Ever since then, he's been badgering me to set up a game for him and his friends. I agreed, but I kept putting him off. We had a busy spring and an even crazier summer. We did get some games in, like the awesome Monsterpocalypse from my friends at Privateer Press, but no D&D-yet.

I promised Marty, though, that we'll start it up a roleplaying game this fall, just as soon as I finish off my latest novel.

I've played dozens of roleplaying games over the years, and we could, of course, pick any of them. Marty started out with the original D&D, though, and so that's what I'm determined to stick with. We're going to tackle Fourth Edition, which came out last summer, and see if it's just as much fun as the original.

I asked around this summer before I hit Gen Con, to see what sorts of things I would need for the campaign. I've had the three core rulebooks since they came out: Player's Handbook, Dungeon Master's Guide, and Monster Manual. (I used them to write an adventure for Game Trade Magazine called "Inn Peril," that you can download for free from their site.) But there's a lot more to the game than that.

The dirty secret of any roleplaying game, of course, is that you don't need anything other than the core rules to be able to play the game. Everything else is extra bits that you can do without. Still, that doesn't mean that you can't add things to the game to make playing it easier and to ramp up the fun once you get started. You could blow thousands of dollars on this if you like, but I tend to be a bit more frugal.

I asked some of my friends who design for D&D, and I came up with a few common suggestions. First and foremost, I ponied up for a subscription to Dungeons & Dragons Insider, Wizards' official online service for the game. It's chock full of great tools, like the character builder and the monster builder, and it even gives you online access to every bit of rules released for the game.

I also picked up a set of polyhedral dice for Marty. Every gamer needs his own. I have some Gaming Paper the company sent me as samples. I probably should grab some miniatures for the game, although I think I have a few dozen around here somewhere that I can use in a pinch. I picked up Adventurer's Vault 2, and I'm looking to grab a copy of the original soon.

To top all this off, though, my friends at Alliance Game Distributors sent me the most amazing DM's screen ever made. It's a hand-painted miniature castle cast in resin, complete with hollow towers that act as dice rollers for the game.

So, I have an adventure, all the equipment I need, and a few players lined up. All I need now is the time to put it all together and start playing. Although I have to, I cannot wait.

As part of High Adventure, I'm going to try to capture this experience for you: a professional game designer bringing his son into the D&D hobby. I'm sure it'll have its failures as well as its successes, but I don't care about any of that, as long as we have some fun along the way.

Matt Forbeck has been writing and designing award-winning games professionally for over 20 years. Visit for details about his current projects.

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