Dungeons And Dragons

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate October 2001

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Dungeons And Dragons The game dungeons and dragons is designed to be fun, but after a while of playing you realise that is much, much more. It is an escape into your imagination. For me it has now become an obsession, I have been gaming since I was nine years old and now own over £250 worth of books and accessories for it. Almost all of your spare time becomes devoted to it. Whether that is spent actually playing or simply reading and adding more to the history of your games. Unfortunately it also uses up most of your money. 98% of all my monthly allowance is spent on books and dice. I began playing at the age of nine, when a friend of mine introduced me to it. He was several years older than me and his father had taught him how to play.

The game itself is a role-playing game.

You create a fictional character and play out that character's actions inside an imaginary game world. To be able to play you really need at least three people. One to the Dungeon Master, or DM for short. He controls the world in which you play. He describes the locations and the other characters actions for you to interact with. The others are the Player Characters or PCs for short. They are the people that interact with the world the DM is running.

The DM holds the script, or "adventure" that will be played. The very basic game can be picked in a few short hours with the aid of the main rulebook the "Player's Handbook" which is some 286 pages long (305 with index) yet only 40 of these pages are actually necessary. Yet if you wish to play it at the level I now play at you will need countless other books and accessories. The complexity of the game ranges from a few simple dice rolls at the starting level to hundreds of calculations with any number of modifiers at the advanced. The characters, as I have already stated, are what you control in the imaginary world. Yet it is not a competitive game as a simple board game is. The characters work together to solve the mysteries and puzzles the DM sets before them. The adventures played vary greatly depending on your DM's taste. It could be as simple as finding treasure and killing dragons to complex investigations involving hundreds of clues and plot twists. The world the DM creates also varies. It could be a futuristic setting with laser guns and battle ships (though personally that is not to my tastes.) it could also be the generic world. One of high magic and weird and wonderful creatures. Yet my favourite remains that of gothic horror. Either set in the chivalric era or something even approaching that of the early Victorians.

Though there are many rules involved all the books state that there is really only one rule.

"All the rules stated within this book are optional, if you do not like them then do not use them" This states a lot of what the game is about. If you are no longer having fun because some of the rules are getting in the way then simply do not use them. This gives you a lot of freedom to implement your ideas and your imagination.

As I have already stated I have been playing this game for seven years now and it has taken over most of my life. One of the players in my group is called Steve. I introduced him to it four years ago now and although he does not own a lot of books. He is no less obsessed than I. Now that we have played for so long, we have taken to writing our own complex adventures rather than purchasing them. We have also begun to change the rulebook. We have changed and created new characters and rules. Because we didn't like them and because I am very very picky about what characters I play.

I have written an adventure myself, it is set in a fantasy world with high magic. The characters are looking after a barons' son on a hunting trip, the characters are then drawn into an adventure against ancient beast-folk that see the race of men as usurpers. The beast-folk are an ancient race, preceding human's existence. The players (depending on their mentality) will either see them as simply another race. Or they may see them as they are intended. They simply represent mans baser instincts, free of clouded judgement. They think as they feel. Their faerie king whom the PC's eventually meet reveals a fateful truth, which has repercussions beyond the adventure. This can either be continued dealings with the baron. Or even possibly the king may make an appearance, thwarting the PC's plans. D&D adventures should always affect other adventures. Whether that be through direct intervention of previous characters, or even simply a lesson they have learnt because of earlier actions.

I do not believe Dungeons and dragons will ever end for me. Even if the company ceases to produce material for there are always people who used to play who continue to write for it. I know I myself have already begun writing. It is possible to earn money from writing from it yet that should be no-ones primary concern. If you do not love the game you will never be able to write well for it thus you will never make any money. People have tried to put the game onto a computer yet this was always doomed to fail. The whole point it to sit around the table with your friends playing. To have fun and socialise, not sit in front of a computer screen shouting at it. The game itself has limitless options in any situation. The computer games however have very limited options; you can only do what the programmers think you can. This destroys the freedom the game gives you; it removes the essence that is D&D. D&D will always be able to compete with technology. Part of the games is flicking through the numerous books to find the page. Having books stacked high up next adds so much and a computer removes it all. Computers impersonalise a game, which is quintessentially personal. You are no longer using your imagination you are simply stealing ideas from a computer programmer. The books themselves hold an almost magic quality about them. The game has over the years of people adding to it almost become a living entity. It continues to grow and is still feeding of the imaginations of who supplement its vast scope.

One thing that D&D excels at is teaching you the possibilities in life. Admittedly waging war on a neighbouring dragon is a little out of our scope yet it still can affect you "normal" life. As you become as obsessed as I you begin to liken real world events to that of D&D. You begin to think of which class all your friends fit into and what abilities they have. Sometimes you even begin to wonder why things aren't happening as they do in the game. Why there aren't dwarves in the local tavern and quite why people are not carrying swords with them everywhere they go.