During the giant pastrami/panini, I returned to tabletop roleplaying games (TTRPGs) after a long hiatus. I had started with buying the 2nd edition Dungeons and Dragons (though interestingly I started with the Dungeon Masters Guide rather than the Player’s Handbook) though I didn’t play that game. The first game I played was the Star Wars Roleplaying Game 2nd edition from West End Games. I then returned to playing Dungeons and Dragons after TSR was purchased by Wizards of the Coast and they produced the Dungeons and Dragons 3rd Edition.

After bouncing off Dungeon and Dragons 2nd edition with THAC0, and non-weapon Proficiencies the 3rd edition made a lot more sense. It was an exciting time in the industry with the Open Gaming License 3rd-party publishers could write for the game system, which led to modules and adventures coming out regularly. I worked at a comic book/game store during this time, and the community felt alive with excitement.

I can remember staying late at the game store with my friends gathered around a gaming table as I started to run them through my first campaign.

The map for my first campaign

The campaign lasted for several sessions and then it stifled out like many campaigns due to my inexperience and my outreach in story. I can remember playing a few more times through Dungeons and Dragons 3rd edition and then into the 3.5 revision era though then I drifted away from gaming and playing tabletop roleplaying games as I headed to graduate school and then started my career. (I did play one or two sessions for a Dungeons and Dragons 4th Edition game though those games were an outlier and felt that the 4th edition too closely mirrored a video game for me at the time.)

Then we have a time jump to early April 2020 as the world is shutting down in a global once-in-a-generation pandemic. My entire department had been sent to work from home and I haven’t thought about or played Dungeons and Dragons (or any roleplaying) game in over a decade. A friend in the office invites me to play in their online Dungeon & Dragons campaign. We would be using a website called D&D Beyond for character creation, and then Discord to handle the video and audio.

Since then about once a week (barring holidays and other life events) I find a quiet (or semi-quiet) space and log in to join my friends for our weekly game night. We have played multiple different game systems and rotated through several different Game Masters since that first session. However, as our group has shrunk and grown I have become convinced how valuable this hobby can be to create and cement friendships and bring people together.

I don’t have any plans to leave the hobby again.