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Natural 20: A D&D Tale


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To some folks when they hear the name of “Dungeons and Dragons” they either remember the 80s cartoon, or the cringe worthy movie starring Jeremy Irons. Regardless of where you have heard the name, Dungeons and Dragons it is considered by many as the grandfather of Tabletop Roleplaying Games and has been the inspiration for many great works of fantasy fiction and also video games for the past four decades. First Published in 1974 by game creators the late Gary Gygax and David Arneson, the game took the world by storm and famously caused a lot of moral panic among some groups in the 1970s but the controversy only bolstered sales creating more popularity.

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Tabletop roleplaying has started to slowly creep its way back into mainstream culture in the past few years thanks to the exposure it has been given in things such as the Geek and Sundry twitch stream of Critical Role ran by voice Actor Matthew Mercer and also in the Netflix show Stranger Things. Many famous actors and authors have also played D&D back in the day including George R.R Martin and Vin Diesel.

Within Dungeons and Dragons, the books provide the building blocks for the Dungeon Master (The game’s narrator and referee) to create a world and adventure for players to conquer and quest through. Using polyhedral dice ranging from four sided to twenty sided dice; these determine the power of spells and attacks but the dice that decides the outcome ultimately is the twenty sided dice, the legendary D20.

I myself was raised from a young age on the fantasy genre from Greek Mythology to classic fantasy works. The first novel I ever read as a child being The Hobbit by J.R.R Tolkien. My dad being the source and driving force behind this also introduced me to what D&D was, telling me stories of his time as a Dungeon Master and as a ridiculously overpowered Halfling Fighter back in the 80s. The thing that captivated me was the passion he had when telling these stories, as if he was there in that world. Eventually after watching an independent film called the Gamers by Dead Gentleman productions (it’s up on youtube, check it out) I was set on getting a group of players together. At age sixteen myself and two other friends in school put our money together and purchased second hand copies of the 2nd Edition Advanced Dungeons and Dragons Player’s Handbook, Monster Manual and Dungeon Master guide. I played on and off for years and eventually years later joined a group with my best friend Sam at our local comic store where we played the current 5th Edition. It was here I fell in love with the game again. After a couple of sessions and getting the hang of the rules, I purchased the core books for 5th Edition and had a go at being a Dungeon Master. Luckily as a second generation D&D player I had my dad to give me tips and guidance on how to weave intricate and exciting stories and worlds for my players to explore and how to make sure I didn’t kill them all in the first session. Since being a Dungeon Master I have introduced several friends, family members and my girlfriend to tabletop roleplaying. I didn’t stop at D&D though, I have collected more books of different games included Vampire The Masquerade and Pathfinder.

On a personal level it has become a life changing hobby for me and has improved my life greatly. For several years I have suffered from depression and anxiety which anyone who has had it or has it knows can sap the life and enthusiasm out of you. Not only is it a form of escapism but also a tool to stimulate my mind and imagination. The joy, the excitement and the good times to be had out of sessions with friends is indescribable and a price cannot be put on it.

by Dan Stephenson

 

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Posted on September 2, 2016, in Geekology and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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