Growing up, I heard from many adults about the dangers of Dungeons & Dragons. I heard it wasn't something "nice kids" should ever do. Although my parents were pretty laid-back, they had heard these rumors, too. And so, they decided it might be best for us to steer clear of this popular role-playing game that was thought be along the same lines of danger that a Ouija Board presented.

I always found this ironic, considering the video games we were allowed to play when we were kids--my sister and I. After all, there was more talk of "magic" in The Legend of Zelda than in any games involving throwing dice. Not to mention the fact that often my dad played them with equal if not more enthusiasm alongside us. My mom often curled up and happily watched.

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Fast forward to present-day, and I'm no longer persuaded that there is any need to be concerned about potential demonic possessions should I dare to place my finger tips on a game piece as it vibrates from letter to letter. I also finally felt free to delve into the realm of Dungeons & Dragons, too...should I have interest or desire.

My video gaming continued into my adulthood, so I never really felt compelled nor had the opportunity to find a D&D party to join so I never did. Until...

My niece and her hubby have become the family D&D gurus, if you will. I'm stunned at the sheer amount of character knowledge and game strategy they possess. (No pun intended.) So when my niece's husband Derek announced a new campaign over which he'd serve as the Dungeon Master, I was pretty excited to give it a go.

To make a potentially long story short, let's just say he is GREAT at it. Wow. What an incredible story-teller he is--both he and my niece, Rachel have created and facilitate a world that has been truly fun to explore. That world is worthy of another post entirely.

I was assigned the character of thief, or rogue. This is a character that tends to use archery and daggers as their main weapons of choice. They also possess stealth and tend to be quite nimble, and as you might imagine--sneaky. (If only I were this cool in real life, but alas...) It's been such fun to play.

Granted, they've since had to replace me as I've not been able to make it as regularly as I should. But it was such a fun experience. Other family members play roles of cleric, warrior, and another type of magical being whose official title escapes me at the moment.

My character was named Jhessail. Isn't that great? On top of all of this, my niece "RaethHollow" is a talented graphic/digital artist and she created renderings of each of the members of our party. (See photo above.)

I hope to get back to the game someday. If you've never played, it's almost like...well, like playing a video game, but with real human beings. The maps, boards, and deliciously beautiful die are such fun to play with. Learning about the characters, strategies, forming alliances, and fighting enemies has not only been fun, but educational. I can't help but think this is a game that would be good for maintaining our cognitive skills.

I recommend. Oh, and no--I've not become possessed or anything. But, Halloween is only two weeks away so if anything changes I'll let you know. ;)