Why should YOU play D&D? Reason #3

People play games for different reasons. Some people play to win, to fulfil their need to triumph through a show of skill, logic or chance. Others play for the simple joy, unphased by who wins, uninterested in the finer points of the rules. For many, games are simply something to do with friends enjoying the social side.

That last point was the basis for my second reason for why I think you should try out Dungeons & Dragons. It is one of the most sociable games out there. I also believe that the other factors above are especially true for D&D; it can be played competitively or for the simple fun of playing a game.

Which leads me to reason #3:

Reason #3 – It has Something for every kind of Gamer.

Even if you take away the social side of gaming and strip away the inevitable fun that comes with playing any good table-top game, D&D at its core is something that can appeal to all gamers. No matter how or why you play games, Dungeons & Dragons has qualities that will appeal to you.

Play to Win

Dungeons & Dragons is a team game. The host of the game, the ‘Dungeon Master’, narrates the adventure and controls the monsters, whilst the players band together to defeat their enemies and overcome challenges. You are therefore trying to work together to defeat the bad that the DM throws at you, and for many players this is the driving force behind why they play the game.

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Many adventures carry on over multiple sessions, or last just a few hours, but in any case there are multiple ways a player can get the Win that they are searching for. Each time combat breaks out, players can swing swords and sling spells at their foe, looking to achieve the killing blow. Alternatively, you can player a character whose powers boost their allies, allowing you to share in the victories around the table.

When not in combat, you might find yourself in dungeon puzzle rooms, journeys often contain an unique peril and many towns have difficult characters to tackle. Each problem represents a chance to prove your own ingenuity, or your characters’ strengths, and feel awesome doing it.

Play for  Power

Not everyone is thinking about the end of a board game. Some people want to collect or the pieces or cards, make a clever move, or roll high numbers on a dice. There are a lot of Table Top Role Playing Games out there that are focused on survival and shared hardships, but D&D is primarily about making a powerful character, that continues to grow in power, in order to battle almighty monstrosities. It’s a game described as “Avengers with swords”.

On top of all the spells and combat skills you can throw around, the adventure your DM creates can be filled with powerful weapons and relics, imbued with magical attributes. In the wider world, a successful character/party can eventually forge alliances with kings and guilds and can ever construct their own stronghold.

There are so many ways that D&D provides you with the opportunity to build a powerful character in a world ready to be saved… or conquered.

Play the Story

Fighting monsters and levelling-up stats are all vital pieces of the game, as they are with so many board and video games. When that is said and done, D&D is a game based on narrative, as I mentioned earlier.

Many players turn up for the tale of adventure. Becoming a hero-adventurer is the ultimate goal in many campaigns, but the journey to that goal is where the real excitement is.

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Your DM may be working out of a campaign book, or creating their own world for you to explore. In either case, what has been created is far from a linear story. There will be at least one ending to the tale, but there will also be side quests, random Non-Player Characters to traverse with, and plenty of world lore to uncover.

After a long quest, you might return to the nearest city. Whilst another player sends their character off to buy items at the nearest market, you can explore the city you find yourself in, pull books out from the local library or chat with the local NPCs. There may be useful information to find, or just extra content that expands your understanding of the world.

Depending on the DM you have, you might also find that you can add to the story even though you are not the Master. Details about your characters’ backstory can be fed into the world, off-hand comments you make might inspire your DM’s imagination, and in some cases your DM might actively ask you to contribute details to help build the finer elements of the world around you.

Play the Character

D&D is a TTRPG – a Table Top Role Playing Game. For some players, the ‘role playing’ part simply implies that you are steering your character through an adventure. You can take this further however. The game can be much more challenging – and thought provoking – to dive a little deeper.

Even if you didn’t make your character, because you were handed one by the DM or you printed a pre-filled sheet, there are four little boxes on the character sheet that suggest how that imaginary person should be played:

  • Personality Traits: small quirks, habits, likes or dislikes that make your character stand out.
  • Ideals: a core belief of that character.
  • Bonds: a connection you have to people or a place in the world.
  • Flaws: a weakness that could get you in trouble.

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Of course, if you make your own character you choose these qualities. Each group you play with will put a different emphasis on playing the character’s ‘character’. When I’m a player rather than a Dungeon Master, I lean into the character I’ve come up with so long as I don’t slow the game down or over-complicate the situation. Other players are entirely in character for the duration. It’s actually written in the rules that a DM can reward you for really cool character moments.

Final Thoughts

You can play Dungeons & Dragons for the group challenge that it continuously offers, for the sense of awesomeness and escapism that come with a high-fantasy adventure, or to be part of a rich narrative. All these elements are there, it’s up to you to decide what your main interest is. Each game session, campaign setting, DM and group creates a new dynamic, and a new set of experiences. It’s always good to find out from a new group how they like to play the game.

That makes three reasons to play Dungeons & Dragons. Links to the other two are below. If you’re a player, add you own positive experiences below. If you’re still unsure if you want to start playing, feel free to ask me anything.

