So a new semester has started at USC, and one of the best ways to kick it off it with games, of course! Dungeons & Dragons at that! My friend Michael had messaged me over Facebook recently, wondering if I would like to play another rousing session of 5th edition with him. Two semesters ago, roughly a year ago now, I had participated in my first ever game of D&D with Michael as my Dungeon Master. He proved himself quite knowledgeable, accepting, and, most importantly, adaptive as a game designer during these sessions. He was able to easily provide a lot of helpful tips and guidance into my journey into pen & paper.
In the aftermath of that campaign, which saw glorious plans made, enacted, and mostly failed, betrayal, love (in the form of a man and a gnoll…) and vengeance (in the form of myself killing said gnoll out of spite), I came to know that Michael was wholly capable of creating great D&D experiences and capable of being both imaginative and friendly to newcomers. Playing a new game with him was sure to be both fun for me, but also fun for Sam. It’s always been kind of hard for me to convince Sam to do certain types of things, particularly new experiences such as Escape Rooms. I was surprised when she was interested in D&D, and even happier to know that she was excited after our Session Zero. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
So Michael asked me to join him once again, and I happily agreed. He asked me who I thought might be interested in playing, as he was trying to get together a group of potential veterans as he was hoping to avoid some of the atrocities of our last campaign. In the end, we weren’t able to get a set of all veteran players, but, at the least, we were able to gather a group of players that were either enthusiastic, quicker learners, or had dabbled in the genre of games. I collected personally, Sam, who had dabbled in classic D&D at one point, Naomi, who had just last semester played Pathfinder, and then Alex and Audrey, two newcomers, but whom were eager to learn.
Just today, as we will every Monday going forward, we had our first of many sessions. This “Zero Session” encompassed Michael teaching everyone about D&D, refreshing myself, and helping us build a world, theme and party of characters to inhabit the foremost. The way we developed them as a collaborative effort helped everyone shape their characters, provide connecting points between them, and create balance amongst our players. Michael wanted to give us a theme so that our party had unity from the get go and had reason to be together, to act and continue on our grand adventure. The theme that was chosen for us was as a group of monster hunters.
Sam created a mountain dwarf paladin, akin to League of Legend’s Poppy, whom wields a mighty hammer to whom she is seeking the worthy owner of. Alex created a wood elf ranger, who’s main calling is to the forest from which he came. But unbeknownst to him or her even, his daughter, played by Naomi, is also in the party, a half-elf druid long forgotten. Lastly, I will be playing the human barbarian Kaenix von Mao, a Witcher-like, monster hunter from a nomadic group of hunters and mauraders. (More on this later!) Audrey was unable to join us this time due to health issues, but Michael will tend to her appropriately.
I’m really excited for this session. We formed a lot of ideas and bonds that will grow throughout the session. The father-daughter relationship that will be discovered. Meanwhile, I was hired by Naomi’s kingdom (she’s a nobel) to fight a known monster threat, which was then killed by Alex as I arrived, impressing me. This caused me to ask both of them to join my party. Sam became a party member due to her history with me, as an old allegiance/associate whom had dealt with me in the past. She had previously thought I was the chosen hero to wield the hammer, but was quickly dismissed by my favored collection of battleaxes. However, we kept in touch and continue to hunt together as she continues her own quest.
After we finished this, we packed up, as much of the party creation took the time of today’s session. Thus, we’ve been tasked with writing our own backstories. I already had an idea in mind and I will be documenting it, and our journey through a series of journal entries written through my Bamboo Spark. If you wish to follow along, read the next set of posts! I hope that you will enjoy it as much as I will hope to enjoy this exciting unfolding of adventuring!