Well met traveler.
My name is Don Farland and I’m the keeper of this fine establishment and a lover of fantasy and the tabletop role-playing game, Dungeons & Dragons. My love of all things fantasy began with the story of a hobbit named Bilbo. It was a common gateway to the magical world of fantasy for my generation and ultimately paved the way to a new passion, Dungeons & Dragons.
I don’t remember who bought me the red box, basic edition set back in 1984, but I owe them. At first, it frustrated me to no end. The game was fascinating, but not being able to find anyone to play with was incredibly frustrating. I played a few times with kids in the neighborhood, but none of them were as enamored with it as I was. Eventually, I found kindred spirits at school. We started a Dungeons & Dragons club. There was finally a worthwhile reason to spend more time at school.
In high school, I drifted away from TTRPGs and to CRPGs. I spent a lot of time with Pools of Radiance, Curse of the Azure Bonds, and Might & Magic, but the Ultima series will forever be my favorite. In my Junior and Senior years, I fell into a new group of friends and discovered a whole host of board and tabletop games. Our main pastime was strategy board games like Hunt for Red October, Red Storm Rising, Axis & Allies, Supremacy, and good ole Risk / Castle Risk, but we also played a lot of Battletech, Star Trek, and Star Wars sci-fi tactical games. We played some tabletop RPGs, but not often.
Then I entered the dark ages. A cold, soul-less period where tabletop and board gaming became a disturbingly uncommon occurrence. But … I’m just going to hit the fast-forward button.
…. dum dee dum …
Back from the Abyss
Ah, here we go. 2017. My 14-year-old daughter finally learns the True Resurrection spell and casts it on my soul. The somatic component being, “Hey Dad, did you ever play Dungeons & Dragons as a kid?”
It was like a defibrillator to the heart of my inner geek. We talked about D&D for a couple of hours and I agreed to run a game. I hadn’t kept up with the game and knew I needed to brush up. With a long commute to work, every day, I first went looking for a podcast to listen to. It was then that I discovered Critical Role.
Listening to Matt & the cast of Vox Machina brought me right back. I knew right then that was the kind of game I was going to run for my kids. I picked up a 5th edition Player’s Handbook and we rolled up some characters. After a couple of months, they came to me about adding some friends. They’d been talking about our game at school and interest was growing.
I was hesitant at first. I wasn’t sure about running a game for a bunch of teenagers with full schedules but ultimately agreed. We ran through the Lost Mine of Phandelver, in Exandria, and it was a major success.
I don’t get to play nearly as often as I’d like, but it is OK. I love being a DM. Creating maps, writing adventures, and world-building. I love it all. I’m always working on something I might use in our campaign and love sharing those creations with all of you. I certainly hope you enjoy using them in your games as much as I enjoyed making them.