Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition has been celebrating it’s 5 year anniversary with a 5-day question challenge. I answered all of these on Twitter (feel free to follow us for new articles!), but thought it would be fun to sit down and dive deeper into each of my answers. So, without further ado, here are my responses and musings to the D&D: 5 years of 5e Challenge!
It’s funny, the average person is most likely introduced to tabletop RPGs by the farther of them all: Dungeons and Dragons. However, when I started as a kid, my first experience with tabletop RPGs was with Deadlands, followed closely by a bastardization of Warhammer rules my friends and I created for our own game. So, from the very beginning I was home-brewing rules and game systems based on my knowledge of war-gaming, all the while, following the guiding spirit of Gary Gygax without even realizing it. It wasn’t until 3rd edition was released that I saved up for my own copy of Dungeons and Dragons. I have been playing D&D and a variety of other tabletop RPGs ever since. Of course, I have had years without an active group, but, being a sucker for beautifully illustrated rule-books, I was always on the lookout for whatever was coming next from the team at Wizards of the Coast. Naturally, I heard rumblings of a play-test that would be a year long endeavor to craft the next iteration of D&D. I wish I could tell you that I took part in these tests, and helped shape the success of D&D 5th edition in some minor way, but alas, I didn’t have a group at the time. Banished to following the play-test’s progress via blog posts and news articles. I am proud to say, that I did pick up my copy of the Player’s Handbook soon after release, and have since enjoyed many a campaign in the Sword Coast.
A vast majority of my games have been home-brewed settings, however, going home to the Sword Coast is like putting on your favorite hoodie as fall arrives. It’s warm, inviting, and, no matter how long it’s been, you are instantly transported back to that place. That is what the Sword Coast is to me. Some may enjoy more exotic fantasy settings, I do as well, but when it comes time to set the adventuring mood, there is nothing better than returning to this Tolkien-esque setting. Don’t get me wrong, there is plenty of flavorful nuances from Baldur’s Gate all the way to northern Neverwinter. So, don’t let me sell the Forgotten Realms short. If I had to pick a specific location? I would choose Baldur’s Gate with hesitation. It’s the Gothem City of D&D, and an absolute go-to when I run a one-shot or smaller campaigns. This could be because I lean toward more dark fantasy, such as, the Witcher or Game of Thrones, rather than epic super-hero fantasy. That is simply a personal me-thing, but that grit and grime is what draws me to Baldur’s Gate.
O, this is a fun one. I’m going with the Revived Rogue. This new rogue option just came out in the latest D&D Unearthed Arcana, but I was hooked from the instant I read the introductory flavor text. “You come to the realization that this is not your first life.” It’s spooky, mysterious, and plays off this theme of – you just don’t have your
life lives together as a person. I’ll be honest with you, I’m largely winging this whole adult thing as it is, and I wouldn’t be remotely surprised if my current life is a cosmic do over. I did consider the mechanic benefits, and besides being the dashing rogue that I attempt to portray myself as, I would gain the ability to teleport through the Ethereal Plane, and become close friends with Death. For all these reasons, I already feel a strong spiritual bond with this archetype.
Our party often tries to do the right thing, but, for all of our saving graces, we are terrible at saving prisoners. If we stumble upon you being held captive in a dungeon, we will free you, but your odds of survival drop significantly after that point. The sad part is, this unintended death is not are fault. These temporary travel mates tend to ignore direction, are god-awful at hiding, or back talk the ranger. Regardless, it just doesn’t end well for them. The party often jokes that we should leave prisoners in their cell for another adventuring party to find, Honestly, it’s for their own good. We can all agree that it’s the thought of saving people that counts. But seriously people… don’t back talk the ranger.
Ending on a deep question, I like it! Looking back, I feel that D&D has shaped aspects of my personalty more than even I know. From a very young age, I was participating in cooperative problem solving. These are tangible skills that I utilize all the time in my day-to-day work life. Humans are social creatures, however, throughout school we are trained to complete our tasks independently, save for the odd group project… and we all know how that turns out. With technology allowing people to become more isolated, these social interactions and soft skills are more desired in the work place than anything that is written on my college degree. In addition, if you are a DM or player that regularly takes notes or writes for your games, then you are also sharpening your written skills as well. Once out of college, you would be surprised at the lack of writing the average person performs. The poorly written 3 sentence email doesn’t count as keeping-up your written skills. I’m not going to even get into the amount of reading and research that is performed, because you get the idea at this point. D&D, whether it wanted to or not, is the perfect post college game to exercise your brain and flex creative muscles. In addition, being creative and connecting to stories are simply things that humans desire. To this effect, D&D has helped shape me into a well rounded person who has experience in social situations, but just can’t keep prisoners alive.