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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Haha, you don’t know _____!

I don’t take issue with a great deal while I’m teaching. I’m accepting of the broad span of opinions and preconceptions. I rarely feel the need to lecture people in or out of lessons, and I would never tell you your opinion is flat-out wrong. But when someone laughs at someone for not knowing something, that’s when I dust off the soapbox.

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The Geek is a Dad: Baby VS D&D

I seemed to start playing Dungeons & Dragons as it began its surge in popularity. I can hardly say that I was “playing D&D before it was cool”; the game has been around for longer than I have. Nevertheless, when I was first introduced by a fellow teacher in 2015, the current edition of the game was only a year old, the massively popular Critical Role was just rolling out episode number 6 of campaign 1, and the vast majority of people I spoke to had barely even heard of D&D.

Four years later, D&D has evolved from a minor interest to a major hobby. Up until a few months ago, I was playing several times a month, most of which I was hosting. As the Dungeon Master of these games, I was either pouring over official campaign books or tinkering with my own, far-too-detailed homemade story. I enjoyed creating and playing D&D so much that it even took over the time that I usually reserved for playing video games or watching a good movie. I play other ‘Table Top Role Playing Games’ from time to time, but Dungeons & Dragons has its claws in me.

That was until six months ago, when I began to close the book on all my adventures in preparation for the arrival of my baby daughter. By Christmas, all of my groups knew that once we got to a satisfying place in the story I would bow out. My little lady was on her way and rather than string each game along until we ran out of time, I wanted to choose where the line in the sand was drawn. It was tough, because we all really wanted to play, but there’s nothing worse than a campaign that just fizzles out.

The games I was a player/character in would continue without me, but the games I ‘DMed’ would be gone for a long, long time… or so I thought.

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That One Workbook

There’s a strange phenomenon that occurs when I mark books: there is always one that goes unmarked. I’ve been teaching for 9 years, and each year I have at least half a dozen different sets of workbooks that I mark regularly throughout the year. Every single time, without fail, I hand the books out and one student raises there hand:

“Err, sir? You’ve not marked mine.”

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