Dungeons & Dragons 101 – a 411

Dungeons & Dragons commonly abbreviated as D&D or DnD. First published in 1974 by the legendary Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson. Currently, on its fifth edition, this fantasy-based tabletop role-playing game is played worldwide both on the tabletop, online-based games, and even video games based on the many campaigns.

This is a game I have been eager to try out for many years but feared to take the plunge. The game requires somewhat regular players, quite a hefty learning curve, and the wisdom of an experienced DM (Dungeon Master) who oversees and controls the fantasy world.

Enter, Geek Retreat. Based in the Lisburn Square shopping area of Lisburn City in Northern Ireland, first opened its doors in May 2021. They offer up a rather impressive range of products from various TCG (trading card games) boardgames and of course the reason we’re here today, Dungeons & Dragons.

Not only can you purchase from this plethora of gaming goodness. You’re also able to play one of the many boardgames they have in store, play numerous PS5 and Nintendo Switch titles, and take part in one of the many themed evenings with events ranging from Warhammer 40K, Pokemon TCG, and Magic the Gathering. Don’t just take it from me, check out the event calendar on their Facebook page.

Right, enough advertising! Our DM for the evening was Geek Retreats‘ very own Saul. He first helped each player choose a pre-made character for this “one shot” campaign? For lack of a better word, a one-shot is a self-contained scenario that can is completed in one sitting. I’m eagerly awaiting a more lengthy campaign!

For this session, I was Mango, the noble fighter class hero. Although, my character later became more of a barbarian…

Personality Traits – My flattery make those I talk to feel wonderful and important. Also, I don’t like to get my hands dirty, and I won’t be caught dead in unsuitable accommodations.

Ideals – Responsibility. It’s the duty of a noble to protect the common people, not bully them.

Greataxe in hand, I was ready to set off on an adventure!

The one shot for the evening was a homebrew of the DM’s own design. Five adventurers were mysteriously summoned to a tavern at the end of a rather ominous valley, a heavy fog lay thick over the Inn and surrounding village…

The entire village appeared to be in the inn for a hefty evening of entertainment and the consuming of ale. One unusual fixture, a gigantic hourglass that actually reached the ceiling of the inn stood in the corner with the sand nearly emptied from the top chamber.

I’ll not get into the details of how I was introduced to the other adventurers. Let’s just say there were drinking competitions with very experienced Dwarven Smiths, a certain flying companion involved, and a rather expensive tunic nearly ruined! The others had all received the same letter as myself which was delivered with a purple seal that bore the name of the Inn and an image of that same hourglass that towered before us.

The evening carried on and the ale was certainly flowing with some choice covers from a nearby Bard. The Tavern Maid was dispatched to fetch more food but had not returned! As a nobleman, I felt it my duty to set out and bring the lady back. The rest of the adventurers followed suit.

It was all an elaborate ruse! These things usually are… The Tavern maiden was safe and sound and back inside the Inn with the doors sealed.

There was a sudden series of soul-shaking howls which seemed to be coming from all around us, carried over the still present dense fog. We were trapped, behind the Inn at our rear was the end of the valley. If we were going to make it back inside that Inn and deal with the treacherous Inn keeper, we were going to have to dispatch these wolves.

I’ll not get into the gritty details of how the adventurers quickly dispatched the UNDEAD wolves, that’s right. Undead! Being a noble hero, one doesn’t like to brag about my conquests.

Behind us in the Inn, the patrons were all watching from the windows, and the Inn’s owner cheering from a balcony above. She would be dealt with soon enough but further chilling sounds were emerging from that eerie fog. The sounds of armor and bones…

Our adventure was just beginning!

That concluded the session! The group was devastated, we all wanted to continue our adventure but unfortunately, we were out of time.

From an absolute beginner’s perspective, the evening was fantastic. The core game was explained in detail and the players knew their roles. This is definitely a game I will be playing much more of in the very near future. In fact. As I write this, I have already assembled another group of adventurers for another beginner’s session in Geek Retreat.

If you find yourself with a free evening and want to dive into the world of Dungeons & Dragons, be sure to get in touch with Geek Retreat in Lisburn and reserve a space for their D&D 101 evenings.

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