Thank You For Playing

#1: It’s easy to start playing than you think.

#2: It’s a great social activity.

Written by Rufus Scott.

Twitter: @RSGPeak
Facebook: GamerPeak

Why should YOU play D&D? Reason #2

We all react differently to the prospect of ‘something new’. The idea of sampling a new food, taking part in a new sport or meeting a new social group can instil fear and trepidation in many, whilst others can leap at new experiences with glee. Even something as harmless as Dungeons & Dragons can seem like a daunting prospect for new players.

Even if you tell a person that D&D is easy to get into, they may still be hesitant. Inform them that they don’t need to know or the rules and buy all the parts to play, that person may still be reluctant to join in. They may be interested, but misconceptions exist about how ‘intense’ the game is. I’ve had many new players reflect on how they thought that D&D consisted of focused players pouring over character sheets and spewing complex jargon, a blur of numbers and structured play.

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Are You Tired of Zombies?

The undead are the one thing that never dies in video games. There are more Zombie games than there are Zombies in the average horde. Some are central to a game’s story; some are added as additional features. They are so prevalent that new types of Zombies are regularly invented, often with new names – Infected, Freakers, etc. Call them what you like, Zombies have spread across gaming time and space.

It seems incredible to me, the fact that we have yet to experience Zombie fatigue. Game innovation and variety can keep an idea fresh, and gamers still have time for the Baddy That Shambles. Devoid of personality, limited in challenge unless they are in large groups, and usually lacking the ability to spread the zombie infection as with most movies, they nevertheless remain a constant in the gaming world.

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Why should YOU play D&D? Reason #1

Maybe you’ve only heard of Dungeons & Dragons in passing. Maybe a friend or two are badgering you to give it a try. Maybe you’ve only experienced the stigma of a game that is supposedly only for the nerdiest of nerds. Maybe you tried it in your youth years ago but have lost touch.

Whatever your standpoint today, if you are a gamer in any capacity (video or board game), enjoy storytelling or creativity, or you just like hanging out with geeky people, you should give D&D a try. If you need convincing, or want convincing, here’s the first reasons to try, and usually the main factor in why people choose not to:

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Saint George – Different Perspectives

Teacher – This is an image of the Patron Saint of England, soldiers, farmers and much more. St George isn’t English; he was most likely born in what was Cappodocia (modern day Turkey). He is almost certainly a martyr, dying for his faith rather than making a sacrifice to pagan gods. The dragon was added to his story much later.

Video Gamer – The horse has clearly glitched over the dragon. Horses in video games are always difficult to steer properly. I hope that’s not the final armour or costume St George gets, and that weapon upgrades are available. Not that impressive a monster either. Is this meant to be a boss battle? Pfft. Unique animation style though.

Dungeon Master – that’s not a proper dragon, more like a Wyrmling. They’re only a Creature Rating 2, not that big a deal. And green dragons breath poison, not fire. I’m guessing St George is a paladin? Not sure what class the woman in the background is, but the fact that she has the wyrmling restrained means St George has advantage on his attacks. Not a tough fight.

When do you Fast Travel?

The ability to skip sections of a video game has been around for a long time. Think about this mechanical feature for a moment. The creators of a game have poured their sweat and tears (I hope there’s very little blood involved) and spent a considerable amount of time writing and coding, only to give the player an exit. Take cut-scenes for example. Lots of love went into a visual spectacle that drives story and inspires excitement for the gameplay to come. And then the creators add a “press _ to skip” feature.

In one respect, fast travel feels a lot like this. An entire gaming world has been forged for your entertainment, but with built-in a feature that lets you teleport. “We made this to entertain you.” The developers say, “But we put in a button that lets you skip it in case you don’t find it entertaining”. If it can be passed by, why is it in the game?

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Stealth is a Gentlemen’s Game

The bullets fill the air as you tumble down the corridor. You curse your own lapse in judgement. You timed your approach perfectly, took the guard down from behind with one swift and surgical strike, but you failed to spot that second guard. After so much careful espionage, after so much sneaking, one blunder has led to chaos.

For one brief moment, the guards lose sight of you. You change direction abruptly, diving for cover behind a set of unmarked crates. Your pursuers are right on you; it won’t be long before they find out where you went. Crouching low, you scramble to check your ammunition and patch your wounds.

The guards are still searching furiously, moving closer to your position. You take a breath and prepare to defend yourself with maximum efficiency. The nearest guard, mumbling to himself, looms over the crate, tentatively moving to a position where he can see your hiding place. You begin to raise your weapon…

…and then he turns and walks off.

“Well, he got away. Back to my guard post.” He practically doffs his hat in recognition of your skills of evasion, checking his pocket watch to check that, yes, it has been exactly sixty seconds since the chase began. Should you slip up again, he will commence the chase anew, but until then, good day to you, sir or madam.

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