For this post, I’d like to share a speech I gave about D&D (sans slide deck [which was pretty much just pictures anyway]). Enjoy!
In my last speech, I talked about how dungeons and dragons changed my life by building confidence and tapping into creativity. After giving that speech, I received feedback that while it was an entertaining speech, not every member knew what D&D is or how it is played. In the next 6 minutes, I hope to answer the eternal question: What the fruitcake is dungeons and dragons?
D&D is a collaborative story-telling game with three main aspects:
- Creating a character
- Finding some friends
- Kicking bad-guy butt
Let’s start with creating a character. The first thing you need to pick is your race, which in D&D is more akin to species. Different races will have different abilities and downsides. For example, dwarves are hearty, but gruff while elves are willowy but well-versed in all weapon types.
Next, pick your specialty. Are you a wizard that has studied for years to master arcane power? Maybe you’re a rogue that is a master thief or a cleric able to heal wounds. Your specialty is what you’re bringing to the table as an adventurer.
Last, come up with your background. The character you create is not a baby; by and large, babies aren’t very good adventurers. Your character will have had years of life experience before becoming an adventurer. What significant events have happened? How has this defined your character’s moral code and ideals? Your backstory gives your character life.
Combining these three along with some dice rolls gives you a character sheet, which puts all of your character’s abilities in numerical form.
Once you have a character, it’s time to find some friends. First, you’re going to need other players. These can be friends, coworkers, or even complete strangers. These people will come to the table with their own characters and together you’ll form an adventuring party.
Now that you have a party, you’ll need a dungeon master. The DM is the narrator of the game. He or she will be guiding your party through the campaign, which can last anywhere from a few hours to a few years. The DM will set the scene as well as represent all the non-player characters your party interacts with.
NPCs are people that populate the world your party is adventuring in. This can be potion sellers, blacksmiths, or guards. The DM will use these characters to equip you with items and give you quests.
Now that you have friends, it’s time to play. Playing involves gathering around a table, everyone with their character sheet, while the DM guides you all through an adventure. This adventure will likely involve kicking bad-guy butt.
The main thing D&D is known for is dice rolls. These rolls are used to determine whether your character succeeds or fails at some action. Succeeding could mean striking a critical hit and dealing massive damage to an enemy. Failing might look something like this:
Either way, your main weapon is creativity. The solution to a problem is not always run forward, sword raised. Maybe you make an emotional appeal to the enemy based on shared heritage or life experience. Maybe you sneak through a back window instead of using the front door or charm a guard into letting you through the gates of a restricted city. The best part of D&D is that you can use your creativity to solve problems in unique ways.
Problem-solving is an inherent part of D&D, particularly if you’re faced with an enemy that you aren’t strong enough to defeat in straight combat or maybe you have to solve a riddle to get past the guardian of a temple. Luckily, you’re not going at this alone; you have a whole team working together to solve a common goal.
And when you do solve that problem, you get to experience the elation of winning! You defeated the evil wizard or saved the cursed child. You create stories together that you’ll reminisce about for years to come and celebrate together over a flagon of ale at the nearest tavern.
After you celebrate, you’ll come back the next session ready to go adventuring again. D&D is a game that can last a lifetime and I hope with what you’ve learned here today, you’ll go out and find or form a group of your own. Thank you.