Earlier this week I received an email alerting me that the new Dungeons & Dragons Encounters season was here. I’m going to be honest, I knew absolutely nothing about it at the time. Now that I’ve had a chance to delve a bit deeper, I found it to be a pretty awesome set up. It’s what I would consider mini-modules that are tailored to fit a certain number of characters but not specific ones. A lot of the build up for the campaigns are generated prior to play and it deals with the core fundamentals of role playing games.
Now, I’ve been playing these games off and on since 1984. That’s a lifetime to some people and a mere drop in the bucket for others. But one thing I have learned is that a good D&D game is comprised of many things. From the players to the Dungeon Master to having a great campaign quest, these are all important components to any great RPG. Of course, a Big Gulp and some cash for pizza never hurt anything. But having spoken to all that, I must say that there are so many things that change as we get older. College, marriage, children, location, timing…these all play a part as to why some of us haven’t continued playing RPGs the way we once did.
I’ve been a participant in the early testing of D&D Next and to be fair it has reawakened a passion for gaming that I had almost forgotten these many years. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve played here and there with friends but nothing ever seemed to click. I also purchased every single computer game that I could lay my hands on, but nothing compares to the tabletop, dice rolling games of my youth. Taken with the fact I have been receiving a lot of freebies from Wizards of the Coast, I’m getting that itch to play once more. And here’s where Encounters comes in…
Dungeons & Dragons Encounters is a weekly event that’s held on Wednesdays the world over. Utilizing a one to two hour time frame in which players go through a series of events that are somewhat self-contained, these events are all pieces to a greater puzzle. The most interesting thing is that anyone can play. Be they a beginner or an expert gamer, the playing field is leveled. Testimonies from former participants can be found on the Encounters website.
Here’s what the press release had to say:
Get ready to traverse the Dalelands for an artifact with the power to unlock the mysteries of an ancient elven civilization in Search for the Diamond Staff, the newest season of D&D Encounters beginning June 12.
The Diamond Staff of Chomylla has at long last been found—but when orcs steal this artifact, it’s up to a group of heroes to stop them. Why orcs should want the staff is anyone’s guess, and the quest to find the truth might well lead the adventurers across the Dalelands and into the depths of the lost library-vaults of Uvaeren.. Adventurers will also have the opportunity to play in a multi-table roleplaying event during Vault of the Dracolich Game Day on June 15. This annual event, which takes place at Wizards Play Network locations in over 40 countries, is a celebration of Dungeons & Dragons and a way for local communities to get together and play one of the latest releases.
For more information on D&D Encounters and D&D Game Day or to find a participating hobby store near you, visit DungeonsandDragons.com. And be sure to follow D&D on Facebook and Twitter.”
All in all, this looks like a great bit of fun. I’ve actually started thinking of this as a way to introduce my kids to the wondrous world of fantasy role playing. If you have a local comic or gaming shop nearby, drop in or call them to see if they are participating. But be warned, it’s addictive…one of my roommates and I had a dedicated gaming room in one of our houses years ago. Our girlfriends thought we were nuts but our geeky friends thought it was awesome. Encounters may also be a fun way to meet new people and maybe get a gaming group together for some non-Wednesday games! So please don’t hesitate to get in on the action, there’s a whole universe of fun to be had.