Dungeons & Dragons: It’s Not Just A Nerd Thing

Don’t be afraid to slide into your local DM’s DMs


Photo by Janet Galore/Wikemedia Commons

Candles and lanterns fend off the shadows dancing over the faces and figures of various beings filling up the busy tavern. A shout of victory rises over roars of defeat as a human collects their winnings from a gamble against a few orcs. At the bar, a tiefling with a broken horn waves the bartender down for another drink. They never get it as a hooded elf is picked up and promptly thrown onto the counter. Apparently, they didn’t pass the sleight of hand check. Within seconds, daggers are out, drinks are thrown and tables are flipped. As the scene descends into chaos, a halfling bard picks up their lute and begins a jaunty tune while winking at the waitress. Congratulations, you’ve just met your party. What’s your next move?

Ok, so playing Dungeons & Dragons isn’t actually this immersive, but with interactive gameplay, a variety of worlds to choose from and the ability to literally be pretty much whoever you want to be, can you really complain?

D&D has been around since the 70s. Recently though, with the release of the 5th edition handbooks, the rise of podcasts such as “The Adventure Zone” and “Critical Role,” and, of course, the widespread popularity of “Stranger Things,” more and more people have decided to become players in the biggest role-playing game in the world. Despite this, after 40 years, some people still say that you must be a pretty hardcore nerd to get into a game so deeply rooted in fantasy. I say that they are complete fools and don’t know what they’re missing out on.

The first reason as to why I say that this game is for everyone is the fact that you can pretty much be anyone. It doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from, everyone is on equal ground with a character to sink into and a story to discover. Combinations are endless with the number of races, classes and backgrounds to choose from.

If you’re into being the tank that carries the team and rams through problems, being a half-orc barbarian might be the right path for you. If you’re better at supporting and trying to make sure everyone comes out alive, a high elf cleric might be a better fit. If you’re just an absolute edgelord who wants nothing but money and chaos, then a drow elf rogue or tiefling warlock is definitely your type. Some dungeon masters, or DMs, are even willing to help you home-brew a new playable race or class. If you want to be an alien mad scientist, they can make that happen if you’re willing to put just as much effort into building it.

Along with this, you can also pick your character’s alignment. These are the basis of character personalities and are simple combinations between being lawful, neutral or chaotic, and being good, neutral or evil. By playing actions that best fit your character, the DM can reward you with inspiration which can give you an advantage – an important thing to have in a game dictated by the roll of a die. Almost no one wants to be a goody two-shoes lawful good all the time – both in the real world and in-game – so why not have some fun and be a little chaotic. If you want to, you could even choose to be an evil character. Yes, that means you can actually be rewarded by killing someone mercilessly, but where’s the fun in that when you could just be chaotic by stealing someone’s wife and goods?

Then, there’s the fact that you can place yourself into any world you want. There are plenty of game stores with campaigns open to beginners and there’s bound to be a fit for you. While there are your run-of-the-mill adventures that have you dungeon crawling, searching for lost things and possibly slaying a dragon, there are also plenty of other places to go. Homebrew campaigns, adventures made from scratch by the DM, can have plenty of other colorful settings to run through. You almost never know where you might end up in. Whether it be a magic forest with no edges, a castle big enough for the gods themselves or even a post-apocalyptic universe where steam and metal rule the lands, you’ll be lost for hours and love every minute of it.

However, if the amount of freedom in this game can’t convince you to join, the only argument I have left is that it’s just plain fun. There’s nothing complicated to it. A game is a game, and Dungeons & Dragons might just be the best one out there. It’s a great way to make friends and passes the time while hanging out with the ones you already have. Campaigns could be filled with inside jokes and easily create new ones. The world of D&D isn’t just one for you to run around in and possibly save; it’s one that’s yours to control.

So, if you’re looking for a great time or fun, new hobby, I highly suggest joining the rest of us “nerds” in the world of D&D. It’s not that hard to find a local game and learn from veteran players. You can even pick up a pre-made adventure book or starter kit at your local Barnes & Noble for a quick game night with friends. It’s not like you have anything to lose.

Well, unless you roll a critical miss.