Trying To Understand: Dungeons and Dragons

The game of Dungeons and Dragons. A simple mystical role-playing game where whatever you decide upon doing with your own imagination and whatever the dice lands upon, dictates what happens in an interactive story. A game loved by many and starting to make a mainstream success with famous celebrities such as Vince Vaughn, Felicia Day, The Big Show and, according to google, Judy Dench, being avid players. It’s safe to say Dungeons and Dragons and has grown more popular amongst the non-nerdy masses.

Despite its newly found success amongst the non-nerdy masses, a lot of people still don’t understand D&D and believe it to be one of the nerdiest things going, sitting on par as with being able to speak Klingon which is yeah, real nerdy. Still firmly loved by the nerds, the game has started to shed its skin of the stereotype of it being for Satan loving fat virgin nerds who live in their parents basement and have consumed so much Mountain Dew that if you cut them open that’s what they will bleed. Now more than ever there are more serious and casual players who enter the realms of a mythical storyline, or ones about being Christmas elves saving Santa from the Grinch, armed with their weapons, dice, imagination and desire to make other characters smoke a bunch of weed, embarking on their campaigns.

The question is though, what is the appeal of Dungeons and Dragons? How does one overweight human who showers in the dark understand Dungeons and Dragons?

Well, by playing it and fully submerging themselves in a game.

To start off playing you need a group of people and a ‘Dungeon Master’, which sounds like some really scary dominatrix esque person, but those things are a given in terms of setting up a game. The first things rookie players need to do is to create a character, a thing that’s really fun and your first taste of the imaginative side of the game, but fuck it’s overwhelming.

Creating a character isn’t as simple as saying ‘hey my character is Bruce, he has 2 kids, loves a pint in the pub and has a fetish for broccoli in bikinis, there’s a lot more to it. A very intimidating amount more to it. You have to select a race; such as Human, Halfling, Elf etc and each race has certain characteristics that impact abilities. Then you have to choose a class which can be a Rogue, a Wizard, a Barbarian etc which then impacts things you can choose and what you specialise in during the game. To put it short there is a lot in the character building and can be very overwhelming especially when it’s your first time having 50,000 pieces of information thrown at you by the players handbook (which you can find online). It may be stressful but creating a character is still rather fun as, yes your choices and factors influence the character but it’s the imagination and creativity that goes into the smaller things such as choosing your character’s religion to worship your friends’ nipples.

After character creation there isn’t really much prep you have to do in order to play, maybe just sink a couple of cans of cider and get those creative juices flowing for the game. When playing the Dungeon Master is well the master of the game and the one who conveys the story to the players, whatever they say goes really. They’ll choose what attribute you are rolling on or how much damage you have lost or inflicted in combat (all of the attributes and what you’re good and not so good on rolling on is worked out in character creation). When asked to make an action in the story you will be asked to roll on an attribute on your character sheet and whatever you role plus or minus what your attribute bonus is determined if it’s a success or as much of a failure of a child is to a dad who wanted them to play football whilst they wanted to eat worms. Roll a 20 on the 20 sided dice before your pluses or minuses and hiya pal bust out the party hats as that’s a critical success, roll a 1 however, and burn those party hats as you’ve done a big boo-boo and rolled a critical fail. And that’s all that there really is to the game, There isn’t really any technical rules, the factors of the game really depend on the story and the Dungeon Master, upon what your roll and where your imagination takes you to.

In all honesty, there’s not much to the game, it’s pretty simple really. All you need to do is grab someone who can Dungeon Master, some pals and create a character for a story, which is the hardest part as friends are tough to buy but check amazon they usually have some there. From the outset it may be very nerdy but it’s very entertaining and all you need to do is have an image even if it’s not that exotic, just let loose, be creative and generally have fun. Give the game a go and go slay some beasts whilst one of your team members is playing the bagpipes in the corner and the other one is making a pyramid out of broomsticks whilst you’re trying to slay a fucking dragon and win the game.

Swankie – 24, Scotland. Loveable Loser.

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