Pop Culture Shenanigans

How An Old Lady Became Obsessed With D&D

I’ve been writing here since late 2003 and there are very few topics I haven’t covered. And today? I’m 99.9999% positive I’m in uncharted territory here at misszoot.com. I’m also worried that 99.99999% of you will NOT CARE IN THE SLIGHTEST about this topic but if you all will hang with me, we may end up in this new world together.

Let’s talk Dungeons & Dragons!

(Did I lose you already?)

(Please! Hang in there!)

My only experience with Dungeons & Dragons was learning about it when my brother played with a friend in our youth and the idea sounding SO COOL. But that’s it. And every time I hear other people talk about it I think, “THAT SOUNDS SO COOL!” But I’ve never seen it played nor do I know anything about it or – really – any other Role Playing Games (RPGs) for that matter. I’ve never even seen/played online RPGs much less table-top ones. Meaning, NO EXPERIENCE WHATSOEVER.

But that part of me that says, “THAT SOUNDS SO COOL!” has always been intrigued when hearing people talking about it. Fantasy role-playing? I mean…it just sounds like me, right? I like fantasy. I have a very vivid imagination. I’m a nerd. How I never ended up in a D&D crowd in my life is beyond me.

NOW! Fast-forward to a few weeks ago when I learned that a silly group of brothers (The McElroy Brothers) I listen to in a different podcast (My Brother, My Brother And Me – it’s a bit profane) also do a D&D podcast called The Adventure Zone. I quickly looked at it on iTunes and learned the 3 brothers do it with their Dad and there was “only” 45+ episodes which is a reasonable amount to catch up on. (I’m currently running 50’ish miles a week, it doesn’t take me long to burn through 45+ episodes of podcasts.) And I hadn’t listened to a fiction podcast in awhile and was itching for a new one, so this seemed like a good one to fit the bill.

So, I queued up episode one and went to town.

In case you know nothing about D&D it’s simple. You have a DM/GM (Dungeon Master/Game Master) who plans an adventure and the other players are characters who have pre-determined abilities based on base-definitions and you roll various dice to see how you perform in certain instances.

(That sounds SO boring.)

And y’all? I AM SO HOOKED NOW. I’m looking into trying to start a game with the kids, or maybe joining a different one (Donnie knows someone who might be able to DM for us as a family) but either way, I will play soon if it kills me. This series of podcasts has cracked me up (I already love these guys because they’re hilarious even though they can get SO FOUL) so many times. I’ll be on a run, or in my car, or washing dishes and they’ll do a goof that has me LOLing in a very real sense. BUT! It’s also super-riveting. In one episode Travis McElroy (who plays Magnus) paused Griffin while he was doing the story telling and said something like, “I just want to say I’m on the edge of my seat here,” and I was thinking THE SAME THING. Who knew an audio format of a group playing a table-top role playing game could have me BITING MY FINGERNAILS WITH NERVES.

But there have been some moments when Griffin (The DM) has announced a twist or a turn or a result that has had me literally GASP. I got goosebumps at the end of one episode recently. I looked down at my arm and there they were: GOOSEBUMPS. And then? Most recently? Two episodes ago? I SOBBED LIKE A DAMN BABY. This crazy podcast with 4 guys playing a game – NOT EVEN IN THE SAME ROOM (they live in different cities and play via Skype) – has me ADDICTED and LAUGHING and CRYING and SCARED and OH MY GOD I AM NOW CAUGHT UP WITH THE REAL WORLD AND I HAVE TO WAIT LIKE EVERYONE ELSE DOES WHAT AM I GOING TO DO?

It took a few episodes to get into it. I think this is partly because I didn’t understand the game that well (not sure I still do) and it was hard for me to figure out what was going on with dice rolling. It might be harder to get into if you don’t already know the guy’s voices from their other podcast because it might take awhile to sort out who is playing who. But! It didn’t take long for me to understand enough to get the gist of the thing. I think it also took a bit for the guys to really hash out their characters so they became dimensional. Once Travis said, “Okay. There’s something I really want to do right now but it’s something TRAVIS would do, NOT Magnus, so I’m going to NOT do it and respect the fiction.”

