In the five-plus years I've been writing for this blog, I've had the fortune of meeting and befriending wonderful people. That we share a love of craft beer is no surprise. The environments in which I've met these people--restaurants, bars, brewpubs, homebrew groups, beer enthusiast groups, beer festivals--made this shared love a given.
But I also discovered that some of my fellow craft beer enthusiasts share a love with me that I didn't expect at all: Dungeons & Dragons.
While this sort of geekery may make some snicker, I think that the craft beer and fantasy role-playing game worlds intersect naturally. Both pursuits are outside the mainstream, beloved by a select group of "off-center" people. What's more, the enjoyment of craft beer offers a respite from the troubles of everyday life. It gives you the opportunity to forget your cares and worries for a while and just revel in the company of good friends. Playing fantasy role-playing games provides the exact same thing.
I was an avid D&D player in high school and college but stopped playing when the responsibilities of adult life set in. Like others I knew, I was a bit ashamed of this nerdy pastime and figured that it was something that grown-ups simply didn't do. But then last spring, some of my craft beer friends were chatting on Twitter about getting together to play D&D. Nearly 20 years had passed since my last D&D session, and I felt a tug back toward the game. I had great memories of the late night gaming sessions, with all of us players laughing, hopped up on RC Cola and wading through massive bags of Cheetos and Ruffles.
What I remembered most was the camaraderie that my fellow gamers and I had. I knew that I was ready to jump back in to the game. So I let my craft beer chums know that I wanted in.
Since then, we've met one Saturday a month to immerse ourselves for six hours or so in the world of the Nentir Vale. Our gracious Dungeon Master opens his home to us. We bring our Player's Handbooks and our dice.
We bring choice snacks, mostly of the carb-laden kind, to graze on through our adventures. And of course, we bring beer to share. Sometimes, the beer particularly fits the occasion.
We are an eclectic group of adventurers. We are a paladin, a fighter, a cleric, a druid, and a ranger. We are a dragonborn, a dwarf, a deva, an elf, and a human. We are a veritable United Nations of the Nentir Vale.
We roam the Barony of Harkenwold, seeking help from its citizens to free the Barony from the tyranny of the Iron Circle. We've fought many skirmishes. We've lost comrades and gained allies. In our last adventure, we recovered some historical scrolls stolen from the Woodsinger Elves of the Harken Forest, winning the Elves to our side as we move toward a final confrontation with the Iron Circle.
And we drink fine ale, raising our tankards to those who would join us in the quest for freedom.