Hey all. I'm a bit nervous submitting this story, because I'm not that good a narrator, but I'd like to share with you all how I got into D&D, and how it helped me get through the death of my father.
I started playing Dungeons and Dragons 5e BETA back in 2013. My group consisted of my husband (then long time boyfriend), and two of our friends. One friend we'll call 'Dilly' was going to be our DM, while my husband, our other friend, and myself, were characters.
We did have some homebrew classes, and by and large still use a lot of the beta system today. I digress. Our party was made up of a human warlock, a gnome tinkerer, a rakastan (cat-person) bard, and me, a half-elf paladin. This being my very first character, she was, to say the least, a bit… cringy. She was a lawful evil paladin whose appearance and growth were stunted so she perpetually looked as if she were 10 years old, while her twin sister did not have that same issue. Her patron god (one specific to the world) had kept her at that appearance knowing it would burn against her own vanity and fuel the rage she had so much of. And while her strength did take a bit of a hit, she was a charisma paladin, so it wasn't as much of an issue. She was… an angry little gremlin who (if her path hadn't eventually changed) would have ended up most *definitely* a murder hobo.
I myself had (and still have) anger issues that I'm working through, but to top it all off, it was around this time that my father had been diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. I loved my father, and was fairly close with him, despite not seeing him a lot due to work when I was younger. But the times we did spend together were mostly happy memories (though he is where I got my temper from.)
I was in shock and disbelief, and I think Lah'Lah (my character), was the way I handled my anger at the situation. I used D&D and Lah'Lah as a desperate escape from reality, because the thought of losing my father was just… too hard.
I decided that Lah'Lah wasn't enough, and soon enough started making other characters for D&D that I did play, and do still have the sheets of for many of them. I soon made Nah'Nah- Lah'Lah's younger twin sister, a samurai who forged her own blade, and worked as a blacksmith- Melody Clef- a homebrew war-dancer Bard who added a blade to her spindle harp to make her music most deadly, and Charlotte Stonebreaker- a spell breaker dwarf who had caused trouble for more than one magical criminal syndicate. And many, many, MANY more.
I started spending money- lots of money- on dice. After all, rolling the same set for each character felt wrong to me. I like organization- and I kept the dice holders. I even went so far as to lable them. The goblin part of my brain, of course, went 'oh, shiney clicky-clacks! more! must have MORE shiney clicky-clacks~!' And soon I needed designated boxes to hold my dice hoard. At my last count, I had 85 sets of dice. it has only gone up since then.
Slowly, my dice went from being in a cigar box (nice and neatly stored), to being in a cardboard box (less cool, but effective), and eventually a hat box (that I call my 'dice well'). I was buy 2-3 sets of dice each month, until it got to the point where I was only allowed to buy a dice set per month.
Between the escapism of the fantasy world my characters lived in, and the fact that my brain was on 'hoard' mode, it gave me less time for more physically destructive outlets. It continued on like this, my dice stash continuing to grow, and I, ever buried at the bottom of it like some inverse dragon, until my father eventually passed away in 2014.
I fell into the bottom of a dicebag, rather than the bottom of a bottle, and like Alice in Wonderland, fell into a fantastical fantasy world where the themes of my sorrow could be worked through in a different fashion. I'm thankful for D&D and the stories I have from it. Thank you for reading.