Yes, I’m one of those people that has never played D&D but is now wanting to give it a go. Because, hey, it’s apparently ‘cool’ now! But wait a minute, let’s take a step back. There are obviously armies of people that will say it has always been extremely cool, and there is a very strong argument for the fact that mainstream media bringing D&D to the forefront again is not necessarily ‘cool’. D&D started off on the edge. It was a form of entertainment that was breaking ground and making enemies at the same time. The ‘satanic panic’ was at a peak in the late 70s and early 80s and D&D was at the forefront. It had attitude and it didn’t care what people thought of it. It was doing it’s own thing and thousands of players embraced that. That is certainly cool in my eyes. Obviously over the years board games maybe developed a bit of a ‘geek’ label while video games became the new cool thing. But now, board games are definitely back on an upward trajectory, and D&D is reaching a whole new generation. It’s extremely popular again and I would still argue that it has always been cool.

But, I’ve never played it. I’ve always been hugely aware of it and its culture. I’ve seen the cartoon and read comics about it. I’ve eagerly read Fighting Fantasy books and Lone Wolf books, I’ve played other board games like Talisman a lot, but I’ve never actually played a game of Dungeons & Dragons. I’ve just never had the opportunity or had any friends who have wanted to play it. Until now that is.

Obviously one of the reasons that D&D is ‘cool’ again is because of Stranger Things. Everything in that show was cool. I feel the pandemic also made people want to do more in-person things after we were allowed to, and board games have seen a rise since then too. And in the case of D&D, several online entities such as the excellent Critical Role YouTube channel have really showcased how Dungeons & Dragons works, to people who have never experienced it before.

Things I’m looking forward to
I’ve always enjoyed fantasy world stories. Big Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones fan. I just like those sort of stories. So it’s an easy world to enter for me. And I feel like the games aren’t frantic or stressful like some other games can be. It seems like a nice enjoyable evening with friends. I’m at the sort of age now where that in itself is appealing! And lastly I’m just intrigued as to where it could lead. I’ve heard of some really interesting campaigns and games that go on for ages, if not years. It’s just quite exciting to have such open gameplay that you don’t quite know where it will lead.

Things I’m curious about
I’ve always wondered just exactly how it works. By that I mean, how much is set by the rules, how much is set by the Dungeon Master, how much control do the players actually have. I’ve just never really known, and I’m curious to find out. I’ve also just always found it interesting that so much hinges on the DM. I kind of find it hard to believe that every group of friends that has ever played D&D has one member that is an expert storyteller and orator that can make the game really sing. Surely the game hugely depends on that person being a great DM. I look forward to finding out. I actually even wondered if anyone has tried using ChatGPT as a DM. I wonder if that could even work?!

So in terms of next steps, it’s really not difficult. There is so much out there to help us get started. Obviously WAY easier than the people who first started playing it in the early 70s! There are books, videos, YouTube channels, apps, you name it. We can get stocked up on dice and other tools at stores like Dice Goblin. And I’m definitely not at a shortage of people wanting to play it with me. The hardest thing will be synching up everyone’s busy diaries to get a night where enough friends are free! Perhaps that is the most difficult quest of all.