D&D & Me part 4: First Games

As promised in Part 1.

My first tastes of Dungeons and Dragons (aside from puzzling through the rules and stumbling through making a couple of characters) was in a solo game run by my friend Wolfgang. We sat down and I made a character, a fairly basic fighter as I remember, I have no recollection of his name at all. I entered the dungeon with no plot and walked through a series of rooms, each full of treasure which I had my character put in his backpack with no regard for basic physics. At the end of these rooms was a staircase down. Wolf had me roll a die, whatever I rolled was not good enough as my character fell down the stairs and died.

The end.

This was not entirely satisfying, I strongly suspect Wolf’s understanding of the concepts involved were about as rudimentary as Mine was.

The next try was with Wolf again, as well as our friend Noah and at least one other person. I am pretty sure this took place at Noah’s house, but it may have been Wolfgang’s, it’s a touch hazy. I do know that we were now using Advanced Dungeons and Dragons, bigger books, more stuff, very exciting. I think the person running it was someone I did not know well but that had run games for the rest of the players before.

I rolled up a Bard (name also lost to the mists of time) and we began in a town. This time I got to roleplay doing a little shopping and purchasing a bit of meat on a stick and some pastries. This was much more satisfying. But the rest of the players pushed on to the matter at hand and we headed off to murder Tiamat… a foe a touch more than a match for a group of first level characters. We had been given some artifact level magic items though and I, at least, didn’t know any better so off we went.

The encounter consisted of us throwing a magic item that turned into a giant iron tower when the command was spoken. Mid air we shouted the command and the tower landed on Tiamat’s tail.

A pissed off dragon god then turned us to a fine red mist.

The End.

Still not terribly satisfying, but I was starting to get it. Reading the rules (AD&D now) made a lot more sense and between this experience and what I read in Dragon Magazine I could see the experience I wanted out of this mysterious world I had stepped into.

It was right about this time that Wolf and Noah and, well, pretty much everyone else I knew suddenly reached a point in their lives where they needed someone to pick on. I was a pretty weird kid and fit that bill nicely. It was the last game I played for a while.

Poignant memory that should go in any movie made of my life: School field trip, the last one of whatever grade I was in and at one of those “important” shift between grade levels that always bewildered me. All the D&D kids at one table playing, and me at a table nearby with my books rolling up characters I would never use. I find this memory equal parts horrifying and hilarious.

Other poignant memory that should go in any movie made of my life: Halloween, We all dressed up as an adventuring party. I made armor out of cardboard. We gathered at my house where I was promptly ditched and wandered around alone the rest of the night. This one is less hilarious.

All was not quite so gloomy however! Next time I will talk about my other life 200 miles away where lots of gaming started to happen.

The Blue Orchid : NaNoWriMo 2014 A Win!

Winner-2014-Web-Banner

Not done with the book, but done with the month!

I am mighty!

My fingers hurt.

The Blue Orchid : NaNoWriMo 2014 part 6

All right… It’s a touch after four thirty PM, I have seven and a half hours to go and four thousand words till I hit fifty thousand.

Do or die time!

I am not going to finish the book in fifty thousand words, which is fine, I can keep working at a less frantic pace for a while until I finish, but I neeeeeeed to hit fifty thousand tonight!

Quick process note: I have abandoned my spreadsheet, I am not sure if that is helping or hindering me right now, but I’m trying to do less obsessive metric monitoring and more writing.

Now I’m off to write all the words. Wish me luck, see you on the other side!

D&D & Me part 3: A New Campaign

In the midst of the insanity of the oncoming winter and NaNoWriMo and work and life I have begun a new Dungeons and Dragons campaign with the shiny new 5th edition rules (Which I like quite a lot, more on that another time).

I am working on a Wiki that will detail the world as it develops. I’ll link to it next time.

The first two games were very heavily weighted with character creation and development and introduction, but enough actual play occurred to get some very interesting plot rolling. I’m feeling creative in a way that I haven’t felt in a couple of years and that makes me very happy.

The players are an interesting mix. Three of them are from work, a fourth is a friend of theirs who plays board and computer games and wanted to see what this was like, and the fifth is one of the first three players father.

The new player has been giving it a chance but is not terribly into it. I have been trying to keep him engaged but he’s not in love with the format of the game and is likely going to bow out. I suspect he might actually have enjoyed 4th edition more, the plot and character stuff does not seem to interest him as much as tactical combat… which is perfectly fair.

The Father and Son duo are who I want to talk about right now. Both are kind of dream players to have in a sandbox game of this sort. They develop deep backgrounds to their players, are very interested in the world and their place in it, and are just as happy or more interacting with the townspeople as they are bashing goblin heads in.

Also: The father worked for TSR, Pacesetter, and Mayfair games. He wrote and designed for Advanced Dungeons and Dragons, Chill, Star Ace, Gangbusters, and Marvel Superheroes. He also designed Wabbit Wampage which I used to sell.

He is one of the people responsible for how the hobby I love took shape and has played with many of the greats…

Was I  touch intimidated going into that session? Yes I was.

Did he say that I was a fantastic DM, better than most of the people he used to play with back at TSR? Maaaaaaybe.

Am I feeling kind of badass at the moment? Yes.

