Friday, March 3, 2017

Fan of Friday: Week of 3/3/2017

I've mentioned in a previous 'Fan of Friday' post how I've fallen in love with the web series 'Critical Role', but what I didn't mention at that time was how that love has now manifested itself. My friends and I started a campaign and we're playing Dungeons and Dragons in real life!

Let me explain a bit. There seems to be this weird phenomenon of secrecy to people who play DnD. It's not something they usually talk about openly so you may have friends that play and you would never know. And that turned out to be the case with two of my friends.

When I started to get really into 'Critical Role', my obsession came up at our weekly trivia nights. That's when I not only found out that two of my friends actively play, but a whole bunch more wanted to try it.

Over the course of a couple of parties (Dan's birthday, Christmas), the DnD virgins convinced one of the experienced players to run a game for us, found another friend to join as our party mentor, and began setting up a game.

Dan wasn't that into the idea at first and actively tried to make things difficult. He stubbornly said that his character was a male prostitute and would only play as such. It back-fired on him, though, because once I bought the player's handbook, I found a way to make that character work. In taking his craziness seriously, he started to as well and his character, Glor Ekemon Holl, was born. He's a Tiefling Bard who team up with the elven rogue of our group to charm people out of their secrets.

My character is probably the polar opposite of Dan's. She's a Goliath Fighter. She's almost eight feet tall, young and naive but well-trained in fighting and strategy, and on the run. She's got this elaborate backstory that I haven't revealed to the other players yet. I've had so much fun coming up with her. Even her name, Brenna Sverdavbolge, was fun to come with. 'Brenna' is a Norwegian name meaning 'sword', which is what she fights with, her last name is a lose amalgamation of the Norwegian translation of 'Surge of Swords', her herd name,

I'll say the one downside of my character is that finding a figurine of a female Goliath is a pain in the ass. For those who don't know, most of Dungeons and Dragons takes place on paper, but for fights and battles, it's easier to understand what's happening by laying everything out. This is done with a gridded mat like a white board and figurines. However, almost every female Goliath figurine looks like it's from a bad 1980's hair metal music video. Sexist much?

Yeah, that's definitely not my character. In my hunt, though, I found this amazing website call Hero Forge. It lets you design a character and they 3D print it and send it to you. You have to paint it yourself, but you can make just about anyone.

See? This is much better. She wears her hair in two braids rather than one, but close enough.

And a few weeks later, here's the real deal (in terrible picture form)!

And now with Rusty Cat nose for true scale. Immediately after this picture, he bit her and tried to run off with her. The mini now lives on a high shelf away from cats.

The one flaw in this mini is that she's normal mini heights. She's as tall as I could make her, but she would still be about the same height as an elf or a human, which in actuality she should be about two feet taller. I plan on remedying this by 3D printing her a taller base that I can snap the mini into. God I love my nerd tools.

I'm loving everything about our monthly games where it's just friends and snacks and make-believe. I would highly recommend it to anyone considering trying it out.

And as a wrap up: here are some ideas and links for things I found helpful as a new player.

  • Learn about the game! There are some great youtube videos, particularly 'one-shots' where the game wraps up in one play-through, that will help you understand the mechanisms of the game. I am fond of this one
  • Visualize your character. I found it so much easier to play once I could see my character in my mind. Find a mini, sketch it out, whatever it takes. There are some great artists out there that may have already created something similar to yours. 
  • Start out with everything hand-written in pencil. It will take a while to figure out how you best want to run your character, but don't commit to any strategy too quickly. I've ended up with pencil on paper, within plastic protective sleeves, that I write on in game in wet-erase marker. Between games, I update the penciled information if necessary. Dan created a template to print his spells in business card form and he's got a sleeve of them. 
  • Find online resources. The work sheet in the back of the book are great for covering all your bases, but there may be ones out there that are more helpful for your specific character. I found these ones and I'm so excited about them. 
  • Lastly, don't be afraid to admit that you're learning. I will admit that the first game we played, I was a hot-mess. There are a lot of unspoken rules of DnD and I broke a lot of them. I'm trying to get better, but we are all still novices. 

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