It had been close to 20 years since I had played Dungeons & Dragons. Well at least in any meaningful way. I had moved to Los Angeles and there were plenty of other things and interests that had grabbed my attention. Not to mention that I couldn’t find anyone who actually played the game or wanted to. The people I was hanging out with were not the D&D types and although they found my nerdy ways endearing they weren’t ready to jump in and embrace them as their own… plus this is LA and even with the least image conscious person image does matter.
I was in a very good place in my life, married, a toddler, and running a successful business. Regardless I would think back fondly on the times with friends gathered around dining tables, living rooms, libraries, lunch tables, and classrooms playing Dungeons & Dragons. I was not getting the same fulfillment in the things that I was doing socially; video games, dinners, clubbing, and especially not ‘social’ medial. I learned about Roll 20 and playing over Skype, but I have enough technology in my life. I wanted to sit around a table with a group of people and immerse ourselves together in a story, fantasy, and these shared experiences. It was time to find a D&D group!
That is how I found myself on the internet, browsing Craigslist, and looking at a gamer wanted ad. They were playing 1st Edition AD&D and meeting every other week…. in the Valley. This is Craigslist so there was some thought running through my mind of how unappealing it was going to be to get murdered in Reseda, but I threw caution to the wind and sent them a message telling them about my experience, lack of recent experience, and that I was committed (or should be committed) to make the hour plus drive to the Valley on Friday nights.
It was a chilly fall night and the traffic on the 101 going through the Cahuenga pass was the usual crawl made only worse by my own excitement and nervousness of jumping into an existing campaign with a bunch of strangers. I picked up the usual snacks and drinks at 7-11 and made my way to the address to find a small nondescript house. The sound of boisterous voices and laughter could be heard from the walk and that alone made it easier to knock on the door and introduce myself. A group of four guys were already there and they were waiting on two more. The group was play testing some new character classes for an “old school” supplement they were working on (This has since been released as the Exhumed Obscura – here on ebay – I will write a review of it soon) and I had decided to play as a ‘baseline’ character a half-elf Ranger to help them see how things balanced out. The group of guys had been playing together for many years and the course of the adventure got derailed by inside jokes and the like, but by the end of the night I had meshed with the group and gotten myself beguiled by their quest item.
Driving home while listening to KPFK I relived the nights adventure in my mind and knew that I had found a home among my fellow role players. It was going to be a long two weeks before I got a chance to play again!