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Introduction to Dungeons & Dragons

From the popular Zelda games to the Final Fantasy series, World of Warcraft, and even games like Mass Effect, most people have played an RPG game of some sort. But, what most people don’t realize is that most of these games actually came from D&D.

What is D&D?

D&D, which can also be abbreviated to DnD, is a nickname for the tabletop roleplaying game Dungeons and Dragons, which was created in the 1970s. And, although it has gained something of a bad reputation, the truth is that D&D has spawned an entire genre of games. And, as you might expect, at its core, Dungeons and Dragons is really very similar to a computer or console RPG game. However, in this imaginative pen-and-paper game, all of the images and actions are described by you rather than rendered by technology.

Generally, there are at four to seven players in a D&D game (sometimes referred to as a campaign), and there are two basic roles: The players, and the Game Master, or GM (also sometimes called a Dungeon Master, or DM). There is only one GM/DM and everyone else is a player.

What do the players do?

Players create and are in charge of a single character. Throughout the game they make choices as to what their character would do, which includes speaking as the character, tracking equipment, and deciding on skills and abilities and when they should be used. As the game progresses, characters increase in skills and power, allowing them to tackle bigger and bigger challenges.

Generally, there will between three and six players. The average D&D game will have five players and while it is possible to do more, things quickly become difficult. For beginners, four players are recommended.

What does the DM do?

While everyone else controls a single character, the DM is in control of the world and every character that was not created by a player. This is a very important role that takes a lot of work between sessions as the DM is in charge of not only creating the world, but defining the story and situations that the characters can react to.

As the DM, you will create and control non-player characters (NPCs) for your players to talk to, describe faraway locations, design dungeons to challenge them, and build a story for them to progress in. Basically, you are the world and they are the heroes in that world.

However, while the DM is many times in opposition to the players, the DM’s real job is to make the game fun. It isn’t meant to be a competition between the player and the DM (that would be grossly unfair!) but more a collaboration to tell the most exciting story. Game Mastering is extremely rewarding but also a little complicated. At the moment, this blog is geared more towards players, so we won’t go a lot into too many specifics of being a dungeon master. However, both beginning dungeon masters and players will find useful information here.

Now that you’ve got a taste for the game, why not dig deeper and learn more about tabletop roleplaying with my D&D101 course? Check it out here!

Do you have a question you want to ask about D&D? Leave a note in the comments below, and I’ll do my best to answer it!

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