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A Trip Down D&D

Az-Tarug shouldered his battle-ax suddenly rushed forward, past his two comrades, an elf and a human. The Cornarian soldiers before him seemed to jump in surprise as Az-Tarug grabbed one and simply pushed him off the pier. Whirling around, the Half-Orc did the same to the other hapless soldier. With a cry of alarm, the soldier fell into the salty bay. The ship at the end of the pier exploded into motion and somewhere a horn was blown. Az-Tarug stood up and smirked once at the sputtering soldiers in the sea and then again at the long ranks of soldiers charging him from ahead on the pier. A form took his side. Drake Maxon the Human Bard, his friend.

“You sure have gotten us into trouble this time Tarug!” he said nervously, a curious orange slime creature bobbing on his shoulder; his familiar, Ego.

“Aye! And what a battle it will be for these slavers!” Az-Tarug roared, casting Shield of Faith on himself with his Paladin powers and feeling the surge of the All-Mothers warmth around him.

“Let’s kill the fools then, they’ll know fear at the hands of the Crimson and his new crew,” said Az-Tarug’s other companion, an Elf. Tarug ignored the pirate Wizard’s jibe, focusing on the soldiers who were almost upon them.

I glanced over my Dungeon Master’s shield, a small foldable barrier that separates me from my players, and I gave them a glare. “Alright roll initiative! Seth you suck for pushing my soldier into the sea.”

“HA! Just you wait, this next part will be better.” I rolled my eyes and held back my wicked grin. The boss on this ship was super powerful and my players would know true despair this time.

In D&D (or Dungeons & Dragons), you make a character through a series of steps. The first is to pick a race for your character. In the world of D&D and in many fantasy settings, like Lord of the Rings for example, there are more races than simply humans. Elves, dwarves, gnomes, halflings (hobbits), dragonborn (dragon-men), and tieflings (fantasy demon-men) all inhabit D&D’s world and each race has different abilities and lore about them and their culture. In theory, each race should feel different as long as you can immerse yourself in the role that you play.

The second step of character creation is to choose a class or job. In D&D these “jobs” give your character abilities, access to magic, and the ability to fight their enemies. Each class is fairly unique without many overlapping abilities which makes each class interesting and different from one character to the next. In D&D, there are a total of twelve classes. These are the Barbarian, a warrior that uses rage as a source of strength, the Bard, a travelling musician that can harness the magic of music, the Cleric, a holy priest in the service of a deity, the Druid, a magic user who harnesses the power of nature, the Fighter, an all-round generalist soldier, the Monk, a disciple who has trained to use Ki as a strength and a weapon, the Paladin, a holy knight bound by oaths of servitude to a deity, the Ranger, a bow wielding wilderness hunter and tracker, the Rogue, a shifty dagger wielding thief or assassin, the Sorcerer, a magic user who uses the power in their ancestry and blood for power, the Warlock, a person who has sworn a deal with an otherworldly being, and finally, the Wizard, a magic user who spends years studying spells and incantations in order to use their power.

Ballamin Suthraxis was perturbed. These human wizards on the ship were giving him trouble. A thunderous crack jolted his attention back to the present and he dived out of the way as a hissing Lightning Bolt sliced above right where he had been standing. With a growl, the El jumped up drew the dagger he used for his magic. With quick and practiced slice his blood flowed and he cast it into the air, all the while mutter the arcane phrases for his own spell. A glowing magic circle flared into existence, angry red in color and Ballamin grinned at the last opposing Wizard who had thrown the bolt. He saw that the human was frantically waving his wand in an effort to counter Ballamin but it was futile at this point. Six spots of glowing fire lanced out from the circle Ballamin had created beamed straight at the enemy wizard who threw up a Shield at the last moment.

“And that’s a hit, that’s a hit, that one is, ah, that one missed, that one hit, and that one missed,” my brother, Ian, playing Ballamin his Elf Blood-Wizard calculated up the damage he just dealt to my poor wizard. “Uh, like forty-three points of fire damage?”

“Forty-three?!?!” I cried. My wizard had about twenty-five hit points total. The man was dead simply put. “Gosh dang it Ian, god you are OP (over-powered).

“Yeah dude this spell is crazy good.”

The third step is to determine your character’s ability scores. Ability scores are representations of how your character is physically and mentally. Ability scores are as follows; Strength, your character’s natural athleticism and bodily power; Dexterity, your character’s physical agility, reflexes, balance, and poise; Constitution, your character’s general health, stamina, and vital force; Intelligence, your character’s mental acuity, information recall, and analytical skill; Wisdom, your character’s awareness, intuition, and insight; and finally Charisma, your Character’s confidence, eloquence, and leadership. These scores are determined in the beginning of character creation by rolling dice or by using the rules found in the D&D Player’s Guide. You take four six-sided dice, roll them, and add up the numbers, dropping the lowest value. You do this a total of six times and then assign each value to the ability score you think represents your character best. Higher numbers are better, representing excellence in a certain trait. Lower numbers represent under performance in those areas.

The last steps are describing your character; their backstory, moral alignment (whether they are good, evil, or neutral), their ideals, and their flaws. After that is figuring out your character’s starting equipment and then finding a group to play with! Beyond that it is up to you to find people to play with and start the story of your new story character. The people who play this game are many and far between. They come from many walks of life and many careers. They could be your cashier at the grocery store, a businessman CEO, a movie star, or your mechanic. Most though are what you may call a nerd or geek, people who love Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, and Marvel, just to name a few. I am proud to call myself one of these “geeks.” For it is here in the midst of friends that I have had the greatest of adventures. Perhaps that is why we play; so that we can have adventures, be heroes, and defeat great evil like we cannot do in real life.

The stomping steps of the ship’s captain echoed down the pier. The soldiers withdrew from Az-Tarug and funneled around their leader. Az-Tarug grimaced at some of his new wounds; none were very deep thank the All-Mother but now the true fight was going to begin. The human came steadily, a glinting blade drawn that shimmered with magic, with armor that glowed softly as well. This would not be an easy fight Az-Tarug knew.

“You dare challenge the might of Cornaria, dogs?” the captain shouted, coming near and stopping within fighting distance.

“Aye! For slavery is wrong! I will free those prisoners you just placed on that ship, Az-Tarug roared back.

The captain chuckled and settled into a fighting stance, “then come,” he said lifting his blade. Az-Tarug lifted his battle axe.

“I run at him and grapple him,” Seth said, his eyes glinting with the evil he just made happen. I wondered at that but shrugged, my captain had a lot more Strength than Az-Tarug would be able to handle.

“Alright, roll your grapple check.” The table was quiet as Seth took his fated die and roll the twenty sided one, the one that decides everything in this game. He cast it from his hand it hit the table with a thud, rebounded, thudded again and again, each thud sounding like from a gavel.

“NAT TWENTY! (naturally rolled twenty, in D&D it is called a critical success or automatic success),” Seth shouted pumping his fists. I sat in stunned silence.

“O-Okay, so that happened. You reach him before he can slash you and grab him. What do you do now?”

“I lift him over my head and toss him in the sea like the rest of his soldiers.” I blinked roared with laughter as my other two friends at the table joined in.

“You just cheesed (cheated, glitched) my boss fight!” I glared at Seth.

“I know,” Seth said with a wicked smile.

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