Biography or: How I learned to stop dying and love D&D
I remember my first excursion in Dungeons and Dragons as a mix of pure excitement and crushing shame. My family was a regular advocate of the family getting together and enjoying board games and the very frequent game of Magic: The Gathering, however one night Guillermo, a friend of the family, dropped by with a stack of books ans told us we would be playing Dungeons and Dragons. We spent a few solid hours making characters, and as I was still in elementary school at the time, was completely enthralled with the idea of being able to step into this fantasy world as my wizard Scar, complete with owl familiar and a stellar two hit points. My entire family was round the dinner table and we began our adventure, we were soon ambushed by kobolds in the forest. Now second edtion illustrations being what they were I spent the next few years believing that Kobolds were a race of humanoid rats, however their appearance was of little consequence as we didn’t ever see a kobold, as they spent the entire encounter hiding in the trees raining crossbow bolts down on us. I sent my time meditating on my familiar as I had him flying to scout out the kobolds positions, however before that could be of any use my sister shook me from my trance just in time to see my father take an arrow through the chest. Stable but unconscious my father lay bleeding on the ground, and with a determined gleem in my eye I rushed over to help…. by ripping the arrow out of his chest. I will always remember this as the moment in my life where I learned that taking the arrow out does NOT make the wound all better. So with that action I successfuly drained the last of my father’s HP threshold and killed him, the kobolds party wiped us, and we then spent some time talking about how stupid a game is to have two hours of prep for a half an hour of play. For the next 10 years I wouldn’t think about the game except in any real capacity besides the scarring memory of killing my father.
It wasn’t until high school that I ever attempted D&D again, my group of drinking buddies, henceforth to be refered to the Pirate Cove, was full of nerds, many of whom had played in the past. My high school group also eventually grow to include a bundle of role players. However neither of these groups would flourish into anything. My high school group started up an official group that attempted to get a campaign together that could meet during the 45 minutes for lunch… once a week… oh and we need to grab snacks first, OH SHIT and this really funny thing happened… as you can guess I don’t think we even got through a single goblin skirmish that whole year. As for the Pirate Cove, while many of us were interested in a game no one was willing to put the time into its construction, thus I volunteered. This too was doomed, my game had no planning whatsoever nor had I bothered to look at the rule books or write down well…. anything. During our play session I ran so completely out of ideas that the party had a quite famously bad encounter in the sewers against a poo shark, and yes that I will be forever shamed by that lapse in judgement.
A few years later I heard about the upcoming fourth edition of Dungeons and Dragons, and it sounded like a dream come true, a new system which meant that I could just buy the core books and not have to worry about the thousands of other books like with 3rd edition and the rules were apparently more streamlined which made me less intimidated. I bought the core books and by the time I was done I had nearly memorized the player’s handbook. My buddy Josh was interested and with a group of friends we had our first session, it was a one nighter using the adventure provided at the back of the core books. I was a Dragonborn Paladin named Choir, and that was my first victourious session despite the obstacles thrown our way, including our DM throwing a much tougher dragon at the end of the crawl and our DM’s insistence on having cave rocks fall on our heads when we pissed him off, which included my belief that the halfling rogue in the party should be called “Punt”. Still we managed, mostly due to Davey, the mosy experienced player in the group who knew how truly useful a well placed mage hand was and that a flaming sphere spell could save the day.
Our next campaign will remain one of the dearest to my heart for many reasons but mostly because it was truly the beginning of the group that I would game with even today. Richter, who had played the role of Punt earlier, ran us through the Keep on the Shadowfell. The group consisted of Korg the Barbarian, Red the Tiefling Warlock, Boozebeard the Dwarf Fighter, while I played Bomblha the Artificer. All in all it was full of those really great moments that you only get when you game with your friends, which went from Red using Tenser’s Floating Disk as a hoverboard to the manuevre now known as the Bomblha Gambit. However the truly best moment? Well that would have to be when Korg and I double teamed the boss to defeat him in the first round. Josh laughed so hard he cried, Bman’s mouth was open in shock, and Davey laughed as he watched Richter furiously flipping through the adventure booklet muttering “no no no no that can’t be right”. This being the only encounter of the night and us just having got there Richter quite wisely decided to let the boss live past that first round. The battle officially ended with Splug, our goblin cohort, decapitating the boss, screaming “NO BOSS IS SAFE FROM SPLUG THE DOOMBRINGER!” and that is how a random npc took down the greatest evil in the land.
