“You see an iron door at the end of the corridor. The door has three lightning bolts engraved on it.”

When I played D&D as a kid, I always wanted to be a magic user, not because it was easy, but because it was hard*. I died a lot in those days of d4 hit points and three worthless levels of cantrip spells before you got to do anything, but when a wizard survived and got powerful enough to melt goblins with fireballs … boy, was that awesome.

I don’t play as much as I used to, and I haven’t even run a game of my own or played in a regular campaign in a couple of years, but with the recent release of classic D&D modules as PDFs, I feel the itch to run Basic rules… you know, for kids.

GS-Tabletop-LogoIf I was going to play, though? I think I’d have to be a barbarian or fighter now, because I have fallen in love with the d12. It’s such a beautiful die, and it just doesn’t get any love at all (that’s why I chose it for Tabletop). I know it’s kind of weird to choose a class based on what kind of dice you’ll be rolling, but it’s where I find myself at the moment … and I’m really okay with that.
…Hmmmm I was going to write all about what it means to switch my preferred class from magic user to fighter based on the die I’d be rolling …. but now I can’t stop thinking that a Geek & Sundry show where I run a classic D&D campaign using Basic rules — maybe a modified module or series of modules or something like that — for six or eight episodes would be pretty awesome. Like, maybe a visit to the Lost City?

The walls of this room as plain stone. An oblong box made from stone slabs lies in the center of the room. Written in several languages on the side of the box are the words: "May the curse of darkness destroy all who dare desecrate my resting place." The box is 3' high, 7' long, and 3' wide. - From The Lost City (Dungeon Module B4)
The walls of this room as plain stone. An oblong box made from stone slabs lies in the center of the room. Written in several languages on the side of the box are the words: “May the curse of darkness destroy all who dare desecrate my resting place.” The box is 3′ high, 7′ long, and 3′ wide. – From The Lost City (Dungeon Module B4) Yes, this is actually mine and I actually scanned it. It was printed in 1980.

I mean, I’ll stay focused on making season two of Tabletop happen, but once we get that locked down, I bet an RPG show would be really, really great. (At least for me, because I’d have an excuse to play it: “Sorry, Anne, but I have to read this module and these rules and prepare these characters … because it’s my job and I have to do it so we can eat.“)

*I’ve written about this before, but I can’t find that post or story or column despite 20 minutes of searching. If it rings a bell for you, please let me know so I can link it.

93 thoughts on ““You see an iron door at the end of the corridor. The door has three lightning bolts engraved on it.””

  1. The d12 is sweet. I always kind of dug the d10, that one was the most “jewel-like” to me. It had to be clear, though, and have hard edges (none of that soft-edged stuff for this gangsta gamer).

  2. I’m strangely drawn to the notion of watching D&D games play out in real time. I’ve seen some of Wil’s live games and (I believe?) Penny Arcade’s live campaign that IIRC, was called “Acquisitions Incorporated.”

    Anyway, it’s fun to vicariously play D&D since all of my gaming buddies have long moved away.

    Now I has a sad.

  3. Its funny that you bring that idea up – the idea and forma is something I’ve been toying around with for a while and think it could make a good show. Effectively, have 3 to 4 people who are new to D&D along with a DM who knows a lot about the game, and maybe one player who knows a fair bit as well. You could then cast each game showing how each player is progressing.

    Obviously in your scenario you might choose to do this on a table with various camera angle, but with my friends being remote (and the likelihood of finding someone who knows their stuff near me is unlikely) I would have a google-hangout type situation, using (at least initially) google docs to store character sheet information, and could even use their excel documents to draw out rooms and place players – unless you could have something a bit more ‘clever’ and visual, of which I’m sure is out there. Then when players move, you can focus on their character sheet in the hangout window, their skills, and show their rolls etc.

    While an okay idea, obviously my flaw would be that I am a nobody, haha – however I think if you were to do that type of show a *lot* of people would watch the heck outta it, me included. Of which I’m hoping you do – I’m only just getting into D&D myself, listening to the Penny Arcade podcasts and just started the season you join.

  4. Oh yeah, that’d be awesome! I’ve never played D&D myself because I didn’t know any people interested in playing it and because it always seemed to be quite difficult to understand. But I’d certainly be interested in seeing a couple of episodes, perhaps with some sort of animation integrated into it! I can already imagine a cartoonified Wil Wheaton in a mage robe, or a second Tallis because we all know Felicia’d want to play a red-haired elf thief-like persona :p
    Basically, if you think it’s a good idea, then I’m sure it’ll have a lot of views and possibly convert people into playing games such as D&D.

  5. I would so watch that. Have always enjoyed when you do the live D&D at PAX each year and always thought it was way short and would make a good series. I hope Table Top gets picked up for a second season (any diea when you will know?) I also hope this dream of a show of D&D sees fruition.

  6. I was introduced to D&D by E.T. (yes I’m that old). Palace of the Silver Princess was the first module I ever DM’d. I still think it’s one of the best ever written. So if you’re taking suggestions for basic modules …

  7. I loved the Penny Arcade DnD podcasts and the PAX DnD games.
    Any chance of more of those would be a big cheer from me.
    Huge fan of tabletop too, Mr. Wheaton I salute you.

  8. Sweet Monkey Jesus and his Ninja followers, Please do this!.

    *^_^* Please?!

  9. I *LOVED* The Lost City! One of the greatest classic modules of all time. If you did this, I would totally watch to see if Zargon got what’s coming to him. And so that Anne could eat.

