The Courier: “You are all here because you owe my master a great debt. The Lady in Grey has been a benefactor to you all at one point or another. She has paid off your debts, seen you cleared of your crimes, and even protected your loved ones when you could not. Now it is time to pay your off your debt. The Lady has a job for you. Dangerous work to be sure, but it should be no issue for adventures such as yourselves.”
Nox: “And what if we don’t want to do the job?”
The Courier: “Those who scoff at the generosity of the Lady, seldom remain among the land of the living. If you don’t believe me then by all means kill me and take your leave. I only advise you enjoy your next meal, as I can assure you it will be your last”.
The Courier: “Well then. If there are no more interruptions, let’s get down to business”.
The end of an age.
Do you enjoy sitting down with a table full of friends and pretending to be might wizards or superhuman soldiers, all while putting on ridiculous accents and trying to sound especially cool? Then either you are a very niche improve group, or a fan of RPGs (or both, we don’t judge). RPGs, or Roleplaying Games if you will, are a hugely popular past time for many people, allowing players to collectively tell an evolving story with heroes and villains of their own creation. Now there are tons of RPGs available for every sort of story you might want to tell, but the best known and most impactful game on the market has to be Dungeons and Dragons.
The game of fantasy adventures has been around for 37 years and has many fans all over the world. It has shaped the minds of many players in its long life, inspiring people to flex their creative muscles and fall in love with the world of high fantasy. So, it will come as no surprise to you all that I myself have dabbled in the find art of dungeon crawling and monster slaying. What might surprise you is that I haven’t been an avid player for close to 20 years.
Now taking a break from a hobby is nothing new, as many people will stop playing a particular game for years at a time, only to pick it up again when they are older (and hopefully wiser). But with D&D it was a little bit different, as my break from D&D was not due to me getting ‘bored’ or ‘tired’ of the game, but rather because I couldn’t get any games played. You see, playing a long running RPG like D&D takes up a lot of time, and as a result is a sizable commitment not just for yourself but the other 3+ players you are playing with.
As most veteran players will tell you, the hardest thing about playing D&D is not the incredibly tough monsters of hazardous traps, but actually getting a group of people to commit to sitting down for a few hours each week on a regular basis. When I was younger this was an issue because we were all youthful and impulsive, wanting to go out and have a drink now we could rather than stay at home and play. But as time moves on and you get older, those priorities move to the side, and you get a whole host of new obstacles to your gaming plans. Work, partners, and children all become the new priority, and as a result you find you only have so much free time to spend.
So, you have to pick which hobbies from your past you want to keep, and which you have to shelve for a later date. For me, I choose to keep playing Warhammer 40,000 (which I played more often), with the occasional dip back into Magic the Gathering (which I played with my wife every now and then). And so, I hung up my adventuring kit and packed away my D20, saying goodbye to my life of fighting dragons. I would dip my toe into D&D every now and then, seeing what was going on and enjoying shows like Critical Role. But for the most part, playing RPGs for me was relegated to one shot systems like Dread that could be played in a single game night.
But here’s the funning thing about getting older. Those children that ate into your free time start to grow up themselves and start enjoying tales of dragons and dungeons. And all of a sudden, you have someone new to play with.
Nox: “So how is this my fault again?”
Draden: “Well it wasn’t me who decided to rush the guards now was it.”
Nox: “How was I supposed to know there was another 6 of them in the guardhouse?”
Draden: “Well if you had just given me a minute to sneak up and check…”
Rishan: “Maybe we finish the conversation when we don’t have half the city watch trying to kill us.”
A new age begins.
That is exactly what happened to me last year, as during one of the many lockdowns my wife brought a little game called Dungeons and Dragons: Adventure Begins for my kids. We all sat down and played it as a family, and while it really has almost nothing to do with D&D proper, it did lit that spark in my children’s imagination. The spark only grew as they learn that their daddy used to play the game when he was younger, and when they learn that there was a starter set to try it out for themselves, there was no turning back.
After a very small home brew game where they and their cousin saved a small child from a giant spider (oh yeah, we are hitting all the old tropes) they wanted to role up their own characters and start an adventure of their own. This spark didn’t just stop with them though, as it also rekindled my love for RPGs and got me wanting to play too. So after nearly 20 years, I dusted off my old collection, got myself a new Players Handbook, and got to work.
It was strange coming back to hobby after so long, learning what had changed and how the game had evolved. The biggest change though was that this time I was in the Dungeon Master chair, guiding the story for a new generation of adventurers. It was a whole different kettle of fish to when I last played, as the most I had to worry about then was how tricked out I wanted my fighter to look. Now I HAD to know how magic worked (something I tried to avoid when I was a player) and find that happy balance between crafting and enjoyable game, and trying to murder the whole adventuring party.
Still, it has been a blast. Not only because I’m back to playing D&D, but because I get to supplement my hobby time with a bit of classic fantasy. I’m especially enjoying painting you the new range of licenced D&D minis (the monk below will be my new PC for when I can find a DM) which are a nice change of pace for the citadel range I’m used to painting. I’ve currently got a Tiefling Bard and a Dragonborn Fighter on the painting table (my children’s PCs) and after that I might have to try my hand at one of those classic dragons.
Draden: “Well, we did it.”
Rishan: “Now to claim our reward.”
Nox: “Hey, wouldn’t it be funny if that Courier chap turned out to be evil and tricked us into stealing something that could end the world.”
You walk into a tavern.
So, what is next? Well, a few things. First off, expect to see some D&D and other RPG content on the site from time to time. It will fit into my regular tabletop hobby articles, so don’t worry about missing out on anything else we produce. Secondly, I intend to not only be a DM, so I need to find some games to play. First up will be getting myself down to my local Adventurers League, to get myself up to speed on the mechanical side of things. The Sheffield scene is rather good I hear, and I’m looking forward to cracking my first dungeon in a long time.
Next, I’ll be trying to setup a weekly group to get together and play in a campaign. Hopefully with the digital age and a decent player base we can actually manage to pull it off this time (fingers crossed). Lastly, plan of a tale for my children to enjoy with their cousins. We have already got a home brew campaign started, and they are on the fast track to an interesting confrontation with a particular nasty monster. I’m not saying it’s a dragon, but it’s a dragon. Hopefully they are up to the task and will prove themselves as true heroes. Either way, I’m looking forward to taking this journey with them.
I hope you have enjoyed to today’s article. it’s a bit different than my usual offerings, but its been fun to write and I hope fun to read. If you have an would like to see more D&D/RPG content, let us know in the comments below and I’ll get right on that. Thank you for your continued support of us here at Master of Magics. If you want to support us further, you can become a Patron by clicking the link down below for as little as £1 a month. It would really help us expand and bring you more great content, and would also give me a warm fuzzy feeling which would be nice.
Also consider liking and sharing our articles to help grow our little community, and if you want to engage with me directly you can leave a comment down below or find me over on Twitter @TenguPlaysGames. I can be often found there posting random memes and teasing new articles before I write them. Look after yourselves and each other, and I’ll see you next time.
The Courier: “HA HA HA. With this staff I will bring an end to this wretched world, and you my friends are to blame. HA HA HA.”
Nox: “Told you.”