Life-Sized D&D at New York Comic-Con: ComicsAlliance vs. The Cardboard Dragon [Video]
Considering how much I love comic books and video games, it probably doesn't surprise anyone that I also finish out the Geek Trifecta with an absolute, undying love of Dungeons and Dragons. So much love, in fact, that as soon as I went by the massive Wizards of the Coast booth at the New York Comic-Con and saw that they were running D&D demos on a life-sized grid, complete with basketball-sized 20-sided dice and a Dungeon Master menacing players with a four-foot tall cardboard dragon, I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I'd be in there mixing it up before the weekend was over.
And not only did I do just that, but thanks to cameraman and ComicsAlliance contributor Chris Murphy, we got the whole thing on video! So before you jump into John Rogers and Andrea Di Vito's Dungeons & Dragons comic (out today from IDW), check out our thrilling journey into a world of magic after the jump!Check out the video below:
(Music: "Lightning Bolt" by Attractive Eighties Women - Download It Here!)
I've never gone out to the woods to swing around a wooden sword in costume or hit up the True Dungeon setups at GenCon, but I am a 28 year-old who gets really excited about MagiQuest -- essentially the post-Harry Potter version of Lazer Tag in which you go on a scavenger hunt in a room-sized "kingdom" with an RF-emitting "wand" -- so it pretty much goes without saying that I was really excited about the prospect of life-sized D&D.
I'd been planning to go through the demo since early on Friday, and like all good RPG adventures, my plan started with putting a group together, and as you can see from the video, I had a pretty stalwart gang of adventurers accompanying me: Benjamin Birdie, Jen Vaughn, and our own David Wolkin. My original plan was to also include my pal Eugene Ahn (alias Adam Warrock), but thanks to the lack of cell phone coverage in the convention center, we went in a man down.
Once we were in, though, it was time to choose our characters from a pretty wide selection WOTC had on offer -- I remember there being at least six on offer, but there may have been more. Jen, who is extremely sneaky in real life, took the Halfling Rogue, Birdie unlocked the power of his mind with a Human Psion, and Wolkin fulfilled our mandatory elf requirement by choosing an Eladrin Wizard. As for me, I went with the Monk, because in D&D Monks are the characters who can do magic kung fu. No further explanation should be necessary.
You can barely see them in the video, but the Character Sheets themselves were a really nice touch. Laminated with heavy plastic that the dungeon masters could write on with dry-erase markers to keep track of hit points and spells, they were meant to be clipped onto the lanyard that held your badge for the con.
Of course I kept it. Durth is totally going to be showing up in my campaign. Bank on it.
Once we were all set up, it was time to actually go on the adventure, and I've got to hand it to the folks running the booth for putting on a fun time. We were there pretty late on the last day of the con, but our DM -- who told us after that he was a fan who volunteered for the job, rather than a designer or a WOTC employee -- was as excited and fun to talk to as he would've been if we were the first group he took in. Of course, I don't imagine it hurt matters that we were pretty excited, as even our complete failure to get the crowd to chant for Wolkin's "Fire Staff" couldn't dampen my enthusiasm for rolling those huge d20s across the floor.
I just wish the video had captured the totally sweet spinning back-fist move I threw at the dragon during my attack. You'll just have to take my word for how awesome it was.
Once we'd experienced the thrill of combat and conquered our foes through the use of teamwork, it was time for the most important element of D&D: Treasure! Thanks to Jen's roll of a Natural 20, she was given the choice to reach into a mysterious treasure chest and pull out "gold pieces" that could be traded in for prizes at the Con's gaming section, or to give up her shot so that the rest of us could get some gold. She opted for the latter and her philanthropy was rewarded; she got her pick after all.
We ended up with a pretty good haul: Wolkin somehow wound up with two of the extremely valuable "rubies," which he was able to trade in for both a James Wyatt novel and an official D&D t-shirt that, being too big for him, was given to me.
And that, my friends, is the story of how Team ComicsAlliance battled the evil dragon Winterfang and rescued Dan the Peasant.
Truly, we are the heroes legends are made of.