My First Dungeons & Dragons Adventure

My first session of Dungeons and Dragons occurred in early 2015. To be honest, I wanted to try DnD for a long time before then, but it kept getting put off. That was mostly because I didn’t know anyone who currently played the game, and I was pretty nervous about interacting with people I didn’t know, especially when I had no idea how to play.

Thankfully, all but two of six members of our group had never played the game before. I was far from being alone in the awkward moments where I needed to figure out how to respond to a situation, or when I forgot what my damage roll was for the umpteenth time. But, it was a learning experience I will never forget, and so I am here to share that adventure with you today.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with DnD, it’s an older tabletop role-playing game that’s less about accomplishing a goal than telling an exciting story. I believe the game initially started in the Forgotten Realms universe, but those experienced and comfortable enough to explore and expand have always been able to take the ruleset (or even change the rules!) and drop them into an entirely different one, even of their own making. However, now DnD can even be played completely online. There are several websites available that provide you with character sheets, the necessary dice roll systems, and the visuals to accompany the story as it unfolds.

My group played completely online, mostly for the convenience of not needing to be in the same place all at once. Often times we used skype with video and voice chat for easy communication, and also so we could see each others’ expressions as if we were all in the same room.

So, we all joined the virtual tabletop session, but the game hasn’t quite begun yet. Because it was our first time playing together, all of us still needed to make our characters. I took a look at the handbook a while beforehand, but there were a dozen different classes and a dozen more different races, all of which affected your stats and proficiencies, your abilities, what languages you spoke, as well as a plethora of other things. I won’t go into detail this time about how my character came to be, but I ended up with a tiefling (demon/human) warlock named Illixi. She was also 10 years old and 18/20 on the sexy scale. Yeah, that’s kinda weird, but don’t question it.

At first, it was really unclear what we were doing. I was partied with an undead knight, a crazy druid, an alcoholic priest, and a thief who could not stop herself from stealing everything she looked at. Our adventure started somewhere random, where our characters didn’t really know each other yet. Then all of the sudden these flaming skeletons came out of nowhere and we banded together to fight them! Yay.

From there the story developed into a murder mystery that was mostly role-playing with a bit of fighting here and there. It took a while to get used to, but it was fun. There was a lot of banter between our characters and even times where the story veered completely off course (the time where my character went to have a nap in the bed of the house we were investigating, while my companions went out to rob some guy who had just offered to take them partying comes to mind). Unfortunately, the murder was never solved because our group kinda fell apart before we got that far, but shit happens. Afterwards, I went on to create my own group with some of my old high school classmates, though that group kinda fell apart after a couple months too.

I still want to play DnD and have had thoughts of starting up again, so if there’s anyone out there who wants to give it a shot… maybe shoot me a message!

Have any of you played DnD before? What was your first adventure like?

~Erynn

 

 

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I Bought a PS4

Hey guys, sorry for not posting much of anything this month. I’ve been rather busy and though I’ve had my blog on my mind, I’ve had to slog through other things that had me push it to the side for a bit. But, things are starting to slow down, and so I shall resume writing regular posts.

At the beginning of July I bought a PS4. My boyfriend and I have wanted one for some time, and planned to get one in the near future, but I decided that I needed something that I could use to get a break from the computer. It worked great, actually. Even better than I thought it would.

See, my problem with working on the computer is that if I’m itching to do something other than work, I hop on League of Legends and play a couple ranked matches (and proceed to scream inside at how terrible everyone in Platinum seems to be) to refocus myself before going back to work. But the nature of the League ranked system would have me playing 2-3 games in a row, which is about an hour and a half depending on the length of each match. It wouldn’t have been so bad if I were able to just play one match at a time, but that really only would have been possible if I won each time because of the frustration that builds up from losing a match that should have been won.

Putting that aside, that’s where the PS4 comes in. I’m a huge RPG fan, which are easy to play in quick bursts and put down for a while to do something else. Essentially, they’re perfect for when I need a quick brain break. It’s true that I didn’t need to spend $700 on a PS4 and some games to play a good RPG, but remember that I wanted to be able to take a break from the computer, too. So, now instead of working for an hour or so and spending an hour and a half playing league, I’ve been working for about two hours at a time, and then taking a fourty-five minute break to play whatever game I’m fancying at the moment.

