Dungeons & Dragons isn’t geek culture, it’s pop culture. For the uninitiated, Dungeons & Dragons is a fantasy tabletop role-playing game. Of course, for those who play, it’s so much more than that. At its core, D&D is about storytelling; it’s about you and your friends telling a story together. This includes guiding your heroes through quests for treasure, battles with deadly foes, daring rescues, courtly intrigue, and much more. Each player creates a character with different attributes and abilities that they can level up through playing multiple sessions, otherwise known as the campaign.
In Robert Wardhaugh case, the campaign has lasted 35 years. It currently shows no signs of slowing down. In 1982, 14-year old Robert Wardhaugh sat down to play a game of Dungeons and Dragons. The game, he realized, could be used to keep his circle of friends together. “The game has always been determined through friendship,” said Wardhaugh. “I knew early on that if I was able to create a game that was good enough, that they would keep coming back no matter where I was. That takes imagination, and it takes having a system that is constantly dynamic, that is changing, growing, and constantly getting better.”
Based out of Wardhaugh’s basement in London, Canada, word quickly spread about the never-ending campaign. People from all around the country gather each week to join in the decades-long campaign. Even if players can’t be there in person, Robert makes sure no one is left out of the fun with video chat programs like Skype.
Wardhaugh is not only an amazing Dungeon Master, he also collects figurines and terrains. With over 20,000 in his collection. It’s not hard to see what keeps the game new and exciting while keeping players on their toes. Wardhaugh’s able to build entire towns complete with icy mountains or harsh deserts. Only his imagination can limit the possibilities.
A game completely based on imagination and friends with similar senses of humor – what could go wrong? Almost everything, and that’s what makes it so great. It’s hard not to love D&D once you start playing. It’s the perfect breeding ground for inside jokes with friends.
For example, I remember playing a game with my wife and a few good friends. We ended up joining forces with an orc named ‘Bonesaw.’ Every time this brave warrior went into battle he let out a mighty battle cry! We still joke about it to this day. That’s the magic of D&D, the game can be whatever you want it to be. My wife spends her game time gathering gold to dress her pet monkey in lavish clothing. You can too!
Dungeons & Dragons has its hands in every corner of pop culture. D&D is even popular among some of your favorite celebrities with the likes of Dan Harmon, Mike Myers, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Stephen King, Kevin Smith, Elon Musk, Stephen Colbert, Vin Diesel, and James Franco to name a few.
Even music isn’t safe from its grasp. Marcy Playground wrote a song called “Cloak of Elvenkind” about a magic item of the same name. Weezer’s “In The Garage” mentions the Dungeon Master’s Guide and a twelve-sided die in the titular garage.
The more you look at mainstream media the more you see its influence. Extending from more recent shows like Stranger Things to even movie classics like E.T., it seems as though everyone in our past and present is obsessed with D&D.
Gravity Falls: The thirteenth episode of the second season, Dungeons, Dungeons & More Dungeons, is centered around a game of a similar name based on mathematics, chance, and imagination.
The Simpsons: Homer tells how he bonded with some new geek friends by playing Dungeons & Dragons: “For three hours… then I was slain by an elf.”
Freaks and Geeks: The final episode of the series, Discos and Dragons, Daniel (James Franco) is forced to join the Audio/Visual Club and the geeks invite him to a game of Dungeons & Dragons. He ends up enjoying it.
Community: A second-season episode titled Advanced Dungeons and Dragons (AD&D) centers around the study group playing a game of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons to cheer up their near-suicidal classmate, “Fat Neil.” Pierce’s (Chevy Chase) exclusion leads him to barge into the game tormenting everyone. A later episode called Advanced Advanced Dungeons & Dragons included a game of D&D which is played in order to reunite professor Buzz Hickey with his son.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer: In the episode “Chosen,” Andrew, Xander, Giles, and one of the potential slayers play Dungeons & Dragons while Anya sleeps at the table.
What are you waiting for? Try Dungeons & Dragons out for yourself! Bookmans has all your D&D needs, from gaming guides to books to TV shows and movies starring this world-renowned role-playing game.
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