Kal’Dor half-orc monk and tabletop adventurer extraordinaire. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)

Kal’Dor half-orc monk and tabletop adventurer extraordinaire. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)

Paper Quips: A fistful of dice

The game that lets anyone live out their fantasy

Roll for initiative!

If you’ve ever played a game of Dungeons and Dragons those words either fill you with excitement or a cold dread. It signifies combat has begun no matter how prepared, or unprepared, you are.

D&D, as it’s more commonly known, is a role-playing tabletop game set in fantasy worlds created by Dungeon Masters. With a character sheet, a set of dice and a character model, players embark on epic adventures to save the world or, more likely, get into drunken brawls at the local tavern.

It’s been something I’ve been peripherally interested in for much of my life. Growing up I loved reading fantasy novels including the Simarilion and dreamed, and still do, of becoming an author and sharing my own epic stories with the world.

Despite my natural predisposition, I never played a proper game of D&D until this spring. I did some improvised games in high school and I’ve been doing Lego D&D campaigns with my brothers, but those were more about having some quick fun.

In D&D your fate is quite literally tied to a roll of the dice. You’ll spend an hour building your character selecting their backstory, stats, weapons and race, turning them into a mighty hero capable of slaying goblins with a single blow. All that won’t matter, however, if you roll a natural one and accidentally chop your companion’s arm off.

That’s what very nearly happened to my character Kal’Dor at my last ‘Nerd Night’ at a friend’s place. A naive and somewhat bumbling half-orc monk, Kal’dor is a pugilist without equal learning the ropes of adventuring, much like I myself am learning the rules of the game.

So when a Mimic, a monster disguised as a door, chomped onto my arms last campaign I panicked. Rather than yanking my arm out of its mouth I tried punching its teeth out and got my other arm stuck in its maw. As my companions rushed to my rescue and attacked the door I managed to get my foot stuck as well before Bjorn Bjornson, a noble knight and servant of Helm, struck me with his greatsword and nearly killed me.

It was a chaotic, spontaneous and exhilarating encounter and one that taught me a valuable lesson. Mainly, to always let someone ELSE open up doors in demonic dungeons.

Despite the stereotype of D&D being a game for nerds and shut-ins, it’s much more than that. It’s a game that lets journalists, firefighters, grocery clerks, anyone really, become a graceful ranger, a righteous paladin or a crazy barbarian and live out their fantasies.

In the meantime, I’ll pray to Lady Luck that the next time my friends try to save my life they don’t accidentally kill me.


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