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I'll be the first to admit:
I had never wanted to learn how to play Dungeons and Dragons or anything like it.
D&D had never been that interesting to me, and frankly, I didn't want to try and understand it. Nothing about sitting for hours on end, having to rely on certain rolls, ever struck a chord with me. I didn't understand the stats, didn't understand alignments, and didn't understand why a dice had to have 20 sides.
To me, D&D was something that only friendless, single nerds did so that they could at least bond over their loneliness. You know those kinds of kids — the ones that tried so hard to be liked, to score a date to homecoming or the winter semi-formal. You kind of pitied them, honestly- all they wanted was a friend, but being friends with them would be social suicide. There weren't many of those types of kids in my school — we were on a Magic: The Gathering kick, and I at least had an interest in that, even if I never played.
But, since no one ever talked about it, I never bothered to learn about D&D. Which led to a lot of times on Discord that I'd be sitting by myself in the voice chat as the rest of the members of the server would be discussing the session. It never necessarily made me upset; it was something I wasn't into, so I didn't really have a need to be there. There was a part of me, though, that wished I could be a part of it.
Flash forward to this year — July, to be exact. I had booked a flight and was excited to spend a week with my boyfriend (up until this point, we had been exclusively long-distance, and this was the first time we had ever met in person). In the middle of this stretch would be the weekly D&D session, and he asked me if I wanted to sit in. Hesitantly, I said yes.
I didn't have my own character. I didn't have my own dice. I didn't have the slightest idea what I was doing. But, when the day came, I sat in. I watched. I listened. And I learned what I could about Remilia, the world he had started crafting even before we started dating.
He gave me the idea to play as one of the previously NPC guards of the castle, with some ideas as to how I played her. He let me borrow some of his dice. And he made sure that if I had questions (which I had hundreds of), I knew I could ask both him as the DM and the other players. Despite the confusion (and likely the internal groans of everyone involved), I ended up having a lot of fun.
Also during this week, I learned that he, along with most of my other friends, were involved in what seemed to be almost a simplified version of D&D called Tavern Tales. This took place entirely over Discord, on a separate server I didn't have access to. Again, I was a little miffed that this was another thing I wasn't part of...
You can see a pattern here, can't you?
About a week or so after I came home from my visit, I had joined in on TT. I felt more comfortable because there weren't all these stats I had to worry about. I remember staying up entirely too late, in a private voice chat, creating my character for this session.
I had picked up on this type of play fairly quickly — I'm a visual learner.
Skip forward a few more weeks. Due to some unfortunate circumstances after I returned from my vacation, I made the decision to go back and move in with him. After a 14 hour car trip across five states and some much-needed rest, it was once again time for a D&D session. He told me, once again, I didn't need to come, but I had finally taken an interest in it.
We went to his friend's house earlier than anyone else, since I would need to make an actual character sheet. I read. And read. And read. This time, though, things made a bit more sense to me. I ended up settling on a beastmaster ranger with a wolf companion. Compared to the rest of the group, my character seemed pretty tame. We had a vampire rogue, an orc bard, his half-elf sister, and, for a time, a dragonborn paladin. I say for a time because about three weeks in, he volunteered to drop out so someone else could continue to participate. We had no qualms about this, considering we'd all had a falling out with him.
Instead of my boyfriend being the DM this time, he was a player, and his friend was running his own, short campaign in Remilia. I was excited and nervous — I couldn't wait to join in on this officially, but I was terrified that I'd make myself look like an idiot the entire time.
And thankfully, that fear was unfounded. What had started as fear and discomfort turned into something to look forward to every week. After the first week, I went and bought my first two sets of dice. He gave me a third set that was my favorite color. A few weeks later, I ordered a dice bag to match his. Every week, I learned a little more and got more into the swing of things.
It wasn't until the third or fourth week that things started to really pick up. We had been tasked at first with going to an island and destroying a cult that had formed. But, prior to us doing this, we had to return a town to its original plane of existence by destroying large crystals.
We finished up his friend's campaign this past Friday with the destruction of the last crystal. This coming week, the game returns to our house, and we return to the main campaign. I'll have to make a new character, but that doesn't really scare me anymore. I have all of the necessary files I need, and I know that if I have questions, I can always ask.
It's funny looking back now. Seventeen-year-old me would have never dreamed of playing a game like that. I would have literally stayed away from it like it was the plague. But I guess I can chalk that up to not having the right group of people to play with.
And who knows? Maybe one day, I'll have enough experience to DM my own campaign in Remilia.