How would you react if your 12-year old son would slay a goblin in one go with his gigantic axe? While his fairy wizard mother looks in the back, trying to come up with a spell to overcome the attack of a giant Bugbear? And me? I’m just a Halfling Rogue, a stealthy burglar who just attacked a large wolf and has to come up with a plan to release the bodyguard of Gundren Rockseeker, the entrepeneur who hired us to bring an ox cart of goods to an abandoned mine.

Yes… we played our first Dungeons and Dragons adventure, the Lost Mine of Phandelver. To be exact, we played the first chapter up to where we raided the Cragmaw Goblin cave and defeated Klarg the aforementioned Bugbear. All this on a regular Saturday night!

Klarg the Bugbear
Everybody, say hello to Klarg!
We bought a Starter Box set for Christmas 2022 but we just never got around to it. Our Dungeon Master (DM) is one of my colleagues, who has 27+ years experience playing D&D. He was a perfect help to us into the game and found a nice balance between following the adventurebook and improvising as we go along. I mean, we're just starting out and having us killed on the first night would be a bit of a downer right?

How to get started

We had so much fun learning the mechanics of the game, getting to know each others characters traits and flaws. When should we listen to the DM and when can we sort of figure things out by ourselves? What are the options on specific parts of the game? Can you just walk into a dark cave where you hear munching sounds? We read our pre-made character sheets that comes with the set and tried to understand some of the basic rules beforehand. We watched a few Youtube videos and read the rulebook. But to be honest, it was an information overload for me. So I decided to just plunge in and see what would happen during our expedition.

Our gaming table
Our gaming table with a map of the area and some nice dice

I have no experience with tabletop role playing games (TT-RPG) so I was kind of worried how I would get “into” my character. Here as well, I decided to go all in and make stuff up as we go along. For instance, at the first night in the game we camped alongside of the road. I decided to lie a bit to my fellow travellers about something I heard and saw during my watch. i had an idea I could use this later on in the game. Due to the roll of the dice, it didn’t quite work out the way I wanted to, but the DM went along with it and it was nice to have this kind of freedom in gaming. I also wanted to find a way to include my network of criminal contacts from my past, as this was part of my character sheet. That didn’t work out yet, but maybe I can do this in later chapters.

We also found out we play our characters in our own different way. I tend to go into action really quick, whether we encounter a group of goblins discussing who should take the next watch or see three wolves in a cave. My wife wants to know more before she goes into action. Why are the discussing? Who put those wolves there? Why do I as an elf meditate instead of sleep? It can be fun to see how those characters play out in subsequent chapters. Our session lasted around 2,5 hours, when the youngest of the party started yawning but really want to continue. When he went to bed he was still proud to have slayed these goblins and have a big axe and some spears as his weapons. To me, that’s a sign the gameplay was right and he was really into it. Even this morning he was still talking about his character. We might have unleashed something inside of him…

There’s more than just a game

I also understand a bit more about this famous RPG, the community and memes behind it. When we are at ComicCons or other gaming fairs, I am surprised by the amount of merchandise for this game, especially the dice. Our DM brought some of his dice collection and I am fascinated by the different materials, sizes, workings and special editions. Like the Roulette Dice, a steampunk-inspired flat-metal 7-in-1 dice. I just love this kind of stuff. I also get a bit more why people spend hours upon hours to build their own character. Including backstory, history and specific personality traits. I also get the community that crafts and paints miniatures, maps and complete villages.

I just found out there’s a musical and atmospheric playlist for our campaigns! I also had a lot of fun reading up on this campaign diary of a father who plays the game with his sons. I have to be careful to need read up on spoilers for the coming chapters, I look forward to the next mission, freeing Gundren in a torn down castle in the woods! What do we do?