What is Dungeons & Dragons?
March 6th, 2023 - The upcoming Dungeons & Dragons movie, Honour Among Thieves has generated a lot of buzz and excitement across the geek community.
The new movie boasts an impressive cast that includes Chris Pine, Michelle Rodriguez, Regé-Jean Page, and Hugh Grant. And the movie's tagline, "Roll for adventure," suggests that the movie will stay true to the spirit of the game and feature epic quests and battles. And that's something any fan can get behind!
Yet even with the wild popularity of D&D, there may still be some people in the geek community who are sheepishly wondering what is D&D and what's all the hype about?
Well never fear my non-TTRPG friends, we're here to help de-mystify and explain the phenomia that is Dungeons & Dragons!
Let us begin...
So...what is Dungeons & Dragons?
Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) is a tabletop role-playing game where players take on the roles of characters in a fantasy world. The game is typically led by a dungeon master (DM), who acts as the game's judge/referee and storyteller.
During a D&D session, the players work together to overcome challenges and complete quests that are presented by the DM and use dice to decide outcomes of various actions/scenarios.. These challenges can take many forms, such as battling monsters, solving puzzles, or negotiating with non-player characters (NPCs).
Where does D&D come from?
D&D was created by Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson in the early 1970s. Gygax and Arneson were both avid wargamers and fantasy enthusiasts who wanted to create a game that would allow players to take on the role of individual characters and explore a world of adventure and magic.
It was inspired by classic fantasy literature, such as J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings and Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian, as well as historical wargaming and mythology. The first edition of D&D was published in 1974 by Tactical Studies Rules (TSR), a company founded by Gygax and his friend Don Kaye. The game was an immediate success, and it spawned a whole new genre of roleplaying games.
Who plays D&D?
Tabletop role playing games as a genre, including D&D, are played by a wide variety of people from all walks of life. While it is difficult to generalize an entire community of players, here are some common types/kinds of people who play D&D:
Overall, the D&D community, and TTRPG community as a whole is diverse and welcoming, and players come from a wide range of backgrounds and interests.
Is D&D a safe space for LGBTQIA+ individuals?
TL;DR - In a word? Absolutely.
You can more our blog post about D&D being a safe space here.
What do you need to play D&D?
To play a game of Dungeons & Dragons, you will typically need the following items:
Rulebooks: The core rulebooks for D&D contain all the rules, mechanics, and lore necessary to play the game. The three core rulebooks are the Player's Handbook, the Dungeon Master's Guide, and the Monster Manual.
Character sheets: Each player will need a character sheet to keep track of their character's abilities, stats, and inventory. Here's some free examples of character sheets & pre-generated characters.
Dice: D&D uses a variety of polyhedral dice, all conveniently available on our website here :)
Imagination and creativity
Game board or map: While not strictly necessary, many groups use a game board or map to help visualize the game world and keep track of character movement. You can find battlemaps here or sometimes in pre-made adventures, or one-off adventures (called one-shots), such as these.
Miniatures or tokens: Similarly, some groups use miniature figures or tokens to represent characters and enemies on the game board or map.
- Internet Connection: A lot of new tools are available online to make playing a lot easier in person and online, such as Inkarnate, D&D Beyond, and Hero Forge.
How many people do you need to play D&D?
Generally a game of D&D can be played with 2 to 8 players including DM.
How often do you play D&D?
There is no set frequency for playing D&D. Some groups play once a week, while others play once a month. Ultimately, the frequency of play depends on the schedules and availability of the players and the dungeon master.
So, why should I play D&D or TTRPGs?
Overall, tabletop roleplaying games like D&D are very easy to get into, fun, social, and creative games that can provide a wide range of benefits to players.
Primarily these games are a great way to get away from screens and tap into our social sides, as well as our imagination and creativity. But generally the best thing about D&D are the stories you make with your friends (whether new or old!) and the adventures you go on.
Trust me when I say I've never met a person who said they regretted playing D&D. It's that good. You won't regret it.
Onward to Adventure!
- Luke McIntosh
DM, Occasional Player, Dog Whisperer