D&D Grows

This weekend saw the second session of my new D&D campaign and two new players have joined: Natasha (as tiefling warlock Zabrina) and Dusty (as human ranger Seal). That brings the number of players to six, which is close to the maximum I’ve ever had. And more people want to join.

What’s funny is that, for most of my life growing up, D&D was kind of a closeted activity. It certainly wasn’t cool. I struggled to find and have just three players a lot of the time. In high school, things opened up and that was when, for a few sessions, I found myself with seven players. Ever since then I’ve usually had four or five, which is the number I’m most comfortable with simply because it’s a lot faster to go around the table during combat with less players involved. I love having lots of players, the more the merrier, but at a certain point it gets cumbersome.

Now, I have six players, with interest from three more. I’m nervous to add more because everyone is pretty green and it takes a long time getting things done as it is. That will improve, of course, as everyone gets more familiar with the rules, and the fifth edition is the most streamlined version of the game to date. Still, I remember very well how slow-moving my game was with seven players, even though that was 25 years ago.

The other issue with more players is scheduling. Getting everyone together is very hard, no matter the size of the group, but the bigger the crew the more difficult it can be to align everyone. A possible solution would be to run two groups, but even just one is a lot of work. I am seriously considering it, though. I mean, I have plenty of setting developed and ready to go. My obstacle is a self-imposed one: I always want novelty and rarely care to revisit a campaign. Novelty demands a lot more work, though.

When did D&D become such a popular thing?

Return of D&D: Dragon Isles of the Xanthium Sea


I never thought I was going to run a D&D game again, but a few things changed my mind and I’m glad they did. I had a lot of fun and I think the players did too, and that’s the point.

All that last night’s session amounted to was character creation and an encounter to get everyone’s feet wet with the mechanics of the game. I had thought three hours would suffice but it stretched on a lot longer. Nevertheless, the bar-room fight against lowly Manes demons that were coming through an open portal to hell was a fun way to start things off.

The Player Characters

  • Alexia: Leiana (half-elf rogue)
  • Ted: Darius (human wizard)
  • Tyler: Rayden (dragonborn druid)
  • Paul: Leeroy Jenkins (half-orc fighter)

You read that right: we literally have a Leeroy Jenkins in the party. Not only that, he took the Noble background option with the Knight variant, giving him three retainers (Bane, Maul and Ani). And he’s a Lawful Good half-orc. Probably the most challenging set of details I’ve ever had to work into a campaign. I wonder how this will play out in the long-term….

The Setting

The Dragon Isles of the Xanthium Sea are so-named because every island in the sea and on the coastline has at least one resident dragon. The Independent City-State of Verupta is the sole exception, whose ruling dragon, Karvazilla, was slayed by the adventurer Radomillo and his companions 300 years ago. Verupta is among the oldest cities in the world with a history stretching back several thousand years. It is the crossroads of all the oldest kingdoms and empires in Hyracanum, so anything goes in terms of character race and class. In terms of esthetics, imagine a blend of Istanbul, Cairo and Renaissance Venice by way of ancient Persia.

The Motivation

Creative expression is something I think I need and the D&D game is a perfect outlet for the imagination. Also, because other players are relying on me to generate a world and adventures on a schedule, it has deadlines, which I find help me focus. I like being forced to invent stuff, it’s like exercise for the imagination. That, I think, is the primary reason for starting up a game again after such a long stretch of inactivity.

The other big reason is that I was inspired by Joe Manganiello’s appearance on the Tonight Show with Stephen Colbert in August where they just talked non-stop about D&D. It was hilarious and amazing, but what piqued my interest was how Joe talked about setting up his game as the “LA hub” where showbusiness people play together. I can’t think of a more fun way to network, and so I started this game as a way of potentially having the same thing here in Vancouver.

For now the plan is to play once a month, but that may be flexible. The great thing about this group right now is that everyone is a first-time player except for me, and I’m pretty rusty. It’s really ideal and so far I love it.