Alex and I decided on Thursday that we were going to join in the celebration of National Dungeons and Dragons day. We went to one of Alex’s regular haunts, a comic shop in Douglasville or Doraville or some damn city in Georgia that’s slightly southeast of Alpharetta and the name starts with a D (I think?) known as the Dragon’s Hoard. Within there were a bunch of HeroClix (which made me glad that I don’t play that anymore… it’s $10 for a single booster now), more comics than one could read in a lifetime, and a definite LACK of personal hygiene. Seriously… it’s called Speed-Stick. It’s not expensive (blatant lyric theft DONE).
We were playing a premade D&D campaign… mild bit of storytelling at the first, pre-assigned, pre-written characters, and random groups thrown together for the sheer joy of playing (and hopefully bringing more people into the RPG geek fold). As part of our swag we got an official D&D miniature of our character, a golf pencil, a 20-sided die (woo!), and a chance at winning SWANK PRIZES like a book written by Gary Gygax, one of the originiators of Dungeons and Dragons and a true Alpha Geek.
We showed up early and I killed time by talking about WOW with a few random people, browsing the comics, ignoring the manga (not hard, I’m not an Anime/Manga kind of guy, generally), buying some Pocky (now THAT I won’t ignore, sesame + chocolate = crazy delicious) and very nearly buying a copy of the Dungeons and Dragons Player’s Handbook (Version 3.5) but holding off since Version 4.0 is coming out in June and our D&D campaign is on hold anyway. After all were present and accounted for we had our groups organized. Mine consisted of a motley crew…
- Me, the hero of the story. I was playing a Halfling fighter/rouge named Nivag Gallowlee whose forte was using throwing axes and whose motivation for being on the journey was to help liberate some treasure from… well, wherever treasure can be liberated. I was also chaotic good, so that meant that I had to have damn good justification for wanting to loot the sarcophagus of a long-dead ancestor of one of the other party members.
- A guy who was probably late thirties or early forties who seemed a professional type, playing… the same Halfling fighter/rouge that I was (we had two more people than the scenario called for, so we had a few duplicates). He got the character’s original name, Gavin Gallowlee.
- Said guy’s sixth-grade daughter, who had never played D&D in a real-life setting… only an interactive DVD game. She was playing as an Elven sorceress who was there because someone in the group rescued her. She was definitely a True Believer in the geek lifestyle.
- A girl who was probably my age, maybe a little bit younger, playing as a Human fighter whose motivation was… something. I don’t know. Probably not as simple as “killing things and taking their stuff.” Stupid good alignments. She was wearing the traditional “Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons for you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup” shirt, which is a little geekier than I tend to go… but then again, I was in a Red versus Blue shirt, so I should shut my damn mouth.
- Her husband, who was only watching things with a somewhat bemused and bored expression on his face.
- The Dungeon Master, a portly gentleman known as… Pete. He had a massive collection of D&D figurines and had obviously been DMing since Version 1.
- A guy whose name I don’t remember, probably in his mid to late thirties, who had the perpetual look of a frightened rodent on his face (and the teeth to match). He was, however, pretty cool and the winner of the Gygax book. He was a Dwarven paladin of Moradin and one of the de facto leaders of the party.
- A dude named Shaun who was about to DM. He reminded me enough of Landon/Curtis (a former coworker and a current friend, for those of you who don’t know) that I had to catch myself and not call him that… but he had the same random long fingernails, same color of hair, same beard, and same closely-cropped haircut. It was a little unsettling. He was playing as the other Dwarven Paladin and one of the heirs to Frostsilver, the place where we went. He killed off his character by a heroic (read: stupid) leap onto a flying creature over a near-bottomless pit because of…
- The most annoying sonofabitch that I’ve had the displeasure of meeting in a long time and the kind of greasy-haired holier-than-thou PRICK that gives geeks and nerds a bad name. He was wearing a Hitchhiker’s Guide shirt, constantly sniffling, and cornered me, telling me about his character in a Vampire game that he was playing… and his character in a D&D campaign… and another one, and another one, and SHUT UP I DON’T FUCKING CARE ABOUT YOUR STUPID-ASS WERE-SKUNK NINJA. Er… yeah. He was a Dwarven Cleric, brother to the paladins, and a complete waste of space. DON’T USE ALL OF YOUR SPELLS BEFORE THE FINAL BATTLE, YOU PIECE OF SHIT. SOME OF US AREN’T WEARING FULL PLATE.
Er… yeah. I’m done now.
The adventure was simple hack ‘n slash, and we generally had a good time except for the fact that Prickboy wanted to run everyone’s character. He was constantly reaching over the table, re-arranging the party in the way that HE thought would be best, telling us how to run our characters, and arguing rules with the DM. Now, I’m all for clarifying rules with the DM when you’ve been gaming together for a while… but with a DM that you’ve never run with before? That’s just being childish, unless you are ABSOLUTELY SURE that an error has been made on something that is a matter of life or death… not a matter of one round of combat and one potential missed point of damage. That wasn’t the worst part, though…
This asshole TOOK THE CHARACTER SHEET OUT OF THE LITTLE GIRL’S HAND when she wanted to cast Magic Missile against an Ice Mephit because he was “sure that she could do SOMETHING better.”
The youngling looked crushed, her Dad looked furious, and everyone else was just stunned. The DM finally said “Let her play her own character”.
Then he did it AGAIN. At this point, I was ready to leap across the table and beat him stoutly with my fists and forehead (since he was also whining about my throwing my axes rather than using them as melee weapons… even though I do more damage throwing them from a 30 foot range) and I’m sure that the little girl’s father would’ve gladly joined in.
Asshole guy left during the final battle (classy), we defeated the evil, and all was good with the world again… but DAMN, do I want to kick that guy’s ass.