With all my fascination in gaming, it’s quite ironic that I haven’t tried Dungeons & Dragons until a week ago. Thanks to my former colleagues in Anino, we had a really fun D&D session. For those of you who weren’t curious enough to search about D&D, it’s a fantasy tabletop role-playing game. As players, you take the role of a character with a specific class as you typically see in a RPG like Barbarian, Wizard, Rogue, etc. Players will be gathered as a party to take on quests in a story and universe created by the dungeon master or DM for short. The DM should be knowledgeable enough with the game’s rules and mechanics as stated in the player and DM handbook. He/She will weave the story and all the possible outcomes depending on the result of the players’ dice rolls. I’ll go into further details as I write about my experience, from the preparation to the actual game proper. Here it goes…
Creating a Character
Prior to playing the game, you should make a character first. If you will read the player’s handbook, the character has lots of customization options from race to class. I was a bit overwhelmed at the start when I’m trying to create one since each class and race are rich with details that could really affect my character’s skill sets. Good thing our DM is ready to assist us with the creation process. Since I’m a big fan of Martial Arts, I decided to go with a Monk. Just like in other RPG’s, your character has stats, and each class focuses on specific parts of your stats. For Monks, the skills depend on Wisdom which is needed to read people and situation, and Dexterity for agile movement and quick reflexes. There are other attributes like armor class and initiative, but I won’t delve too much into these stuff since this post is not meant to be an in-depth guide :P. Instead, I recommend that you watch this video to know more about the character creation.
The video guide above is considerably long, but that’s because the character has much depth in D&D. It may seem a bit tedious if you do it by hand, but once you laid out the necessary info, it will be easier to follow through. For our group, we use the mobile app 5th Edition Character Sheet. All you need to do is plug in the values for your character profile, and it will lay down the info for you. The premium version of the app lets you level up your characters and update the attributes accordingly. It even has its class-specific options like for my Monk, it lets me choose the Monastic Tradition and the skills that I want to increase from this choice. It’s very handy, especially during the actual game session. By the way, I chose the Way of the Four Elements for my monastic tradition so that he will resemble the Avatar. Just sayin’ XD.
Beyond the stats and skill sets, I also created a backstory for my character. With a few tweaks to blend with our DM’s created story and universe, I was able to complete my character’s profile. I can’t share the story here since it might spoil our DM’s plans for the next session :P. Besides, being role-players that we are, we behave based on what we know about the other characters. Actually, one of the players is suspicious of my sudden appearance (this is just in-game, no personal conflicts whatsoever, LOL).
Our D&D session plays every end of the month, so that there’s enough time for our DM to create the next part of the story and the quests that go with it. I attended the fifth session, so our DM had to update me of what happened during the first four episodes. With all the confirmed players present, we proceeded to Moonleaf + Bunnies Cafe for our D&D session. This is a boardgame cafe, so customers can try their tabletop games like Cards Against Humanity (*chuckles*). They offer different types of milk tea and pastries.
The game starts with the party discussing what items to bring for the mission. A story character has been kidnapped, and it’s up to the party to save her. I’m amazed with the amount of detail that has been put to each scenario. Even the part wherein another story character is being consoled by the players involves a chance roll, resulting to one of the players getting a ‘failed’ attempt. The character interactions are really fun to watch. Yes, I’m watching on the first part since I’m not in the scene yet.
The game reached a point wherein the party has to save some people from a burning tenement. The creative ways on how to rescue these people were such a feat, like how our wizard created a floating disc while he’s on the other side of the room to carry some of the people to safety. Enemies stormed the place. Some of them were caught in surprise when a hooded monk appeared in the place and knocked two of these goons out cold. That hooded figure… is me 8)
We proceeded with the combat sequence. Turns in combat are determined by the character’s initiative. Player roll a D20 for a dexterity check. Turns will be ordered from highest to the lowest result. When enemies attack you, you roll a D20 to determine if you can dodge an attack. We’re using another application called Initiative Tracker to speed things up.
When an enemy attacks you, the attack can be dodged by rolling a D20 and achieving a minimum value depending on the enemy’s stats. Failure to do so will have the DM roll a specific dice to determine the attack damage. If it’s your turn, you will roll a D20 to determine if the attack is successful. A result of 1 will lead to critical failure while a result of 20 will lead to critical hit which gives the you twice the amount of damage that you will inflict to the enemy. My first dice roll in our session resulted to a critical hit. What a good way to start my combat. Our DM asks us to describe our attacks, so I use moves based on fighting games and martial arts movies with some inclination to brutality (some Monk I am, haha).
The quest was really enjoyable. We even have a minigame wherein we cross the sewers with multiple paths. We had several Perception checks to determine how much of the place can we exploit like hidden traps and switches. The actions that we take for each scenario that we’ve been through will affect our later encounters. For example, because our party saved this particular child from the burning tenement, we got a warning about the methane gas that is present in the sewers. If we’re not aware of that information, we could have ended up igniting the entire place and alert the guards of the final dungeon. We encountered different combat challenges like the continuous spawning of sewage monsters and a giant rat that bleeds a swarm of small rats. The quest ended well with a quick-time-event type of sequence where we have to perform the final attack to the last boss for this quest. Good thing we got high dice rolls, so we defeated the boss enemy as we aimed for. After the quest has ended, our DM discussed the loots that we got for the entirety of the quest. There was a revelation for one of our players related to his back story, but more questions still need to be answered.
We started the session around 3 PM and ended at 1 AM. Yeah, it was a pretty long session, but we really had a good time. Good thing the cafe accommodated us until we finished our session. I have yet to utilize the specialty of my class since it’s my first time to try it in an actual game, but it made me think of the possibilities for the next episode. Hopefully, I can join the next session if my schedule permits. For the meantime, I’ll take a look for more tips on how to effectively play as a Monk. ‘Til next time! (~^_^)~
Special thanks to Brian and Nikka for the pics and Ej for organizing the sessions every month. V(^_^)