A couple of years ago my friends and I started playing a little game called Dungeons and Dragons. I would be surprised if you haven’t heard of it. It is used for every nerd trope in every form of media ever.
You have a nerdy group of misfits? Make them play D&D.
You have an episode where everyone needs to play a nerdy game? D&D.
You ate too many nerds and now you have a stomach ache? Don’t eat more candy & Don’t eat more candy.
But seriously, this game is way better than a nerdy board game.
It is a collaborative storytelling experience.
If you don’t know how D&D works, let me explain.
Every player creates a character, a completely unique entity that you get to make decisions for. You want to play a kleptomaniac gnome? What about a wizard that just wants to build AC units for the local towns? Have you ever considered how fun it might be to play an orc that loves treasure more than anything else? All of these can be options.
Next you need a Dungeon Master. Now this might sound like a super nerdy position, but for all of you English majors this is spot for you. DM is really just a fancy term for the storyteller. Since Dungeons and Dragons is a collaborative storytelling experience, and since people are inherently dysfunctional, there has to be some mediator calling the shots. The DM crafts the world around the players, creates characters for them to interact with as well as facilitating the battles and challenges along the way.
So we have players and characters and an environment and a narrator, now all we have left is actually playing.
Combat has different rules depending on what edition you are playing, so I really won’t get into that. When your not in combat the game plays out almost exactly like a book.
The DM will fill you in on the surroundings, I.E. “You walk in to this town and you notice three buildings. There are two guards outside of the first one on the far left, and the other two houses look desolate.”
Then the players react to this scenario. I.E. One might ask “What kinds of weapons are the guards holding?”
And so on and so forth.
Finally let’s say the players are trying to get inside of that building with the guards. They might try different actions…
They could try to convince the guards to let them in. A player might say “I walk up to the guard and tell him that he left his roast in the oven.”
They could try to eliminate the guards. A player might say “I walk up to a guard and try to hit him with my sword.”
And then the DM will make them roll to see if they were successful in doing it. The number they have to roll higher than will be determined by how good the player is at persuading or fighting or whatever action they are attempting to do. On top of this, it could also be determined by how well they presented their action, and how reasonable that action is.
And then it’s just rinse and repeat.
So it truly is a collaborative storytelling experience, but one that has an impressively human element to it. No matter how well the DM writes the story beforehand the unexpected actions can rewrite all of it.
I’ve had sessions where all of my friends and I make efficient decisions and walk through towns and fight monsters. I’ve had sessions where my friends and I discussed the logistics of moving a shipping crate 40 feet.
This leads me to the conclusion, I’m finally going to DM my first session in a couple of weeks and I’ve written what I believe to be a pretty great story for my players to play a part in. I’ll update how they act in it and hopefully it will be worth a good laugh.
I would definitely suggest playing D&D if you and your friends are looking for a creative outlet.