A Very Dungeons & Dragons Tea Party

 

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How would you handle a surprise ambush by goblins?

If you’re playing Dungeons & Dragons, I suppose surprise ambushes are to be expected, and yes, I do understand that this defeats the “surprise” element. But that doesn’t mean our party of mostly first-time players was prepared on Sunday when the first ambush came.

Marialis, the stoner wizard (as played by my high school friend Michael Wangbelt) tried to eat the goblins, with limited to no success. Aquila Stratis, the dwarf cleric (and Michael’s girlfriend and nature geek, Carmen) took the practical approach of trying to cast spells. Pootytin Tumblebuns, the halfling (my boyfriend, Colin) mostly tried to flee or hide, while utilizing a Cockney accent roughly half the time. Despite never having played before, I was the Dungeon Master, mostly owing to my god complex and love of storytelling. And to round out the character list, we had Cat Cat playing as a human nobleman named Gato the Great and Jack playing as a folk hero human named Jack Strongpaw. Cat Cat mostly sucker punched goblins and Jack advocated the path of good over self-interest, which is the opposite of what he does in his own life. I should also add that we were dressed for high tea because this was a Dungeons & Dragons tea party.

It all started because I was depressed that we wouldn’t throw our annual Adult Easter Egg Hunt—a tradition that ran for several years thanks to my enormous backyard and involved a dozen or so mostly inebriated adults wandering my backyard looking for eggs stuffed with booze and other adult contents. We’re still relatively new to the Seattle area and our backyard is nowhere near large enough for the hundreds of eggs I typically hide. So I figured we’d do the next best thing: We’d throw a Dungeons & Dragons tea party, despite never having played Dungeons & Dragons and despite still not knowing very many people. Michael and Carmen made the drive from San Francisco and that was enough for me.

My visions of elbow-length gloves and ice cubes filled with edible flowers never quite came to pass, but I did manage to make flavored sugar cubes (orange and rum) utilizing a recipe I found online that just required food coloring, sugar, wax paper, and any flavor of extract. And Michael and Carmen went all out, wearing handmade top hats adorned with birds and bringing several tubs of tea and treats. Fortunately, I also have not one, but two gorgeous tea sets that friend, collaborator, and artistic genius Mignon Khargie gave me when she learned I was looking for a fancy tea set after I purchased my house. I’m not certain that she ever envisioned it being utilized for a Dungeons & Dragons tea party, but she knows me pretty well so she likely didn’t rule the possibility out either.

It took us awhile to get going. Michael was the only one who had ever played and I was juggling both the rule book and the adventure book detailing our group’s specific efforts, making progress slow. It also doesn’t help that Dungeons & Dragons is highly technical (compared to my usual CandyLand), and figuring out what to roll, and what proficiency or bonus to add or deduct was, well, let’s just say I don’t think we were actually playing correctly despite our best efforts. That said, the group did manage to evade or dispatch goblins on several occasions, spent a solid hour ridiculously battling wolves, and Marialis attempted to eat every single creature the group encountered, including the hostage goblin and some horses that were supposed to be dead but as the DM I couldn’t justify killing innocent animals so they miraculously survived.

We had five tea pots going at any given time, each with its own type of tea curated by Carmen and Michael; cucumber and cream cheese sandwiches cut into Easter shapes; cream cheese and jam sandwiches, peanut butter chocolate cake; crumpets; miniature cupcakes; cookies; and strawberry muffin tops. In short, I strongly suspect we all need to be tested for diabetes. We played and ate and slurped tea for about seven hours before we wore ourselves out. And honestly, I probably could have continued. It was fun and utterly ridiculous and the tea tasted damn good, especially with the purple rum sugar cubes.

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Still smiling after seven hours of gameplay.

 

It was difficult seeing Carmen and Michael return to California; they brought a taste of home, the companionship and antics that we haven’t quite established in Seattle just yet. Most importantly, I think we began a new Easter tradition, one that will likely evolve just as our adult Easter egg hunts grew and give Michael an opportunity to practice his stoner wizard accent. Next year I pledge to take on ice cubes with edible flowers and find, steal, make, or buy some legitimate petits fours. It’s going to be epic.

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