October 20, 2021

I Didn’t Choose the D&D Life…

I’ve mentioned before that my first experience as a DM was this past spring/summer, and that was a ton of fun. I can’t wait to pick up where the group left off and see what new adventures we can get into. I’ve also mentioned before that I was almost hesitant to start playing D&D as it felt “too nerdy” even for me. But, as is well known, I started playing. So let’s go back to that time, and see what all transpired.

It was about 8 or so years ago when I finally decided to join my friends in a campaign. The setting? Harry Potter, which probably helped me make the choice to play. We were Aurors, and thusly we all had to be some sort of wizard or sorcerer. This was during 4th Edition, so the transition was easy for me to learn and play the game. I had a blast playing the campaign, and from there I was hooked.

Dungeons and Dragons has long since been a mainstay in my weekly life, and frankly, my daily life. This game has afforded me so much in terms of creativity, fun, and most of friendship and camaraderie. Our next campaign after the Harry Potter one was a more traditional thing with unique story line and new characters. I decided to play as the tank of the party, and for those of you who don’t speak nerd, that means my job was to shield and take damage for my team. So I played a Goliath Defender named Guardian, and again, had lots of fun. Highlights include: failing to sneak in a house, and just destroying the door, and despite my massive size and strength, failing to intimidate and man handle a smaller person.

Around 4 or so years ago (not sure) fellow Wampa founder Dave told me about something great that the amazing guys over at Penny Arcade were doing, and that was the podcast of Acquisitions Incorporated. Fast forward to just this past Sunday to myself, Nate, Jason, and Dave attending the theatrical viewing of their live game at PAX West 2016. But let’s go back to the beginning. I went back and listened to all of the podcasts (which started 8 years ago) and basically developed a nerd crush on their DM, Chris Perkins. Chris Perkins is a lead story designer for Wizards, on top of many other things, so hearing him run a game is like being told about basketball from James Naismith.

So after learning about the glorious spectacle that is Acq. Inc, I delved even deeper down the rabbit hole of D&D. I have always loved playing RPGs in video game format, so the need and drive to create new characters and level them up, and that carried over into D&D. I blame Dave for this, partly due to the fact that he also loves to create new characters for future campaigns, even if he won’t ever get to play that character. In fact, I created a character for this current campaign during my run as a DM.

So what’s been my point of all this rambling? It’s to let you all know that you should give new things a chance if you happen to like related activities. But The Mike, hasn’t this always been true? Short answer: Yes, yes it has been. Dungeons and Dragons, if introduced into my by sources other than pop culture and the like, I would have likely been playing way back in my formative years. I have always loved fantasy novels and RPGs, and if that had been nurtured by friends and perhaps even family that liked D&D, I would not have carried a negative stigma of the game. But I can assure you all of one thing: my kids will be introduced to the game at a young age, and hopefully they will grow to love it too. If not, then life will come down to the roll of the dice for everything they want to do until they grow tired of that and learn to love such a great game.

Mike Gassel

Mike Gassel

A video game and sports enthusiast, you can usually count on TM for his many and loud opinions. If it falls under the scope of nerdom, you can fully expect him to be into it and love it. Also a fan of hugs and holding hands... and trolling random people while playing video games.

Find The Mike on twitter at @wsthemikespeaks

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