I thought that was SO COOL.

And I love hearing Griffin McElroy MDM’ing. My favorite is when the guys do something unexpected and he gets excited. He’ll even say, “Okay…I’m totally into this…” like he LOVES the challenge to build a story based on some of these insane actions. While I love Magnus the best (played by Travis McElroy), I think Justin McElroy’s character is the funniest (His character is Taako, pronounced “Taco.”) and it doesn’t help the he’s SO good at the voice so sometimes it’s not WHAT he’s saying that cracks me up but HOW he’s saying it.

I just love the whole thing. I’m super-sad that I’m now caught up with the real world and I’ll have to wait 2 weeks at a time like everyone else. It was already hard enough to remember what had happened when I only started a few weeks ago, it’s going to be impossible to keep it all straight now.

Either way – I’m looking forward to trying to actually play this game some time in the future. Hopefully with the kids if I can figure out how to DM a game I’ve never played. I think I’d be a terrible DM but the kids won’t mind me being bad, I think they’ll just get into playing it. The podcast is not as foul as MBMBAM can be (They’re foul in the way any 3 brothers are foul when they get together), so I’ve let them listen to it periodically. They can’t wait to get started playing.

So here’s to a new thing to obsess over. I’m 41, that’s the age when most people start playing D&D, right?

9 thoughts on “How An Old Lady Became Obsessed With D&D”

  1. My husband has become very hooked on DnD. He plays once a week with a regular group and the sporadically with another group. He plays with my boys in the garage. He watches Critical Role on Twitch and other DnD podcasts/ webcasts. He bought a 3d printer so he can print items for his games. When we went to DragonCon, his thing was to play DnD. He’s 46 and he started when he was around 41. Totally normal. ?

  2. Also, Chris Perkins is the Master of DnD Dungeon Masters. You should hear him. Try finding some Acquisitions Incorporated webcasts from PAX. Those are very entertaining.

  3. This is exactly what I needed. My boys are dying to play D&D and even had someone try to teach them at NerdCon last year. I don’t know how, but I bet this podcast could help! What’s the name of it? I’d love to give it a try!

  4. Well, I didn’t really clearly state it or link to it, I’m the dumb one! I edited the entry to include name/link when I first referenced it. It’s definitely got bad language, but I love it!

  5. That’s awesome! My friend’s husband has been using his 3D printer the same way!!!

  6. Oooo, I can contribute to this conversation. We’re totally a DnD family. DH and I played in college, he DM’d a group in his 30s, and DS (10) is eager to start.

    First, check out http://www.nothankyouevil.com/ for a beginner’s version of (non-official) DnD geared toward kids ages 5 to 10. My 10 year old son really wants to do DnD, so he DM’d our session. Totally fun, but much shorter than a regular DnD game.

    Second, if you want to play, see if there is a group building via Meetup.com. DH set up an on-going game when we moved to a new area, and met some great friends that way. You can also look at the recommendations list here: http://geekandsundry.com/finding-a-dd-group-how-do-you-want-to-do-this/.

  7. My husband just got re-into D&D and has a couple groups he plays with. One is an online game he set up with some friends who live on the east coast. I’m not entirely clear on the details, but the interface keeps track of rolls and characters and you can do things like give secret instructions to only one person. You join by webcam too, so you can see and talk to your friends. He is also trying to set something up for my son and his friends, maybe as an after-school or weekend activity. Offers a lot of creative game play for kids (and adults!).

  8. UPDATE: so we started listening to this in the mornings during breakfast. It’s the perfect thing to wake up my groggy boys and get their brains cranking for schoolwork. (We had a convo about the language; they’re cool.) Thanks for the heads up about this podcast!

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