Typing that quote from the old cartoon, it occurs to me that, if you’re a bunch of kids lost in a hostile and alien world, hearing that from a little bald gnome is probably more reassuring than from an enormous bearded guy.

Following up on my previous post about the release of D&D Next/5th Edition, I can now report that I have successfully run my first game of it, which is the first time I’ve sat down with a bunch of other human beings face to face and rolled dice in the name of dungeons and dragons for quite a few years.

Your daring party of adventurers for this epic quest were:

Paul Cornell as a gnome monk, aka tiny fists of fury! A gnome whose low Charisma manifested in his never using three words when thirty would do, most especially when making urgent scouting reports.

My agent, Simon Kavanagh as a chaotic evil wizard, whose dread plans to betray his fellows and take over the world were softened by his endearing tendency to fumble every single key dice roll in the worst possible way.

Simon Gilmartin as a half-elf rogue who was constantly scapegoated by the above evil wizard, and whose attempts to negotiate with goblins resulted in a string of inadvertent and horrifying slurs on their racial character.

Dominic White as the high elf paladin, meaning that he is Better Than You on two counts rather than just one. Also, owing to a low Dexterity and weight of armour, one who ended up leading primarily from the rear.

And it went… actually it went extremely well. Along the way we learned fun new things such as: it’s OK to punch your fellow adventurer in the face if you’re both standing in a holy healing pool; and that you can rout an entire enemy warband by using the Message cantrip to give them an internal monologue about how awesome the gnome is.

It’s been a good while since I drew up a map and a key and a set of monster stats cold, but we actually got it all done by home time. It was a sheer 100% slice of nostalgia for everyone concerned. I should get a chance to run a game for another group, composed of my wife and authors Emma and Peter Newman around New Year, and there will hopefully be a second outing for the above bunch of reprobates early next year too. And… who knows? Since the game got mentioned on Twitter there’s been quite a little stir of interest from other once-were-gamers. There’s been talk of pre-convention get-togethers and lord knows what. It’s not often you reach out to recapture a slice of your youth and it actually turns up pristine and shiny and as much fun as you remember.

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