A couple weeks ago, I flew my nerd flag and wrote about my favorite hobby: I play the classic role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons.
I’d like to state that my hobby has absolutely nothing to do with the stupid “Dungeons & Dragons” movie or the equally lame 1980s Saturday morning cartoon.
D&D is a role-playing game. We call it that because you create a character and play a role. You start out by picking your character’s race (human, elf, troll, gnome, etc.), class (barbarian, monk, wizard and others), age, sex and viewpoints (moralist, nihilist, jerk, psycho and plenty more). Then there are weapons and spells and stuff.
None of the groups I’ve played with ever dressed up like their characters. Sometimes we might talk, act, eat or drink like them, but we’re not sitting there wearing animal pelts and wizard robes.
Also, Moses, Christ, Buddha, Mohammed, etc., do not need to be involved — unless you really want to play that way. The local news misinformed my mommy that RPG nerds all worshipped the devil and committed suicide when their characters died. That’s not true. I’ve never heard of it or heard of anybody hearing of it. Sure, I take D&D seriously, but not suicide-pact seriously.
In every group, one player is the Dungeon Master, and they design the adventure for the other players: which monsters you’ll fight, what types of mysteries you’ll have to solve and the map. In addition to the DM, there are usually two or three player characters. Any more than six is too many. That’s just my opinion.
My character is named Sleepy Fox. I’m a half-orc ranger who is chaotic neutral. Huh? Let me explain.
Sleepy Fox used to focus on his studies until he realized being a leg-breaking loan shark paid more than being an educator. He’s half-human and half-orc, so he looks kind of like Shrek but skinnier, smarter and cooler. “Chaotic neutral” means he’s not necessarily a good guy or a bad guy — that depends on who’s paying him.
So how does the actual game work? You may have heard about the dice. You roll for all types of things. Let’s say the game took us to the local market, where we’re shopping for goldfish. I want to barter, so I “roll off” with the merchant. The DM and I identify which skills we’re going to use, and then roll the dice to see how well we come out. Maybe I’ve got a good sleight-of-hand skill and I can just steal this goldfish. Or maybe the merchant and I both come from the same orc-neighborhood and speak the same slang, so he’ll give me a “bro deal.” Or maybe the salesman is a racist who hates orcs, so he tries to sell me a dead goldfish.
One of my favorite parts about this game is being somebody else. It helps if you have knowledge of fantasy stories, improv comedy skills and patience. The D&D groups I’ve been a part of have all been a blast. We still send our chat room ridiculous memes and videos, and even pay each other real-life visits.