New Year's Resolutions…D&D Style
Over the years, I've made many a New Year's resolution. I'm not going
to tell you how the “lose weight” and “get more exercise” ones turned
out, but suffice it to say I keep making that same resolution every
year. I've come to the conclusion that New Year's resolutions are one
surefire way to plan failure and self-defeat. After all, those
champagne-sodden promises we make and proclaim each January 1st are
destined to be broken.
This year, though, along with the impossible
lose-weight-and-exercise-more goal, I've added a resolution I think I
can stick to. In fact, I've already got a jump start on it. On December
30th my son and I sat down at my computer and ordered up a Dungeons
& Dragons starter kit. My resolution: join my 11-year-old kid in
getting to know D&D firsthand.
Unlike many of those waiting anxiously for the launch of Dungeons &
Dragons Online (DDO), I've never
played the pen-and-paper (PnP) game.
Oh, I know of it—who doesn't? The
MMOG I cut my teeth on, EverQuest, owes its roots to D&D, as do
several other fantasy MMOGs, and fantasy-based games in general.
Besides, you really can't grow up in American culture without having
some understanding of what D&D is, even if you've never gathered
around the kitchen table to roll the ol' 20-sided die (d20). See, I get
the gist of the PnP game; I've just never had the experience of playing
it. That's about to change.
Do you have to be a D&D player to enjoy DDO? Having played in beta
for a while now (read my report here
I can attest to the fact that the game is quite fun without a
background in D&D. DDO is an accessible game with many a
newb-friendly feature. You could role a pre-made character--letting the
game decide your stats, skills, feats, and spells--and you'd still end
up with a playable toon. If you wanted to dig a bit deeper and
customize more, you could take a look at some of the builds that other
players post on the official forums, as well as in our Show
Us Your Build
forum feature. Or you could let logic and your
notions of what make a good character be your guide and you'd probably
do just fine.
But, as I scour the official forums and fansites to see what avid
D&D players are saying about the game, I realize that DDO has a lot
of depth, and I'm not plumbing that depth without at least a base
understanding of what it's like to actually play D&D. Sure, I could
gain understanding of the game by sitting down with the latest rule
books (v3.5, for the uninitiated), a monster manual, and perhaps the
Eberron campaign setting guide, and learn all I need to know and more,
but…something tells me I'm going to want to have the experience of
To be honest, that “something” telling me I want to play D&D is my
son. Ever-curious, he's watched over my shoulder as I've worked on
articles for DDO@TTH, and he's begun following the game--not just DDO,
but it's beating heart, D&D. He's played the demo you'll find at
of the Coast
website, as have I. I never much thought of myself as
a PnP role-player, but suddenly I'm seeing the merit of the experience,
in particular, the fact that it'll be yet another tool for inspiring my
kid's creative side. When my son asked me to pull out my credit card so
he could spend his Christmas money on a D&D starter set, I was all
So, there you have it: my brand new shiny New Year's resolution. While
I doubt my treadmill will see any more use than it did last year, or
that my refrigerator will see any less, I can pretty much guarantee
that my pledge to try D&D is one promise I can keep.
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