Dungeons & Dragons and the Quest Friends Origin Story

quest friends road trip, quest friends about us

Sam here.  I have a dark secret to share with you all.  When I was in middle school and high school, I was really into vampires.  I was the girl who dressed in all black, read all of the Anne Rice novels and would daydream about Stuart Townsend (don’t judge me) as Lestat.

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Every Halloween, I was without a doubt buying the fake vampire fangs from Hot Topic and proudly grinning as I harvested my candy.

dragons, books, harry potter, fantasy books
Actual photo of Sammy’s childhood bedroom

So when my husband and I were vacationing in Vermont and came across a local game store that had this on display, I knew I had to play it.

I literally have tears in my eyes, he’s so beautiful.

Sully very astutely pointed out that just blindly diving into the world of Dungeons & Dragons without a foundation may be overreaching a bit, so the next day we found ourselves buying the Dungeons & Dragon’s Starter set.

With much hesitancy and a bit of embarrassment, we asked Kristen and Pendell if they would consider playing with us (this was pre-Quest Friends, fyi) and since they are amazing and love us, they said yes out of the kindness of their hearts (regardless of their initial feelings on the matter).

Just so you guys know, we had been gaming together for about a year and a half, but our go to games were primarily Zombicide, Pandemic, and some worker placement type games.

But after playing Dungeons & Dragons, our friendship was never the same.

Kristen here- out of the four of us I was the most hesitant to give D&D a try. I was willing to try it because I love Sammy and Sully, but when I saw the Starter Set box I definitely had a picture of nerds that don’t ever see the light of day and don’t know how to talk to people all holed up in a basement all day.

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I was SO WRONG! After our first session I knew I was hooked. D&D really wasn’t anything like I expected, and I couldn’t believe how much it brought us together. In our second session we played for 9 hours straight without even realizing it. It was like a cooperative board game (my favorite kind) with limitless possibilities!

For those of you out there who are wavering between whether or not to try out Dungeons & Dragons, I want you to take a moment to imagine your favorite novel.  What if you got to be a character in that novel?  What if you could walk through every street or forest that they did, meeting different races, wielding unimaginable power?  Because that is what D&D allows you to do.  And if you think you’re limited to a world of fantasy, you would be wrong.  If you want to spend your time exploring galaxies, you can.  If you want to be mechanic in a steampunk world, you can.  Your only limitation is the extent you allow your imagination to run free.

So try it.

Let me hop off of my soap box, and get back to how the Quest Friends started.  Our starter campaign transformed our casual gaming into a core part of our existence.  Suddenly, we were trying to schedule work around our gaming, rather than gaming around when we were off of work.

The Starter Set is very intricate in that you get a lot of gaming time and a very robust plot for the cost of the set.  We probably got in approximately 40+ hours of game time together.  More importantly though, we definitely became closer as a group.  Nothing forges friendship like alcohol and acting out precisely how you lob off a goblin’s head.

The first session was definitely a slow start – we were all so new and hesitant to act out in front of each other.  We also didn’t really know what you could do as a character yet- we were so used to being constrained to pre-set options during a turn of a board game.  In the first session we were a little hesitant and we definitely relied a lot on our (brand new) DM to lead us in the “right” direction.  The whole concept of role playing was a little baffling to us.  What do you mean we can just set fire to the forest, or decide to feed some dead enemies to a convenient barn full of pigs to get rid of the evidence?  The options were overwhelming!  We truly couldn’t believe that you could try (if not succeed) with anything in the game.

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Side note: Props to our first DM, Sully, for taking on this crazy undertaking of DMing as a complete D&D newbie for a completely new group of players!

By the second session we really hit our stride and started to embrace the independence this gaming experience gives to the players. Our rogue Callie developed an affinity for cans of oil combined with flaming arrows that proved most useful during our campaign. Somehow the wizard Elrond seduced the local healing witch with a natural 20 roll and came back into town later to discover he had a child on the way! He also primarily used his mage hand to high five people rather than perform useful actions. Riswynn, our dwarven cleric, kept the party from dying completely and was quite the magic worker by the end of the campaign.

D&D starter set, dungeons and dragons, rogue halfling

We got a huge pad of graph paper and Sully started drawing intricate maps to go along with our sessions. We also picked up some generic D&D figurines to go along with the maps- which was just the start to our D&D accessories collection!

dungeons and dragons, D&D map, dungeons and dragons starter set, Phandalin

To say we were hooked would be an understatement.  We greedily bought every D&D book we could get our grubby hands on, creating new enemies and characters and worlds to explore.  We knew we wanted to do this regularly and share our resources with the gaming community. That’s what really led us to create the Quest Friends- we wanted to share all of the ways that we have enhanced our D&D campaigns and our other gaming days.

All of this is a really long way of saying that Dungeons & Dragons has changed our lives- and we hope it can change yours too! It made us closer as friends, and added a new element of creativity and imagination to our game play. Honestly, going back to some of our board games after playing D&D was a little bit of a let-down because they seemed so constrained in comparison. But now we’ve found a good balance of D&D and board games, although we always are wanting to quest more often than we can find time for!

So if you’re already an RPGer, enjoy your next session and appreciate the awesome times this gaming format brings to us! And if you aren’t yet, please give it a try- it’s worth it, we promise.

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