A group of teenagers sit gathered around a table. They all have paper and pencils next to them, scores of dice, and are focused on one in their group who details the dungeon they’re about to enter. These modern-day teens are playing Dungeons and Dragons, the fantasy role-playing game published in 1974.
Dungeons and Dragons is an interactive game with monsters, heroes, dungeons, and dragons that has survived for almost 45 years with about 20 million total players.
Although the game was popular from the late 1970s to 1980s, it recently made a comeback in modern culture. D&D has been referenced everywhere from the movie and tv drama Buffy the Vampire Slayer to the Netflix original show Stranger Things. Podcasts and TV shows like HarmonQuest produced by Dan Harmon and The Adventure Zone produced by Maximum Fun have become popular by introducing an audience to a D&D campaign. In fact, many students at McNick have their own groups that meet up to go on their own adventures.
Sophomore Jakob Tucker has been playing for nearly two years after being introduced to it by a friend. “I really like the idea of role playing games and being able to use my imagination,” Tucker said. Board games are a social experience, but Dungeons and Dragons has the added advantage of a growing story.
“It was really interesting because the whole story was completely up to you and your friends. It wasn’t predetermined,” junior Nick Russell said.
Dungeons and Dragons’ storytelling element allows for creativity to flow freely. “I play to participate in a group story telling experience that allows us to create deep characters and explore an expansive world in situations that mirror aspects of reality with the intrigue of fantasy,” said senior Ben Bravard.
“I really enjoy it because I can actually make decisions for my character that have different consequences or outcomes. Also it’s a great way to socialize with my friends,” said senior Audrey Estes.