It has been awhile, but if I had to pinpoint an exact weekend…September 24-25, 2010 was the first time I ever ran a Dungeons & Dragons session, with a group of eight long-time friends (which has ballooned up to ten) in Newmarket, Ontario. It was my inaugural experience running or being a part of any sort of table top RPG experience.

Let me introduce you to my group: the “Dan Cheung Adventuring Experience, Feat. Kris Morrison” (or DCAEfKM) has been playing once a month for the past seven years, or whenever we could find time to meet up. It has been and remains one of the highlights of my tabletop RPG experience. First, that I find myself DMing for what amounts to two full groups of players; second, that I have forged consistent, memorable moments with people I call friends:

The Players:
(James) Soulja-Boy, variant human evocation wizard
(Andy) Tender-Vittles, forest gnome valor bard
(Megan) Kettu Palon, half-elf arcane trickster rogue
(Elyse) Muckluck, half-elf war cleric of Bahamut
(Kris) Krom, tiefling hunter ranger
(Dean) Gamblor von Baltazar, brass dragonborn oath of devotion paladin of Bahamut
(Freddy) “Susan”, goliath berserker barbarian/ El Lunchador, Jr., half-elf luchador, way of the open hand
(Dan) Gang-Wu Bo, longtooth shifter monk, way of the open hand
(Phil) Dareus En’Migilar, half-elf fighter-rogue
(Matt) Tholin Stronginthearm, dwarf totem-warrior barbarian

The “Dan Cheung Adventuring Experience, Feat. Kris Morrison” has become a fable. I would love to be able to share it all with you, but ain’t nobody got time fo’ that. Here’s some of it:

•Early in their career, the DCAEfKM took ownership of a bar, and renamed it the “G-Spot” (the ‘g’ stands for gnome). The number of times I’ve been asked to point out on a map exactly where it is…

Soulja-Boy and Tender-Vittles, casting “Magic Missile” and “Vicious Mockery” as a combined spell, resulting in “Magic Mockery”… (this is totally doable on a shared initiative count + readying an action, and the lowest damage rolls of each spell combined).

•“Susan”, rolling a 1 THREE TIMES IN A ROW trying to extract himself from glue shots. (“You try to extract your ankles using your hands… your hands are now stuck to your ankles…You try and use your teeth to extract your hands… your face is now stuck to your feet… you’ve fallen over and are in what can only be described as ‘incumbent fetal position’”).

Kettu Palon interrogating my NPCs and villains with the use of her hand-crossbow, and lack of empathy (“You’re running out of hands, knees, and time, but my crossbow still has bolts”).

Muckluck and Tender-Vittles arguing in-character with each other about party tactics. The one thing both of them agree on is that stealth is never an option.

•Our paladin, Gamblor, whose player arrived late to one session, tried to catch up to the team, via horse-back. In order to quicken his pace, the seller also offered him a vial of something to pep his horse up. Sitting atop the horse, Gamblor paid his coin, then watched to his horror as the seller took the top of the vial off, and plunged it into his horses’ backside. Gamblor made it in time, though he barely passed his CON save. Don’t ask about the horse.

•Giving Krom, the neutral evil character in the group, an evil, sentient, artifact weapon.

Some things I’ve learned along the way playing in D&D Fifth Edition, and in particular with this group is:

1) Long campaigns are a really bad idea.

2) Tighter, simpler focus on story elements and not “crossing the streams” of planned campaigns with ten compelling back-story narratives.

3) Not giving away magic items like candy, though I blame starting out in Fourth Edition for that.

4) Always be snacking.

5) Always remember to take insulin.

6) No matter what you do, it’s still ten people playing. Things are assuredly going to go off whatever counted for rails at some point.

7) Playing as a sentient artifact weapon in conjunction with a PC is so much fun, I don’t know where to begin.

8) Sometimes, you just have to do every single dumb voice for the NPCs and villains during that one session.

I’ve enjoyed myself immensely delving into the world of TTRPGs. Aside from D&D, I’ve played in the “Savage Worlds: Hollow Earth” campaign setting, some “Pathfinder”, and a very small amount of “Vampire: The Masquerade”. But whatever comes next, playing with these people has given me a load of happiness and inspiration combining Story and Art together. You’ll see some of these characters mentioned above depicted in the art of my gallery.

Playing D&D, and more recently getting involved in the Fifth edition community over the past year has helped me focus those two things in a way that allows me to now approach all of you reading this with the work you’ll get to check out here on this site. From commissions through personal work, I hope you enjoy looking at it as much as I have creating it.

-John

 

 

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