Few games have stood the daunting test of time such as Dungeons & Dragons. It’s a cult phenomenon, with countless players all across the globe all assembling to each play a role. Quite like popular massive role-playing games such as “The Elder Scrolls” series, players can custom create their characters that are tailored exactly to their preferences.


While I’d never played D&D as it’s known among its giant fanbase, I met countless fans of the game. From what I observed, the fans spoke with the pride and love of D&D that I’ve never heard religious Xbox Live players speak with. The game seemed to have the familiarity among its fans and the sense of community and camaraderie that online multiplayer games seems to be missing. Played in person as opposed to over broadband and with a 20-sided die instead of a button on a keyboard. Using pens and paper instead of a controller, D&D also brings a sense that the game stays true to its roots, those roots being whichever creative turns that your campaign takes.


While Dungeons & Dragons does indeed have digital editions, they don’t capture the sense of togetherness that the classic edition does. As for myself, I had been interested in playing since I saw the episode of the cult classic “Community” where the protagonists play D&D. This particular interest greatly peaked when I attended my fraternity’s convention in Vegas and met Max, a student at UT Dallas and avid player of D&D.   


After casually pitching my idea about how I longed to document exactly how the game has changed over the many years since it’s creation, Max invited yours truly to play Dungeons & Dragons with them at their friend’s apartment in Las Colinas, a convenient 15-minute drive from my residence.


To grasp a better understanding of the game, I asked two experienced players. By that, I mean that I asked my brother, Daniel, and father, Jeff,  about the game. My father, a devoted player in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, explained the many intricate actions and events that could take place in a single game and the length of a game, some lasting months on end. My brother told me about his particular campaign and the Walking Dead-like story that the players found themselves in and since he’s my brother, told me exactly what to expect and how I’d react to them.    


The night of August 31, Max, myself, and his friends assembled in the apartment of the Dungeon Master, Jake. As his very respectful and hospitable friends invited me in and we made personal-sized pizzas with plenty of toppings, Jake explained the very complex and unique situation that the characters found themselves in.


This couldn’t have been more similar to some strange hybrid of The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones. One character, named Firestone, had a parasitic infection while another character, Auzine, was falling for another character, Ophelia, and a fourth character, named Abu Desh, was making a grand return from a far-away village.   


(Jake Nerf)

I was picked to be Ophelia herself. Given how much of a Lumineers fan I am, I gladly accepted. Then, I learned her very femme fatale-like role. She had hired the other players to save her village which was consequently destroyed by an evil witch. Through the course of the battle with the witch, Abu Desh died, many characters were injured but they conquered and destroyed the witch.


During a smoke break, I asked the director of the game himself, the “Dungeon Master” or DM for short, named Jake about the specifics of the game.


“It’s about creating a shared universe with your friends.” he explained, giving me a perfect understanding of the camaraderie of D&D.


According to Jake, the game length is at the discretion of the players.


“You can do a one-session campaign or you can have a campaign lasting 12 years. It’s up to the players.”


The current campaign the players found themselves in had been about six weeks in the making. However, no two campaigns are the same.


“The only limit is what you can think of.”


The DM explained how he uses Pinterest to find D&D character designs and scenery art for his inspiration for the custom story that he tailors, almost acting as a movie director.


He then, in a way to perfectly summarize the entire experience, commented on the sense of togetherness that the in-person forms of D&D bring as opposed to the digital types.


“It’s all about being there in person, solving things in real time. Looking your teammates in the face and facing these issues. And I like that sense of personal contact.”


Are you a Dungeons & Dragons fan? If so, Tweet me @CaptainKasoff because I’d love to hear about your campaign.