Opinion: A True Intellectual’s Game An Opinion of Dungeon and Dragons


When people think of Dungeons and Dragons (D&D), they picture a bunch of nerds huddled around a table roleplaying fictional characters in a made-up universe. This is absolutely what it is. I just began playing this past month, but the story has already pulled me in. Every game of D&D is unique because each DM (Dungeon Master) has the chance to create his or her own world and city. The DM then also gets to create all of the scenarios that occur. He or she makes every aspect of this world just as if it was in real life. Also, each player gets to make his or her own character that is fine tuned to be unique in all of its own ways. These traits make the game customizable in more ways than any other game.

To begin a game, commonly referred to as a campaign, each player makes a character of their own that he or she will personify as the campaign continues. Each character has three main parts: a race, a class, and several abilities. These three components contribute to who the character is. The race and class are chosen by the player, but the abilities are determined through the rolling of dice. The race of the character helps determine special abilities that he or she will have. For example, my character is a half-elf so she has dark vision; on the other hand, another person I play with is a dragonborn who does not have dark vision. The class helps demonstrate who the character is. It answers questions like: Do they fight with their hands? Do they primarily use magic? How did they become who they are? While class can help truly define a character, the player also adds more to the backstory and how they have become who they are. Lastly, abilities are determined through just the simple rolling of the dice, but the player gets to choose which of the numbers rolled corresponds to each category. For instance, a person playing a barbarian, a class that heavily relies on melee attacks, would put their highest rolled number to the strength ability rather than intelligence. It may seem like abilities are just the luck of the draw, yet there are modifiers that apply depending on race and class to help fine tune the stats. These modifiers also carry on to a list of skills that come into play with different tasks performed throughout the game.

Honestly, my favorite part of the game is that your party can do whatever they want in this world as long as the DM doesn’t say no. This allows for the creative juices to start flowing and things can get pretty interesting. For example, in a recent game, my party met a goblin that had a voice similar to John Lennon; long story short, that goblin is now tied to an orc’s chest and has short swords in both hands and tied to his feet. At first we kept him for directions, but now he is like a pet. The idea that anything is possible makes it feel more realistic and helps everyone who is playing feel more comfortable with the roleplaying side of things. In all of this, the DM is also making these scenarios able to happen. They know what will be able to happen later on in the game because in the end they get to decide what happens in the moment, and most likely it will be a series of unfortunate events.

Another thing about playing D&D that makes it so great is who you play with. I personally feel like it is necessary to like your party and not feel uncomfortable around them. This is needed because there are so many times in the game when you might be unsure of what to do and you have to speak your thoughts. Also, it would be super boring if we weren’t all joking around the whole time. Some moments are serious, like when we were starting to get killed by a few bugbears, but it’s also really funny when one of our members makes a joke about this poor lady’s husband being a snack for a monster or someone else calling a monster out to fight us by literally saying, “What a wuss! Come out here and fight us like a real man!” (We still have not killed that beast. Instead, we slightly befriended him and we make trades with him.)

All in all, Dungeons and Dragons may seem like a game for the nerdiest of nerds–don’t get me wrong because it is–but it is also a game of intellect and strategy. It is game for all people who have a creative mind and want to explore a new place that no one  has ever been to before and live a different life. D&D is a place to escape, be yourself through a different person, and truly live through different eyes. It is an experience, not a game.