By now, it comes as no surprise I’m a die-hard nerd and basically like anything geeky. So when I start discussing role playing games, I hope it doesn’t surprise you. Obviously, I cut my teeth on the current version of D&D a little over a decade ago, and I’ve tried more games than I can count.
For those in the dark, there’s a few interesting ways to look at role playing. For the so-called ‘crunchy’ systems, there’s this wonderful quote:
Role playing is like a combination of improvisational theater and double-entry accounting.
It’s humorous, and only half untrue. Complex systems have a lot of paper work for the players which creates a weird environment trying to introduce new role playing games to people.
The description I like to use when introducing new playing to role playing games is simple: It’s like a story, but you’re the main character. When you decide what to do, we use the rules to find out how well you did and what happens to you next.
Now that you’ve been primed, let’s look at the current Dungeons and Dragons, the ‘grandfather’ of RPGs. The 4th Edition of D&D has been around for about three years now, and while the book release schedule has slowed down, there are still plenty of players out there.
Dungeons and Dragons setting is specifically sword and sorcery or high fantasy, with various settings giving slightly different focuses to the game. If you want a setting you can jump in to and just start playing, D&D has three worlds that you can pick up: Forgotten Realms, a venerable setting that’s been kicking around with D&D for decades. It’s largely high fantasy with plenty of areas that are fantasy analogs to real world areas. Then you’ve got Eberron, a ‘magipunk’ setting with post Great War feeling driving tension between the nations, far away jungles with dark elf savages, and a unique look at faith. It’s definitely your pulp setting. Then you’ve got Dark Sun, a post apocalyptic fantasy world, where slavery, starvation, and sorcerer-kings are only some of the things you’ll face.
One of the biggest complaints I have about Dungeons and Dragons in general comes down to complexity. While 4th Edition definitely is the most straight forward of the D&D line, it’s still ridiculously complex, now counting thousands of pages of rules available. While you don’t need all of them, new players will definitely have a learning curve ahead of them!
Overall, I really like Dungeons and Dragons, and the tactical nut in me loves the latest edition because smart tactical choices in combat are definitely rewarded. If you want to try a heavy RPG, D&D is easy to find players for, and even has a strong organized play program, so your local hobby shop may even have a game ready for you to join!
If you’ve played D&D, what’s your favorite memory?
If you haven’t played D&D, or any RPG, what’s your general perception of role players in general?
I’m going to make it very clear, if you bring edition warring to the comments, your thoughts will be deleted.