The Blue Orchid : NaNoWriMo 2014 part 5

Weeks later…

Several really bad days (and days with other things going on) have me at 26024 words. Over halfway done but 3976 words behind schedule. My average words per minute is hanging around 14 which is not fantastic. Two or three really good days will get me back ahead of the game, I’m feeling confident.

I seem to work best when I’m alone at a cafe, barring that somewhere with minimal distraction. This is probably a painfully obvious statement.

And then the sky did things.

I was up visiting at my sweetheart’s house as I often do, watching a little TV. It was nearly time to get back home to try to pound out another thousand words before bed so we went out to the barn to feed the horses. When we came out of the barn, the sky had done something I have never seen before.

nightsky

At first my mind latched on to the rational explanation… Jets. But the straight lines of cloud were all over the sky, dozens of jets would have had to have crossed back and forth all at once… which seemed unlikely.

My darling ran and got her camera and I just stared, a little kid lost in the inscrutable heavens.

The Blue Orchid : NaNoWriMo 2014 part 4

With a terrible three days I have fallen a bit behind. I wrote just a few hundred words on Wednesday since I was mostly getting ready for the game. The next two days were also a bit busy and I barely got any writing done. 269 on Wednesday, 729 on Thursday, and 655 on Friday brought me to a total of 9003 which was 2663 words behind my goal. My words per minute fell to a low of 8.9 as well, the brain juices were not flowing.

Saturday I woke up early and bashed out as many words as I could. The story started flowing again and A couple of characters got introduced. I managed to get out a few paragraphs on my break at work as well, and then got in an hour or so when I got home (after watching Constantine with my sweetie.) 2351 words got squeezed out of my head bringing me to 11354.

So now I’m 1979 words behind, just  a bit more than a full day. That is fixable. My words per minute jumped up to 15.67 which is a lot more like it! I am now 22.71% of the way done. I have also almost gotten to the part of the book where I stop leaping around in time and get to the main story. That should be fun!

The Blue Orchid : NaNoWriMo 2014 part 3

Monday was disappointing at just shy of 1300 words. My reserve dropped to 35 words but my words per minute stayed about even. In my defense It was an early morning for me and then I spent most of the late afternoon doing laundry. I had gathered a great deal of clothes from every nook and cranny of my place and added in a bunch of stuff that I had in bags and boxes that were getting nasty and musty due to the mold factory I life in. Also I tossed in a bunch of towels and rags and a comforter that had been fouled by cat quite some time ago. At the laundromat I was using seven machines at once which was a little satisfying for some reason.

Today, however I had a great run while hanging out at the rainbow cafe which has a great atmosphere, good coffee, and precious little doughnuts that cost more than one really wants to spend on a doughnut but are entirely delicious. Between that, a few words squeezed out while running around and doing errands, and a nice run tonight I am at 7350 words!

That’s 2315 today for those keeping score (just me? yeah I thought so) which is 138% of my daily goal. I am at 14.7% of the whole book with a 638 word surplus going into tomorrow which is mostly going to be all about Dungeons & Dragons and I’ll be lucky to stay even.

The book now happens at two different times and spans two continents. I keep forgetting my main characters name (and he’s using three aliases at this point which is -not- helping) and have two or three maguffins I am going to have to remember to explain later. Nobody has died so far that didn’t deserve it.

The Blue Orchid : NaNoWriMo 2014 part 2

It turns out that the NaNoWriMo site is doing some of the data crunching my spreadsheet is doing and has a few cool tricks on top of that.

I’m up to 3741 words, 1724 from today which was 103% of my daily goal and has me 7.48% done. The site estimates that at this rate I will be done by the 27th. I have about 407 words in the bank now which is a bit low. I’ll have to kick some ass on my days off to boost that up a bit in case of off days.

My words per minute is up a bit today despite some fiddling about with character names and redoing a few parts that were not flowing well (bad inner editor BAD! fix later!). I’m managing 12.7 now.

I’m really liking my main and secondary characters so far which is a good sign.

I have Scrivener Installed but I am a bit nervous to dive into a new piece of software at the same time as I try to use it, so I am just writing in TextPad as I poke at it. I may or may not copy everything over there if it turns out to be useful, otherwise I will just kill it and try it again when the intended application is less deadliny.

 

The Blue Orchid : NaNoWriMo 2014 part 1

Well it is that time of the year again… time to tilt at the literary windmill that is NaNoWriMo. It’s going to be a busy month. I have a lot of work to do at home, at my sweeties house, and at… well work. Also I am starting my LONG awaited Dungeons and Dragons campaign in a few days which will require writing and prep work of its own.

Should be interesting.

The Blue Orchid is a story of Bureau 404. It is a call back to my first Nano-novel and probably happens in the same world so expect magic, monsters, and probably at least one person being disemboweled. If it isn’t entirely terrible I may post it somewhere where people can look at it when the month is over.

Being me I am keeping a spreadsheet of my progress. I end my first day with 2017 words which is 121% of my daily goal. I am now 350 words ahead of the game and need to keep up 1599 a day to reach 50K. I am producing about 11.2 words per minute which is not terrible but which I can hopefully speed up a bit as I only have a couple days with nice long mornings I can catch up in.

If you are doing this thing as well find me here and be my ‘writing buddy.’

If this is entirely uninteresting to you then I apologize… there is going to be a lot of it this month.

For the record… this was about 240 words that are not in my novel. Some of these updates will be a lot shorter.