My First D&D Experience and What it Spawned

A four-sided polyhedral die sits on a piece of stained paper.

A small mining village on the precipice of doom. A wood elf ranger alone and unafraid of what’s beyond his vision. A kobold sorcerer outcast from his clan for daring to speak out against diabolical might and malice. This triad formed the foundation of my first D&D experience when I was ten years old. The experience hooked me and my brother for hours. Or, more accurately, it hooked me (and him, I think) for life.

It’s the end of 2020. I thought I’d close off this unpredictable year with a short story about a session of Dungeons & Dragons and what it spawned.

But before I do, I want to write thank you. My sincerest thanks to all of you who read my articles here on RJD20, talk about D&D across my channels, or have contributed to my growth in any way. I really want to turn this into something larger. It has been a pillar of my life for so long now, but I know it can rise higher.

2021 is going to be huge—I can sense it. Before the world becomes wilder, let’s peer into the distant past and recount how two boys and their dad played a game of D&D that would stay with them more than a decade after.

The D&D Game

Since early childhood, I read fantasy books and played fantasy games. I picked up Tolkien at a younger than usual age and spent hours in the world of Sanctuary with Diablo II or the regions of the Sword Coast and unique lands in Neverwinter Nights. It wasn’t until the age of ten that I entered the realm of pen and paper.

Sometime in summer 2007, my brother and I discovered a few of my father’s old D&D books and notes. We poured through them, not really understanding what they meant or what they were for. But we enjoyed them! Google was a tool for us and we quickly found a free adventure during the day, printed it, and tried to play it. I barely remembered what happened—just that it included goblins and used a large amount of ink. We definitely didn’t play correctly, but we had a blast.

When my dad came home and heard about what we were up to, he was happy and surprised. It didn’t take long for him to pick up the sourcebooks for D&D 3.5e and a free adventure from online. My brother and I created our first characters and prepared to play our first game of D&D.

He made a wood elf ranger named Graver. I molded a kobold sorcerer called Meeko the Outcast. If I remember correctly, I was inspired by Deekin, the kobold bard in the Neverwinter Nights official campaigns. Characters created, we were ready.

The Burning Plague was my father’s adventure of choice. Though he had quite the collection of old adventures from first and second edition D&D, he wanted a story using the current edition’s rules. I think he was unsure if my brother and I would enjoy D&D, so he didn’t purchase a pre-written module. An intelligent move, definitely. But he was proven wrong, as you can probably tell.

The session was simple but effective. Graver entered the mining village and found out it was affected by a terrible plague. Its source was unknown, but it was affecting nearly the entire settlement. A few villagers suspected it was connected to the nearby mine, which led Graver to it.

Outside the mine entrance and covered in rubble laid Meeko the Outcast. His clan, the kobolds in the mine, threw him out after he spoke out against their admittance of an evil outsider to lead them. Together, Graver and Meeko delved into the abandoned mine. My first D&D combat involved a kobold ambush and a thunderstone; it was deadly. Barely, the duo defeated the kobolds and continued deeper into the mine until they discovered the plague’s source: a vile orc shaman had poisoned the water leading to the village’s well. He suffered a defeat by Meeko and Graver’s might and they saved the day.

That was the first adventure of Meeko. Afterward, he found his way to the Isle of Dread, an abandoned keep guarded by a three-armed troll, and currently a continent called the Savage Lands. He’s even in my homebrew world! That first adventure hooked me to D&D. I’ve been playing it ever since, and in January 2018, I started RJD20.

That D&D Game’s Spawn

Nowadays, D&D is an integral part of my life. Everything traces back to that first D&D session. Since then, I’ve done a tremendous amount related to the roleplaying game!

I constructed a homebrew world, Eldar, that evolves day after day. This world combines my favorite parts of other settings such as Eberron and Dark Sun, twists those ideas with myriads of my own, and forms a unique realm that has already been changed by dozens of adventures and player characters.

I’ve ran four complete campaigns and am currently running my fifth and sixth. Campaign five, Caught in Galen, is definitely my best yet and has seen so much excitement and energy between me and my players. From the humble beginnings of The Savage Front in which goblins reigned supreme to the climactic conclusion of The Karlith Straits and abrupt and poor ending of Enoach, I’ve seen almost everything D&D has to offer. All the people who play at my table I can call best friends.

I started RJD20 in pursuit of one day becoming a full-time writer or game designer for D&D or another tabletop roleplaying game. This is the 125th article here and the site as a whole has garnered over 487,000 visitors since January 2018. I have huge plans for 2021, including a definitive article every week (released on Tuesdays), the rotation of my many series, and better videos on YouTube.

This year, I released my first supplement for D&D! Currently up on the DMs Guild, Villain Backgrounds Volume I is a bronze best seller and is still climbing. The plan for 2021 is to release 6x the number of supplements I released in 2021, beginning with an adventure for new D&D players. Titled The Wyrmling’s Fate, I’m confident it will do well. Hopefully in a few years time, with enough hard work and creativity, I’ll be able to turn this into a true part-time pursuit.

2020 has been a rough year for many of us. I’m so thankful for everyone who reads my articles here, shares them with friends, family, and random people online, or comments on them in any way. Truly, from the bottom of my heart, thank you.

RJD20 will continue to grow in 2021. One day, perhaps you’ll see Richard Compton credited in a D&D or TTRPG book sold in a friendly local gaming store near you!

One can dream.

Until the next encounter, farewell!

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  1. Meeko's adventure is still continuing 13 years later! Lets hope he doesn't perish in the Savage Lands! Hope to have a good new year of DnD!

    1. That it is. Let's hope he doesn't perish and can move to the next quest with ease.


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