  10. I think the tricky thing would be to edit it in a way so it’s a coherent story without any unnecessary OOC interruptions. Then again, you’ve already done a few live RPG webcasts/videos so that shouldn’t be too tricky.
    However, to draw in new people, you might have to explain some rules and mechanics like you do on Tabletop (things like what the various classes can/can’t do, what happens during combat mechanically etc.) and finding the balance between telling a story while making clear to newcomers what’s happening and why will be the challenge.
    Good luck, I would definitely watch it. I’m already looking forward to the Dragon Age RPG episodes of TT.

  11. I prefer the magic users though I’ve had other classes. My favorite was a Warlock named “Irving the Great” who had a familiar weasel named Warren. Haven’t played the game in ages… I kinda miss it. 😐

  12. I played a fighter with a two handed axe. The D12 may get a lot of shit from others, but when you get to use it, it’s the BEST THING EVER.

  13. Wil, not only would I watch this, I’d fly to LA and stay in a hotel for the duration of the campaign just to have a chance to play in it. Sure, TableTop usually has celebrities on its episodes; would you be willing to make an exception?

      1. Yes Yes Yes! Have an auction–no, a lottery like Worldbuilders–and all funds raised go to the animal rescue program Wil supports!!!

  14. NO Dr Hannah would be aimlessly wandering around another corridor in the dungeon, remembering his life before bits of his skin started to moult off.

    Out of interest/concern, how many episodes of Tabletop DO we have left for season 1, as the christmas break was hard enough to go without my fix

  15. There’s a fun podcast called Critical Hit (done by majorspoilers.com) that is exactly that – full on RP D&D sessions. They occasionally also go into some specifics of setting up a game, setting up a story, character setups and the like. It is absolutely a blast to listen to that, and I bet a video of one being played out would be very fun and amazing! Please do it :-)

  16. I tend to shy away from watching or listening to D&D games because they tend to be really badly done.

    But I would LOVE to see a professional actor as a dungeon master. I’m thinking that I’d learn more than a few things about the art of good DMing. I would absolutely love to watch this.

    (And hey, I live very near your neighborhood. Just sayin’. If you want to get a game going, I’m around. )

  17. I would SO watch the hell out of those episodes! With one caveat though…you’d have to put a sign on one of the doors labelled “DANGER!”, just so people would know where to go.

  18. “…because it was easy, but because it was hard.” That’s a quote / paraphrase from JFK’s speech informing the world that America was going to land on the moon.

  19. ^ ^ ^
    I would watch the hell out of this as well. I have been into RPGing for over 20 years, I just started RE-listening to the Penny Arcade Podcasts again (for the umpteenth time).. Thank you, by the way. You and the PA guys and that podcast actually got me to crack open my 4e stuff and start playing/running games. Now, I do a Bi-weekly Darksun game on the Online Game table (That GTO took over when wotc abandoned it), but I would so make time for RPG/Tabletop.. DO EEET!

  20. Wait a sec…this is exactly what I was talking about on you TableTop post! Yay! Dude, make it happen. I’ll give you money…I swear. I think you could even try to kickstart it. :)

  21. I’ve gamed for a long time and aside from Monopoly, Scrabble, and Battleship, my wife mostly sneered at this use of time. Since TableTop she (and I) have fallen in love with Zombie Dice, Say Anything, Forbidden Island, and are now trying our hand at Catan. I walked into our bedroom the other night and she blindsided me with the question, “How many people do you need to play Dungeons and Dragons? We should play.” I feel that I have to throw some thanks your way for this happening. Wesley should captain the next Enterprise.

  22. Acquisitions Inc. was the highlight of PAX for me, this year, by far (and I saw the Protomen show, so that’s saying something). You’ve certainly got the gaming chops to pull it off.

    Epic win? Get Nathan Fillian on board, and maybe Vin Diesel.

  23. You posted this (with minor differences) on Google+ yesterday – depending on what weird timezone you’re currently in.

    It was kinda strange reading this again, but finding minor differences all the time. If it wasn’t for that note at the bottom, I might think that my memory was going bonkers.

    And yes please do make a D&D (or similar) show! Acquisitions Inc. is not enough.

  24. I always wanted to be a dwarf. I feel an affinity for them as they do all the hard work of extracting minerals from the ground while the elves & fairies get all the credit. I think a lot of the bad press dwarfs get is evil elves & fairies demeaning them because they know who does the real work. Of course to those classes dwarfs are ‘greedy’, they expect to be compensated for their labor and suspicious, who wouldn’t be after getting ripped off by elves for generations?

    But everyone else wanted to be elves or hobbits & they are much too good to quest with a dwarf! the rules of D&D even reinforce this anti-dwarf hysteria. But after your company made it through the twisty maze where they had to give up their pole weapons and when they are stuck in a confined space where arrows are no use, suddenly the little dwarf with his ++ war hammer is expected to go out front & take heavy damage until the delicate little dears can join in to finish off the foe with their spiffy little toad stickers.

  25. Man, six to eight episodes of Lost City would be great! It was one of the first modules I played with my brother and father in the early 80’s and I also still have that old copy. In fact, I still have all of my Basic and 1st Edition AD&D stuff. The first time we played it we got stuck for hours trying to figure out the rotating corridor…

  26. I think that is such a phenomenal idea!! We have turned so many of our non gaming friends into gaming every week friends with boardgames galore….we always watch an epi of tabletop before we play every week. I think this would be a great way to get them involved in that final step in serious tabletop gaming!!

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