Since I love to talk about video games about as much as I do about writing and books, I’ll write some posts about my experieces on the PS4 as the year progresses. For now, all I’ll tell you guys is that I have The Last of Us, Witcher 3, Elder Scrolls Online, and Bloodborne. There are a couple other games I’m interested in getting (Horizon Zero Dawn comes to mind), but these will occupy me for now.

Actually, before I wrap this post up, I want to talk a bit about the PS4 itself.

Honestly, I’m not much of a console gamer. I had a PS1 a super long time ago and played the original Spyro games, I had a PS2 where I watched my family play other games like Jak and Need for Speed, and I got an original Wii for Christmas a couple years back that I never really got to use all that much.

So, I’ve never really experieced a “smart console” before now. Being able to connect to the internet and watch anime or Netflix without connecting a computer to my TV is a huge perk. I don’t see much of a use in the browser feature for anything else but watching anime (as Netflix’s selection is limited and the crunchyroll app is only useful if you have a premium sub) because a computer is much more functional. Those are my thoughts, at least. I haven’t tried much else yet.

Do any of you guys have a PS4? What are your thoughts on the machine itself?

~Erynn

Writing In Video Games

Something I’ve been interested in for a long time is writing for an actual video game. What prompted me to go out and pursue this recently was an opportunity that I saw; not one that I could take advantage of now, but one that maybe I could be lucky enough to grab in the future. That opportunity was seeing a job opening in BioWare, a department picked up by EA Games dedicated to creating brilliant RPGs and the like. If I was maybe 10 years older, it would have been a dream come true… but lacking the age and experience needed to even interest such a company, it’s something I need to pass on for now.

Just to give you a bit more perspective, they were asking for a minimum of 5 years writing experience in a similar environment (writing and developing stories behind video games), in addition to university education. While I believe I write very good for my age (remember guys, I only just graduated high school this year), I’m in no way shape or form ready to take on such a task.

However, it solidified my desire to pursue something other than novel writing, and that’s why starting yesterday, I started seeking work writing for video games. I picked up a gig several months ago where I was supposed to write the story for a fantasy rpg, but it kind of fell apart. Well, fell apart in the sense that after the guy said he wanted me on their team he disappeared. 😥 Today I got in contact with two different people managing two different projects, one very interested in having me write for them. So maybe it something comes of it in the near future, I’ll be taking a step in that direction that I can tell you guys about.

I’d like to talk a bit more about my experience with that fantasy rpg I just mentioned. While I didn’t get too far into any of the work involved in that project, it was the beginning of a whole new era of writing for me. I opened myself up to the world of script writing (something I had little interest in before), and to the world of real world development. When you’re designing a world for a novel, you only have to see it well enough to write your readers into it. You have narrative readily available to throw your readers into the story, but that’s completely gone in video games. Instead of you writing and describing everything that happens around the reader, the reader is instead a player, and is experiencing the world as the artists pictured it, and it’s your job to reflect that world in the characters.

A video game I finished recently is Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning. I highly recommend it if you like diverse combat, but that’s not what I’m here to discuss today. I picked up the game because my boyfriend said I should try it, and he reinforced this fact by supplying me with the information that one of my favourite fantasy authors, R.A. Salvatore, wrote the story for the game. Here’s an article with an interview with R.A. Salvatore regarding his involvement in the game.

What I’ve so far learned about writing for video games is that it’s nothing like writing a novel. You need to show the player the world you’ve spent so long building in a completely different way. Each and every character within the game, whether it be a simple farmer or a merchant is significant. Your story affects everyone, everyone the player touches, and everything that you, the writer, have yet to touch on yourself.

What are your thoughts on the stories behind video games, the writing that is involved in it? Have any of you ever written for a video game before (be it dialogue, quests, or developing an actual story)?

~Erynn