Bugbears and changelings and orcs, oh my! Dungeons and Dragons, more commonly referred to as D&D, is a tabletop roleplaying game where friends come together and tell a story.
The dungeon master, or DM, is the person who creates the story: the world, non-player characters, history, culture, everything the group needs to incorporate their characters into the story. The people involved that aren’t the DM create their own characters and play them through the story that the DM sets up. There are rule books like any other tabletop game, but the DM makes a lot of the rules up as well to fit the storyline.
“It’s really just a story that you’re making as you go,” said freshman Cade Griffith. “One of my favorite things about D&D is that you’re entering a whole new world that is the creation of someone who is probably your friend and so it’s all coming from their mind. I love to see that.”
D&D groups, or campaigns, have started to spring up on CBC’s campus. There are two campaigns that meet on campus and one that meets off campus, each meeting once a week. The two on campus are all current students, but the one off-campus includes current students and at least one alumni.
D&D is mostly a spoken game, but there are dice and a game board involved as well.
“When you roll, you roll these 20-sided dice and when you roll a one, no matter what your modifier is, it’s always a fail,” said sophomore Nick Duckett. “A lot of DMs will have their own special rule…where they may come up with something like you swing your sword and it flies out of your hand and hits an ally, that kind of thing.”
The world of D&D wasn’t always so popular. Back in the 70s and 80s, D&D was considered to be a cult, even though there isn’t much ground to base those conclusions on.
“I think there’s a negative connotation about D&D…and this stems from the big Dungeons and Dragons scare in the 70s,” said Eli McAlister. “People associated it with devil worship, which is completely inaccurate. I think that happened because of the cults then that were making headline news, and so they thought that D&D was just another cult. I want people to understand that it’s really just a game…just give it a chance and take the time to understand it a little bit more.”
One unique thing about D&D is the character creation. Characters can be as silly or serious as the player wants them to be and there really aren’t any limits as to what they can do.
“I play a character known as Boris,” said Griffith. “He was a failed KGB agent and the reason he was such a terrible KGB agent is that he was a pacifist, and he also thought Stalin’s mustache looked stupid which didn’t help his case. [The Russians] took Boris and experimented on him…one of the experiments they tested on him sent him into a new mythical world, which is this world that the campaign takes place in… His main weapon is a crowbar and a water trough. He also has a hedgehog who’s a friend and he can throw the hedgehog at people. Boris is an excellent example of just how much you can do with a character and how much fun you can have with them. It can be totally silly if you want it to be. It can also be a little bit gamebreaking if you want it to be, but the point is that you have fun with the story and have fun with your friends who are playing the game as well.”
Another unique aspect, according to Duckett, is the life applicability. As well as being a fun game to play with friends, it can also teach skills like leadership, teamwork and problem-solving.
While playing in person with a group of friends is recommended, it is not the only option. There are also online campaigns that students can be a part of.
“Aside from the [campaigns] I do on campus, I’m also in one that’s online with a couple of friends on Discord,” said McAlister. “There are plenty of places that you [can find] online. But I think a good place to start is locally with friends.”
“Dorks” and “nerds” may be the most commonly types of people associated with D&D and similar tabletop games, but it can also be a creative outlet for writers and others.
“I love just being able to create immersive worlds and stories. I’m an aspiring writer, so [I like] being able to create characters with intricate backstories and interweave them into this world and have them grow as they go,” said McAlister.
Photo by Jessica Sawyer