I never thought I’d go down this rabbit hole.
I’ve been acquainted with the idea of playing D&D for some time. Since I was a wee little one in fact. I remember my brother coming home from school one day when I was in middle school (back in the late ’90s) and telling me about the game. We sat down on our bedroom floor with a couple pieces of paper and tried our damndest to figure it out. It’s needless to say that it didn’t.
Fast forward about 15-20 years to last year when my wife came home from her new job, with the news that her coworker invited us over to his house to play. You should’ve seen my face… and my wife’s face for that matter. I’m fairly certain that she felt like a goddess and the best wife ever based on my reaction. She enabled the nerdiest side of me to come forth a little more and I was beaming.
So one day we went over to her coworker’s house where we met our Dungeon Master and our fellow players. The DM took some time to explain the campaign and what version we were playing (both my wife and I were completely lost), and then it began. He handed us character sheets, a 20-sided die, a D&D 5th Edition Player’s Handbook, and put us to work. That had to be one of the most exhausting days that I’ve ever experienced. However, after several grueling hours my wife and I had our characters: She was Daefel the Woodelf Ranger and I was Rhun the Human Paladin. The rest of our party consisted of a Woodelf Monk (correction!), a Dragonborn Barbarian, a Halfling Rogue, and a Human Bard… It was a big party. With all that said and done, we all went home to recuperate – or long rest *wink wink* – and build our backstories.
Speaking of backstory, this is my backstory for Rhun from last year:
Rhun grew up training as a smith, his father training him in the art of weaponsmithing. Rhun’s dream was to one day create a masterpiece worthy of adorning a noble’s wall or possibly even being worn by the noble himself.
Years later, Rhun started to run his father’s shop on his own and even took on an apprentice. He had started courting a lovely young lady whose father and mother ran the local bakery.
One day Rhun’s guildmaster, Ottoman Dietrich (of the guild Marx Union) approached him with a proposition from Lord Whiteheart to craft a ceremonial claymore. Excited, Rhun jumped at the opportunity and started sketching designs immediately. Some time later, Lord Whiteheart came by to look over Rhun’s sketches and chose one that caught his eye, leaving Rhun with a sizeable commission of 2500g for the work. Rhun began work on the sword as soon as the lord left his shop. He worked tirelessly for days, going over the sword in excruciating detail to ensure it met the lord’s specifications. Finally Rhun finished and sent word to Lord Whiteheart for him to come collect his finished product. He was excited to show off his creation, the pinnacle of his career and a masterpiece.
That night as Rhun left the shop, a thief visited, making quick work of the lock and skulking inside. The thief knew exactly what to take but made sure to grab a few extra things to make it look like a crime of opportunity. The prize however was the priceless sword. After collecting the loot, the thief made off into the night. Perhaps luckily, Rhun had forgotten if he had locked the door and was returning to the shop to make sure. As he rounded the corner, he saw the thief bolting out the front door and down the street, so Rhun took off after the thief. After a long chase and seemingly losing his way, Rhun found his target who was talking to two other men. Rhun watched as the burglar handed something to one of the other men. The one who appeared to be the leader took the item and revealed the newly crafted sword. Rhun panicked, his life’s work was being sold in a back alley to some worthless cretin. Rhun pawed at a brick on the ground and lobbed it at the group in anger, striking one in the head. After a short moment of confusion, the trio scattered off in different directions; one leaving behind a glass eye. Rhun picked it up, knowing the importance of being able to identify one of them.
In despair, Rhun returned to his smithy to take inventory of the losses. Upon entering, he instantly noticed the lockbox that he had put the lord’s commission payment in had been taken. Exhausted, he locked up and left.
The next morning, Lord Whiteheart showed with Otto to inspect the sword only to find a sorrowful man staring at the floor. Rhun attempted to explain but the lord would have none of it. He compromised with Rhun by offering to forgive the incident if Rhun returned the commission, but he obviously couldn’t. Lord Whiteheart then offered a last chance: Rhun would have a week to pay back the 2500g commission or face the executioner. Instead Rhun waited until they left and packed up some things to get away. He had to leave his life behind.
Rhun travelled for weeks until he found the abbey that he would make his new home. They took him in without question and looked after him. In payment he offered his service to them, learning to read and write. Eventually he began training with the sword. The abbey’s monk taught Rhun the art of war, and the priest attempted to teach Rhun the tenets of their faith. Rhun eventually pledged himself to serve Tyr; to seek justice for others.
But the question of the glass eye and the trio of thieves would plague him for years.
Now almost a year later, we’ve begun another campaign… This time it is a homebrew campaign created by one of the players from our other session. Our original session has now extended into another campaign altogether, with us moved into the Dessarin Valley to investigate some strange happenings. We’re now almost level 8 and have lost our Bard and picked up a Fighter in his place (same player though).
I’m hopelessly addicted now. Rhun has found two of the three men who took part in the events that transpired on the night that he started his path onto Paladin-hood. It’s been a rocky path along the way, which I’d be happy to elaborate on further in another post. In the meantime though, I just have to say that D&D is amazingly nerdy and so much fun. If you haven’t already played it, you need to take the time to at least see it in action. If you don’t know anyone that plays you can take a look at the folks with Critical Role. They have a webseries and Twitter account as well that is worth a look at.
Do you play D&D? Got any stories of your own? Feel free to share them.
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