Three weeks ago at Rincon ’09, I had the opportunity to play in Wil Wheaton’s Dwarven Dungeon Delve of Doom benefiting Child’s Play, a charity that provides games, toys, and other items for sick kid’s in children’s hospitals around the world. I had a great time and wanted to share the experience.  I hoped to get this post out earlier, but real life often gets in the way.

First, an overview: Wil Wheaton came up with this idea to run dungeon delves (short dungeon crawls that last around 2 to 3 hours) for charity.  He ran the first two delves at Rincon ’09, one on Friday and Sunday.  Five people participated in each delve.  It was a $50 donation to play.  Players had to show up at the registration desk when the con opened to sign up for the Delve.

Dungeon Master Wil Wheaton

Dungeon Master Wil Wheaton

When I first read Wil’s announcement on his blog, I thought, “I’d love to do this.”  My first hurdle was what my friends and I call the WAF (Wife Acceptance Factor).  Now, up until this point, my wife has been accepting of this new Dungeons & Dragons hobby of mine.  Actually, besides some good-natured ribbing, she has been very supportive.  But, I was worried I was pushing the limit because I was already planning on spending much of the weekend at the con while she was at home, pregnant and watching our 18 month old daughter.  So, I didn’t know what to expect when I told her I wanted to spend $50 to play Dungeons & Dragons with the guy who played Wesley Crusher on Star Trek.  When I told her what I wanted to do, her response: “Oh my gosh!  I used to have the biggest crush on him!”  She didn’t have a problem with it.

My second hurdle was to actually get into the delve.  I knew I had to get there early to get a slot.  To complicate things, I had a 11 am dentist appointment to finish up a root canal.    The procedure ended earlier than I thought and after a quick (but, carefully eaten) lunch, I got to the con a little after 1pm to try to secure a spot.  I was the ninth person in line and got into the Sunday delve.  It’s funny because if not for that root canal I probably wouldn’t have gotten there early enough to get into the delve.  I’m chalking it up to some cosmic karmic balance thing.

On to the delve.  I get to the table a little early.  A couple of players are already there and Wil is setting things up.  First, I had to pick my character from the pregenerated characters.  Every character was a Dwarf.  This the first of several good tips  for running a delve that I picked up from this experience.  Since this was a dungeon delve at a convention, the time constraint, combat heavy orientation, and players unfamiliar with each other can make role play difficult.  Since every character is a dwarf, it opened up some easy RP opportunities.  I chose a warlock because that was the class I was most familiar with of the ones remaining and named him Darbin Darkboot.

I also perused our generous gift bag.  From Wizards of the Coast we received the Player’s Handbook 2 and Monster Manual 2 (neither of which I had) as well as the mini we used.  From Gamestation dot Net, we received a set of dice, the D6 was engraved with “W2D2 Rincon ’09″ to commemorate the event.  Wil had also gotten a set of crayons for each of us because the numbers on the dice weren’t colored in.  From what I’m told, in the old days, you old-timers had to color in your own dice with crayons.  I’m also told you tied onions to your belts, as it was style of time.  I was already excited to just be in the delve and contribute to a great charity.  The nice gifts were more than I expected.

Then, we dove into the game.  We were all members of the Swackhammer clan.  We found ourselves at the Adventure Hook inn.  The problem: We had drank our way through all the ale.  So, we needed to raid a dungeon in order to free up the supply.  (Or something like that. My memory fails me a little on this point.)  This was the second good tip I picked up for a delve.  Using a simple and fun adventure hook like dwarves questing to get more beer opens up RP possibilities.  There were several funny jokes and character moments that came out of it.

The first encounter was a tense, close quarters battle with some skeletons and ghouls.  I had some trouble getting away from monsters to fire off eldritch blasts.  The second encounter involved some  zombies who dispensed cold damage which prompted one of the players to comment, “If we kill these zombies and take them back to the pub we could have cold ale all the time!” +2 to his next attack.  The third encounter was the finale.   It took place in a large room with brazier traps.  The Big Bad was an evil necromancer brought to life by Wil’s  appropriately evil cackling whenever the necromancer spoke.   There were even a few references to Jim Darkmagic in there.   The necromancer was protected by a huge zombie hulk.  My warlock dealt a devastating blow with a fire damage daily power.  You see the effects of that blast here:

Wil describes a devastating blow against the zombie hulk.

In the end, the Swackhammer clan defeated the necromancer and got back to what dwarves do best: drinking.

All in all, it was a great time and Wil really hit on a great idea with this charity delve thing. I am sure he will continue to do at future cons if possible.  Mr. Wheaton is every bit the cool, gracious, and funny geek that he comes across as in his blog and podcasts.  He’s a helluva DM as well.

This really was the perfect end to my first ever gaming convention.

Here are the stats for the magical item Wil Wheaton was wearing:
Keyboard Cat Moon Shirt

14 Responses to “I survived Wil Wheaton’s Dungeon Delve of Doom”

  1. countingku says:

    I was so jealous of you RinCon folks that had the chance to play with Wil. Sounds like you had a great time, thanks for sharing with everyone.

  2. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Wil Wheaton, Serge Bouteneff. Serge Bouteneff said: Read about the c*ck punch of furious anger // RT @wilw Here's a neat blog post from a guy who played in my Dwarven (…): [...]

  3. Jaime says:

    This is great! I’ve been wondering how good he is as DM, and I’m wicked jealous that you got to play. I would have donated my arm to charity to play D&D with Wil Wheaton.

    I’m just sayin’.

  4. takua108 says:

    Adventure Hook Inn = greatest thing ever

  5. Jaron says:

    So awesome! I’m jealous too!

  6. Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by wilw: Here’s a neat blog post from a guy who played in my Dwarven Dungeon Delve of Doom at RinCon:

  7. Refflection says:

    thanks for sharing, really nice to get a detailed tidbit for those of us who can’t make it to these things :)

  8. I think you just gained a zillion D&D Geek XP! Glorious sir, Glorious. To think Im only one D&D table away from having played with WilW himself. Extra Mt. Dew and Doritos for you! Gedleesmote approves of this blog!

  9. Great recap. Sounded like much fun was had in this Wil Wheaton Delve! I’ll have to try to make RinCon next year! See you in Caladan, sir!

  10. [...] comments that I played in on of his Dungeon Delves.  I wrote about the experience in a blog post: I survived Wil Wheaton’s Dungeon Delve of Doom which I also mentioned in the comment.  He then proceeds to update his blog post with my comment. [...]

  11. Hey!

    I played in Wil’s delve this weekend at ECCC! Thanks for your post–you totally gave me the idea to try to get into it! If you want to read MY multipart blog posts of awesomeness, go to my blog at

  12. That’s awesome. I’m excited I played a small part. Wil’s delve is such a fun event.

  13. David says:

    I am so jealous. If I ever get the chance I know I’ll have no trouble getting my wife’s approval to play. Hell, there’s a fair chance she’ll come along!

  14. [...] is a video of Corey playing Dungeons & Dragons with Wil Wheaton, thereby cementing his status as Uber Nerd for Life. Allison hates him for this, [...]

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