Soon after that Davey would mention that while he had enjoyed those games, 4e really couldn’t hold a candle the the previous edition. “Oh yeah?” said the group, and it was then that we discovered what fourth edition really is: a gateway drug. It was then that our group truly took form with the edition of our new DM, Evan. We then undertook a journey which lasted months, and the creation of “our” party, the Dawn Blades. However two things became apparent rather quickly to me, that 3E is a LOT more fun than 4E, and that I really sucked at Dungeons & Dragons. Having come from an edition of the game where the artificer bull rushing an orc not only wasn’t a bad idea but was actually to be encouraged… well let’s just say there was something of a learning curve. I would like to take a moment to acknowledge those that died along the way:
Arkham(Aasimar Paladin/Cleric)- taught me that loners who break from the group not only die… but die horribly.
Phaerun(Sun Elf Enchanter)- died by jumping into an underground river while fucked up on some really good drugs. Taught me to pay attention while the DM is describing the scene as you would know that its really just a bit of scenery and not a secret entrance.
Kite(Human Ranger/Fighter)- morale of the story: sometimes it really is best not to go after the awesome magic item.
However I did eventually learn my lesson, and when Josh left the group I stepped up and took the Cleric role as Deschain Montehaven, who was more than a little based of off the immortal Captain Jack Harkness. The Dawn Blades consisted most famously of Deschain, the Elven Monk Ivelios Nighlo, the human Barbarian Jon Cawfee(yes he really did name his character that), and Matrim Flanders the halfling rogue. There are just so many amazing cinematic moments from these sessions, but if I had to pick it would be the end of “season one”. Fighting our ways through the dungeons, up through the castle and in the throne room we slaughtered an enemy party of adventurers, by the end of that encounter I had used up all of my spells, the last of my orisons had been daisy-chained together to bring Jon to 1 HP. It was then the King gave his final monologue and took a swan dive off of the balcony, Ivelios who believed the King didn’t deserve to get off that easy, shot after him(by this point Ivelios had a land speed that would make the Flash blush) jumped off the balcony, grabbed the king, and while he was falling he hurled a rope with a grappling hook at the balcony, missing. The party raced there and on our last possible roll we managed to grab the rope and haul the king and Ivelios to safety. Pretty epic if I do so say. Oh and a little aside, that kingdom would later be renamed Montehaven in my honor, having a +20 diplomacy definently has its uses.
The next few months consisted of many attempts to start a game back up and running after the loss of a party member to military service. Many came and went, the best of which was a Wheel of Time based campaign run by Richter, I won’t go into to much detail besides to say that we were a pretty vicious group who once delivered a leader of cult with both of his hands cut off and stuffed inside of a pickle barrel(still alive). We called that group the Muffin Men… they had issues.
I am very proud to say that the first session with the group reunited was one I DM’d, my very first serious attempt. It was with this game that we as a group transfered over to Pathfinder and around this time that we gained a new addition to the group, Rob, who had a knack for burning buildings down. My first game was a modified version of Burnt Offerings, the first in Paizo’s excellent Rise of the Runelords adventure path, with the players playing themselves after being sucked into Golarion. After a few quite succesful sessions, I discovered that I was a very bloodthirsty DM, as the game came to an end with only one of the original party surviving. I did discover the best deaths are the random ones, such as Bman falling off of a rope bridge eighty feet into water, he survived the fall but could not survive having his head eaten by the Bunyip, which for those not in the know is a creature like a seal with a shark’s array of teeth, that can RAGE. It was pretty damn awesome.
Evan has currently started up his first pathfinder game in which I am appearing as Stonewall, a dwarven fighter who has devouted himself to a fighting style utilizing two spiked shields. This is the current game in which the party is engaging and it is giving me plenty of time to write my first campaign, Shattered Bloodline. This will be my first campaign fully written by me, with the exception of the campaign setting, and I am really enjoying the process.
So, yeah, that’s me. If for some reason you are still reading this all I can say is that I am both impressed and a little nervous that you wanted to learn so much about about me, but either way thanks for making it to the end. Feel free to send me a message anytime, I am always open to meeting new friends.
It should be noted that this biography was written between 1 and 3 am and was under the influence of heavy caffeine use and a mix of The Fratellis’ “Chelsea Dagger”, Motley Crue’s “Kickstart My Heart”, and Journey’s “Loving, Touching, Squeezing”