Always Remember: Take everything seriously!
My first experience with P&P RPGs was with Dungeons and Dragons a few years back, when my friend
Adam, a truly experienced and sage adventurer and dungeon master extraordinaire, suggested
that myself, and some other friends start up a campaign. Totally new to the entire thing, I spent
altogether too much time going through his manuals and guides and what-not to come up with my
character, a sneaky human sorcerer who, for whatever reason, I decided to name Monarchis.
We started playing time after time, about once every week or two, and my character was progressing nicely.
I escaped from a burning building in the nick of time. I escaped from prison after being accused of being
an accomplice to a baron's murder. I managed to battle my way out of a room full of
armed skeletons after exploring what seemed like the longest tunnel in history. Over the months, I became
quite attached to my character, and with each level-up, it became more and more fun to play with my new
Well, the thing with D&D is that nobody remembered to tell me beforehand that if you die, you die. Dead, kaput, "Goodbye forever!" ... whatever you want to call it, I figured that "meh, there must be some 'Potion of Revival'
around here somewhere."
I thought wrong. I got a little overzealous when some of my partners-in-crime got into trouble one session
over a year after we had begun. My character was up to Level 6 or so (yes, Adam gave us experience at a snail's pace). A goblin raid at our cabin had left my allies in trouble and myself in a pickle. Usually, I leave myself secluded or hidden and work my wonders from afar, but to get a clear shot with a Spider Web spell, I uncharacteristically jumped out into the open, all of my 10 remaining HP bared.
Little did I know that the head goblin of the gang-of-ten-or-so was no ordinary goblin. Noper, he was a goblin mage, and when Adam looked at me on its turn, I could tell by the twinkle in his eye that I was in trouble. My first
close encounter with a Fireball spell was about to occur. It was, unfortunately, also my last, because only one of the four dice in the damage roll ended up NOT being a six. The fourth? It was a five.
With -13 HP, Adam declared my character dead, and I realized for the first time what that actually meant. After a
whole year, I had died, in a sense, as far as the game went! All by some measly, stupid goblin.
So, I guess if there's a lesson to be learned from this little anecdote, it's this: never underestimate how
evil your DM can be. Ever. Also, magic is the most fun thing in the world, until YOU are the target.