On Sunday I found myself sitting at the dining room table, surrounded by books, holding a set of battle-worn dice, and leading my daughter and her friend through a musty dungeon full of lizard-people and Orcs. I don’t know how they learned of Dungeons & Dragons, but Finley had talked about it with her friend and knew I had played it decades ago and still had some old stuff buried in the basement, so she nominated me to lead them through their first campaign. Which is fine! But it was stressful to re-read the books to try and remember how to play—and, more importantly, to remember how to lead two 12-year-olds through a dungeon.

It was created back in the ’70’s by a bunch of geeky middle-aged white guys who loved dice and math and J.R.R. Tolkien, and so everything was super-complicated and over-thought. Realizing this at some point in the early 80’s, they began to re-write the rules not one, or two, or even three, but five times to make things easier to understand and streamline them for play. All my stuff is from that first complicated edition, so I had to wrestle the rules and dice tables and backstory to make things work for the girls. Because they are both novices, I also had to create four non-player characters to assist them in their adventure—and to provide timely hints when necessary.

Overall it went really well! I was a little rusty at first but quickly caught up to things, and once I’d remembered how to get the dice tables organized we had a lot of fun going through some of the easy sections of The Keep On The Borderlands, the beginner-level module included with the starter D&D set I’d been given in 1982. We spent about three hours working through the first sections of the adventure, powered by pizza and later with an artisanal hot chocolate bar organized by Mama.

By all accounts, the girls really had fun; Finn’s friend didn’t stop talking about it for a half an hour after she got home.

* * *

On Saturday I focused on the other side of the ice room, and built a set of shelves on the west side to get all of that stuff organized. It went in pretty easily, and all of the Dugan family slides are now up off the concrete. I also put in a rack for our storm windows and culled out a bunch of crap we don’t need to keep.

Date posted: December 14, 2020 | Filed under history | Leave a Comment »

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