Earlier this year, in February, actually, I started playing D&D with a group I contacted online. I think the first game I went to was Saturday, February 13th, ’cause that’s when I created the file “Allandra notes” in the D&D folder on my laptop. I brought with me a character I’d already developed a personality for via writing experiment in Oblivion.

The party had just begun the adventure H1: Keep on the Shadowfell, and they were already a little ahead of me in experience, since they’d been adventuring longer than I had. The DM was gracious enough to allow me to start at 3rd level, despite my relative inexperience with Fourth Edition. Things were a little awkward at first, after all, I was going to a stranger’s house to play with … complete strangers.

I’d only had a little time to go over my character with the DM, and once I’d finished building Allandra in his copy of the Character Builder and printed her out, we started. The guys (two rangers) happened across a figure leaning over a pool of water on their way to investigate a kidnapping, and they pounced — on me. The big one, a dragonborn, held me up, while the half-elf demanded to know who I was working for.

I quickly explained to them (well, actually the DM explained to them for me, since he hadn’t clued me in) that I’d been kidnapped to identify an artifact the baddies had dug up. I’d just managed to escape with my life and was heading back to town when I stopped for a drink of water and they found me. I couldn’t take them all on my own, but with the two rangers in tow, I was itching for some flaming vengeance, so I tagged along with them.