Recently I’ve been talking to a lot of people about Dungeons and Dragons. Surprisingly enough, most of these conversations starts with one question: what is d&d? It has surprised me to learn of how many people don’t know what d&d is. Sure they might have heard of it, but not a lot of the general population knows how the game is played; or worse, they think it’s something entirely different.
There are a lot of people out there who think that d&d is just a game for nerds. When they envision the game, they see a group of geeks gathered around a table in a basement while talking about Tolkien. That stigma alone drives away a lot of potential players. Let me dispel that rumor for you right now: dungeons & dragons is for EVERYONE. Throughout my years of playing I have encountered players from all walks of life. No matter they’re background or taste in other aspects of life we have all agreed on our love of d&d. Turns out a game that allows you to be whoever you want and do virtually anything appeals to a wide audience, who would’ve known?
The problem I’ve been having lately is how to explain d&d to someone who has never played before. And I mean properly explain. I can just tell someone “you create a character, then you roleplay as them through a fantasy setting”, but that doesn’t truly convey what d&d is and what it can be. But if I go to the other extreme and spell out everything that makes d&d unique and great, then I find myself taking up a great amount of time. Time that could be used setting up a character for a newly recruited player!
So where do we find that happy medium? How do we properly showcase what d&d has to offer while still getting right to the point? To do this, I had to start by defining what d&d is to me. Dungeons & Dragons is a game that allows you to be whoever you want to be. You can choose to be the hero of your own story. You then take this adventurer and roleplay them alongside some friends to create a story together. This is done with the dungeon master setting the rules of the game and the dice enforcing the outcomes of everyone’s actions. Together you will create a story that holds many memories and progression. Progression not only of your character, but yourself as well.
So now that I’ve taken my view of d&d and squished it down to bullet points, I can take that and form it into one concise message to share to hopeful players. A message that hopefully you can use, whether you’re a new player looking to get into the hobby, or a dm who’s trying to gather that last party member for their game. That message reads as follows.
Dungeons and Dragons is a roleplaying game that is a collaborative storytelling experience. In the game, players create their own hero, a character that can be whatever they want it to be. One of the players is the dungeon master. The dungeon master sets up the world and scenarios that get the adventure going, and they serve as a narrator for the players’ actions and their effects on the world. The successes and failures of these actions are largely determined by dice. These dice serve as the anchor of the game, determining what is possible. As players roleplay, they work to tell a story of action and adventure together in a way that none of them could do alone.
There’s my concise way of explaining what Dungeons and Dragons is. What is d&d to you? Let me know below! And to all of my newly recruited players out there: keep those dice rolling high!