All words presented in this blog are purely opinion, not fact - unless specifically stated otherwise in the post.

Monday 25 February 2019

Dungeons and Dragons and Me

Over the past few years the phenomena that is Dungeons and Dragons has rocketed in popularity, spreading far and wide. In part due to twitch streaming shows such as the acclaimed Critical Role on Geek and Sundry and the perhaps less known but just as good Dice Camera Action on DnD's Twitch channel. These shows and shows like them, more than anything else I believe has brought D&D into the mainstream, increasing their popularity and making them more acceptable in the public eye. And to clarify I don't mean the whole Satanic Panic thing from the seventies where people got the wrong end of the stick and linked D&D to devil worship, I'm talking more the social stereotypes making D&D seem a little... I don't know, something that you hide?
Which is great. D&D and other Role Playing games like it are amazing. there is absolutely no reason you should have to hide that you play. No reason that you should want to play but then get real quiet about it when people who don't play are nearby. And these shows, and more specifically the people on them have done so much to make that happen.
From their work with 826LA to the 'Jocks Machina' phenom these people have done an insane amount of work and put so much love into this to make it mainstream and acceptable.

What I wanted to talk about today is less about D&D in general and more about What D&D has done for me.
I might talk about D&D itself in more detail another time but right now I wanted to address the reasons that I personally think that D&D is amazing.
To understand really what it means to me we need a little background;
Upon writing this I am a 32 year old Games Designer with delusions of Author-hood. I've been in the games industry for 10 years as of September 2019, I've been playing role playing games almost constantly since 2015 when I watched a show on Geek and Sundry called 'Titans grave' DMd by Wil Wheaton.
Something in that show struck me, something about the storytelling, the investment of the players and the way that the DM could craft a world and a narrative where anything could happen.
After watching that through I went to my friends and sent out an e-mail to my company saying 'I'm going to run a game of Fantasy age. Who wants to play.' I got about 10 responses. so I asked them 'What do you want the world to be like? fantasy, scifi, modern age?' which helped me figure out what I wanted to do. It didn't even occur to me that I could buy or use a premade campaign. as soon as I decided that I was doing a RPG I was building a world. I was building a story, I was going nuts. Even now I don't use premade campaigns, not because they're bad but simply because what i want to do is tell a story, build something from nothing and interact with the players in a meaningful way that I personally don't think I can get from a campaign book.
Anyway, over the weeks leading up to playing the number of players wittled down to 4 and then 3. eventually that campaign ended due to people being unable to attend and interest dropped off. But I'd been bitten by the bug. I knew I wanted to keep going, and I've been DMing, whether in Fantasy age, D&D, Fate, Dread or who knows what other rule set ever since.

I've always been fairly shy. People around me have always had the spotlight and I've never been good at talking in public, at making myself known, at asserting myself in general, but being a DM means that you can't just be on the side lines.
For me one of the biggest things I can say that D&D has done for me has made me much more comfortable with myself and has (to use an over-used parlance) brought me out of my shell. Now that isn't to say I'm not shy in some situations, but it's helped me so much. There was a time when I couldn't speak up for fear of making a fool of myself. Even in DMing there was a time when I couldnt cut people off and get them back on track with the game. Now I lead discussions at work, and use character voices in the DM chair.

Not only that but those people who stayed for that first Fantasy Age game are my best friends now and they're still my players, as well as a couple more. those people who I DM for I make lasting friendships with. It gives us a connection, a bond that I haven't had in any other situation, and the things I design and build in D&D give me things to talk to other people about.
Not to mention that all of this world building has been incredibly useful for helping me to become a better games Designer.

Basically what I'm saying is that D&D is amazing. Role Playing Games are amazing. They help you in so many ways, especially social skills and everyone should do it.
I will most likely make more posts about D&D in the future, maybe some DMing stuff but for now that is it.

- James
A fun D&D story

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