Finished, the cliché fair. Long connected to the world of nerd and underground games, role-playing games (RPGs) have largely broken with the legend of a game for insiders, confidential and complicated. And if the nostalgia of heroic times still plays, well helped by pop culture (thank you) Stranger Things), RPG has long since gone from the table in the garage to the one in the living room, and the old magic that seduced the first lovers of D&D in 1974 still works. Why? First because it’s cool, then because everyone finds it and finally because it’s never been so easy to get started.
Power to the imagination
Just watch a bunch of kids playing in the schoolyard to see it: the game runs on the imagination. And imaginary questions, we are served by entering the universe of Dungeons & Dragons. To play it is to embody a character in itself. Dwarf, Elf, Halfling or Drakeid, each people has its story, each completely its own grade (Paladin, Bard, Magician, Monk, Rogue, Warrior …), his abilities and his powers. And a big question: Faced with the dangers he will encounter, how will he react?
Like most role-playing games, D&D is actually based on a simple principle: a collective narrative, improvised step by step by players who must cope and collaborate to advance their characters through traps, surprises and roadblocks. traps of a scenario that takes place under the benevolent (or almost benevolent) authority of a Dungeon Master, or DM, guarantor of the rules that organize the universe and give it its coherence.
After all, there is literally no other limit than the one that the players themselves put together, accompanied by a small risk anyway: their actions do not always succeed, far from it. To each his skills, his weapons or his spells of course – but nothing is certain and it famous strange dice, dear to any good role player is there to decide. Will their blows hit? Will the damage inflicted be enough to get rid of an abominable Gnoll, an ugly gnome, or a horrible Ghoul? The solution is a mix of initiative and coincidence – nothing like feeling like a light thrill before throwing your throwing ax through the squash at an Ogre that has a solid 12 armor on the counter. Dirt, go.
A game to control them all
Another benefit of D&D: everyone is there. Nearly fifty years old, it is by definition intergenerational: now parents or grandparents (yes, it stings), the “historical” players are there to share the magic of D&D with their young successors, reconnect with their old friends, or explore scenarios and campaigns imagined by a new generation of writers.
And there is the least we can say that there is something for everyone. Broadly oriented heroic fantasy in its infancy and much inspired by Tolkien’s works (Lord of the Rings) and Robert E. Howard (Conan the Cimmerian), the game soon explored other universes, constantly enriching the worlds, scenarios, and campaigns that make up the Forgotten Realms multiverse.
Ravenloft looking at the side of the good old gothic novel, the The mask of red death draws players into an urban fantasy reminiscent of the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Dark Sun. plunges into an apocalyptic universe, Al Qadim explores the mysteries of an Orient reminiscent of the dreams of the Arabian Nights, and Eberron done entirely in steampunk.
In short: there is something for literally everyone, especially since everyone can freely create their own universe and their own campaigns by following the rules of the game, in their corner or by trusting toolbox offered at D&D Beyond.
It has never been easier to push to the door of the hostel
Another declining bulwark is the perceived complexity of D&D. Good news and advice for all the families who can no longer take monopoly: things have changed, first with the 2014 release of a fifth version of the rules, simpler and more coherent, then with the online release of a wealth of content designed for beginners, such as the seven episodes that present the basics of D&D on the YouTube channel AlphaCast: basics, character creation, battle rules, campaign selection … Everything is there, and the site D&D BeyondSupported and recently acquired by D&D publisher Wizards of the Coast, offers a wealth of extremely useful digital tools, most of them freely available – including the famous drawing sheet.
Thus, in a few short hours it is possible to go out on the adventure on the table, to memorable games with family or friends, whether they have already played or do not even know what a pixie is. They have only one thing to do, perhaps the most difficult: finding what character to embody. And then, equipped with a cube and a little imagination, they can make (or not) a hero.
Welcome to all the new ones!
How to buy the game: Amazon Essentials Kit
For more information, visit the official D&D website in French