Waking up in the middle of the night isn’t terribly uncommon; my latest iPhone gadget is a motion sensor that wears like a watch and records your nightly movements–it confirms that I wake up nearly ten times per night.

 

This particular time, however, was a bit different. The dream that I had roused from was so utterly vivid; a bright memory of darkened hallways, sooty torches, arched stonework, vast piles of treasure, and might battles. A sound echoed in my mind, the tumbling of an unmistakable item booming as it fell. In my mind’s eye I could see… a twenty sided die. The image was crisp and clear, and it carried with it an unshakeable urge. After 15 years I wanted to play D&D again.

 

Being out of the Role Playing Game… er… game for nearly a decade and a half reboots one’s experience with the genre. You’re not all the way back to neophyte, but ‘noob’ isn’t nomenclature that would seem out of place here. The last time I played D&D was when the second edition held sway. It was during the dark days when D&D was still being vilified in made-for-TV movies and poorly researched local TV news spots.

 

The D&D Starter Kit

I warmed up with a little light Google-Fu, followed by brief round of Wikipedestrianism. I had slept too long it seemed, missing the heady days of the third and 3.5 editions. At last I found something that looked familiar: The Dungeons & Dragons Fantasy Role Playing Game Starter Set.

 

It was like something out of my childhood; a single bright box that beckoned to me, promising to help me recapture some of the magic I’d enjoyed as a kid. The world of wizards, thieves, fighters, and clerics called out to me. You can bet that thing was bought, and bought quickly.

 

Inside I found a solo adventure; a booklet that walked me slowly through the process of creating my first character of the 21st century (that’s a scary thing to contemplate). I rolled a wily thief as I was thrown into my first encounter, picking powers and feats, and fighting off a small goblin horde. Minutes later I had my first quest and directions to an evil lair. The dice were rolling hot, and the memories flooded back. It felt good.

 

Finishing the solo encounter I reflected on the experience; the D&D Starter Kit had opened a door to a world I’d long forgotten, and I’d found it just as fun as when I’d left it. The end of the encounter in the first booklet suggests that you’ll need friends to fight your foes, and included enough character sheets to draft some more adventurers. Ahead of me lay my next challenge: finding a wizard, a fighter, and a cleric to round the team out.

This blog is the first in a series. Read part 2 here.
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