I drunkenly stumbled into the dungeon they were in. We rescued the Oracle of Delphi and made our way to Thebes. It’s like playing as a Percy Jackson character which is pretty awesome.

Regular-ish DnD

In this campaign, I play Lavender Aldrich, a tiefling bard. She may be a literal horny bard but she’s not a figurative horny bard but with a base 20 charisma stat, she may win you over in any situation. Her weapons to start are her violin, her scimitar, and her dagger. At 5’2″, she’s one of the shortest members of the party with lavender skin, dark wavy waist-length hair, and horns that form a halo around her head. Instead of having a spiked tail Lavender’s is feathery. Lavender enjoys playing her violin, having good food, and asking a lot of questions in her sweet, low voice.

Speaking of the party, my party members are Kitty the Tabaxi arcane archer, Nanuke the human barbarian taking the path of the wolf, Dodrin the lizardfolk cleric, Mouse the Kenku rogue and mouse hoarder, and Taka the wood elven monk. We met when they found me at a camp where I had been forced to fight in an arena, drugged, and experimented on. After rescuing the centaurs and slaying a spectator, we embarked on many adventures together. One cool aspect of this campaign is the DM (dungeon master) allows all of the players to have an innate ability. Lavender’s innate ability is to light herself on fire. Because of this, she has burn marks all down her arms. I describe them as sleeves. Accompanied by her pet mouse, Cheddar, she’s determined to find her parents and her ex.

What I loved about playing:

  • DnD allows for so much customization in character creation. There are so many races and backstories and classes to choose from. This doesn’t cover things like what your character looks like, details of their background, or what they sound like. For Lavender, she may have an Urchin background but the details of what brought her to where she is today were entirely up to me. Making her a foodie who doesn’t trust easily were choices I got to make. I can’t think of many other games where you are able to add so much detail to your character.
  • It’s so creative. Presented with a problem you don’t know how to solve? Try anything and let the dice and your DM decide if you succeed. In Lydia’s first dungeon, I wanted to help fight but we were in a narrow hallway. It was a little crowded so I asked if I could play leapfrog to get closer since all of Lydia’s attacks are melee. The DM allowed it with an agility check. Lydia’s pretty agile and I rolled high so it worked out.
  • The game celebrates failure. Did I roll a nat one on initiation meaning I would be the last to fight? Heck yes, but the party celebrated my crappy roll and I still was able to fight. Did you roll low in a stealth check? That’s ok, that doesn’t mean the party wasn’t able to complete their shenanigans.
  • The satisfaction of success. Rolling a nat 20 or delivering the finishing blow to an enemy is much more satisfying than you’ll ever know if you have never experienced it.
  • It relies on communication. Most of the game relies on you telling your DM what you want to do. If you don’t communicate, your character does nothing. For me, this is something I (hopefully) improved on overtime. At first, I didn’t want to interrupt anyone so I didn’t say much so I didn’t play these characters to their fullest potential. I can think of instances where if I had paused the party, Lavender could have been a lot more useful.

What I learned while playing:

  • There’s so much to learn about DnD. It’s a whole world. There are religions, gods, and history already apart of the game. You don’t have to know everything if it isn’t apart of your character but I’ll admit it was a little overwhelming at first. Luckily, my party and DMs were patient and very welcoming to me as a new player.
  • Each character is a learning experience. I can’t play Lydia how I play Lavender, they have different stats and are different individuals despite both having the initials L.A. (Seriously, what was I thinking?)
  • Your character may not act how you want to act. Claudia wants to desperately help and jump in and do whatever she can. Lavender doesn’t trust anyone and just wants to find who she is looking for. Lydia doesn’t want to get too attached to her party members because she doesn’t want to repeat her past. Claudia knows and holds dear the players behind the other party members. It’s a transition.
  • Playing can require some getting used to. I had a session 0 with both DMs but I have a crappy memory so I thought I’d do more research to make myself a cheat sheet. When researching, I found there’s no easy to glance at cheat sheet with the modifiers, what to add when you are doing Xyz type of roll, etc. So I made one.
  • There’s a lot of math in this game. It wasn’t something I was expecting and I suck at mental math so I now use my TI-84 calculator for the obvious intended purpose of simple addition in order to play DnD.

The tools I use to play

  • My TI-84 calculator
  • RPG Simple Dice as I do not own any of the dice required to play DnD (at least for the first month…if you are going to play for a while, get some dice).
  • D&D Spell 5e. It helps keep track of my spells for Lavender and it’s awesome!
  • A notepad. During my research, I discovered every good player takes notes. Since Lydia isn’t very smart, I don’t take as many for her but Lavender is only slightly slower with a base stat of 9 so I take more notes for her. They include drawings and emojis.
  • A pen or pencil. Awfully hard to take notes without this, eh?
  • My homemade cheat sheet.
  • My character sheets. They are essential to any campaign. I just so happen to have made my own version here.

Final Thoughts

DnD is a great game if, like me, you watch Critical Role and have always wanted to try it. It’s a lot of fun but I understand it may not be for everyone.

Thank you for reading what I love about DnD, I appreciate it. Comment below what your favorite aspect of DnD is or what your favorite moment was. If you like my content, consider subscribing to my mailing list and if you like this, consider checking out my DnD newbie guide available for purchase here. If you would like to see me talk about something that contains fantasy and adventure (both of which are prevalent in DnD), click here.

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