Let's learn about D&D!

Psyga 315
table of contents

What is D&D?

Hello, everyone, Psyga315 here, and today we will look at an old webpage dedicated to teaching newbies how to play Dungeons & Dragons. Now, the first encounter with D&D that I had was sadly the film, meaning that back then, whenever I heard of D&D, Snails or Damodar would pop in my head. At some point during 2005, I came across the page talking about Dungeons and Dragons. Interested, I checked it out, and I believed it changed a part of me. Today I look back at it and talk about it. I will be analyzing it section by section, so without further to do, letís dig into the What is D&D Page.

Look with me here... {Warning: It will resize your window. Just maximize and you will be fine or just open it in a new window.}

So we start off with this splash screen where if we hover over three panels, we learn a bit more about what we could achieve in D&D. For example, More Characters tells us that we have unlimited choices on what character we could make. More Adventure tells us that we could roam fantasy worlds without boundaries and create legends that will last a lifetime. More Monsters tells us of how we can confront and even create our own monsters. Now this is the part where I shatter all that with two letters. DM. For those who are new to D&D or Tabletop Gaming entirely, let me educate you. A DM, or Dungeon Master, is someone who enforces the rules of the game and who tells the story. And usually these stories and rules clamp down on the choices you can make. Your choices of what character to make is limited to what the setting (where the game takes place in) and the DM dictates. The Exploring fantasy worlds with no boundaries usually gets squashed when the DM sets arrows directed to the next plot point, some going so far as to set ďtrapsĒ up, like broken bridges, blockades or in some cases, monsters. This is called Railroading.

Moving on, our first section is a summary of D&D, in which the first page claims itís something among the lines of a Dungeon Crawler. Anyone who has played the game can tell you that itís not all D&D can do. They do talk about going to towns in the next page, but thatís about it. They also talk about how you have near limitless possibilities of making a character (very true for the near part) and that you can also have cool swords and powers. The way they say it, itís like you would get it from the get go as opposed to earning it, finding it, or buying it. The next page talks about the DM and how he or she is the narrator of the thing. They also mention a village again, but again, it doesnít really shift the initial image of what one would think of this game. From the way theyíre telling us, itís less Tabletop Roleplaying Game and more Dungeon Crawler on a board. The next page tells us that the game is usually a never-ending one. Again, usually thatís not the case. And it ends on the final page telling us that we can shape our own characterís destiny and give him or her powers like stopping time, teleporting, or granting wishes. Iím not a guy whoís been through several D&D sessions, but usually they donít get that powerful anytime soon unless one was to know the game inside out and make a powerful character by gaining tons of flaws and getting gifts that will prove useful.

And that is the first major problem I see in this demo. While it does its best to explain what Dungeons And Dragons is, the problem lies in the fact that chances are that it wonít happen exactly like they advertized it. Here, to give you an example, letís pretend that someone came over to a friendís house and they decide to play Dungeons and Dragons. Now, this someone has no idea outside of what this site told him of what this game is, while his friend has been through dozens of D&D sessions and has made a campaign of her own. We will name the former Bob and the latter Alice

Alice: You start out in the kingís throne room where the king tells you that his daughter was kidnapped by three bandits, and that they have her hostage at the Cliffs of Insanity. Now-

Bob: Wait, I thought weíre going to raid a dungeon.

Alice: Sadly, no. The Cliffs of Insanity have no dungeons.

Bob: What about a dragon?

Alice: In this setting, theyíre driven to extinction, and thereís only one dragon left.

Bob: Okay, I want to fight him!

Alice: You canít. Youíre tasked to save the princess. The dragonís lair is five hundred miles the other way from the Cliffs of Insanity.

Bob: Well, that sucks.

And yeah. Now I could have ended it with them yelling like how this would usually end, (as far as I have seen) but itís just to show what happens when you have someone thinking theyíre going to play Dragonstrike and instead embark on an epic adventure. Never Trust a Trailer indeed. Now yes, sometimes it does boil down to dungeon crawling, but I was raised on the concept of campaign play. From what I see, this is more of a Gamist type than a Narrativist type. This concept sounds interesting to me.

Tune in next time in which I find out just what kind of character I should play as.