Dungeons and Dragons: The Resurgence


Caroline Look

Above is a comparison of Caroline Look’s 4 set dice collection as a novice player to her sibling’s 50 set dice collection as an experienced player.

Madeline Tiedt and Anjali Viswan

Despite having made its original debut in 1974, Dungeons and Dragons has made a resurgence in recent years. D&D is a complex tabletop game that involves a lot of dice-rolling and role-playing.

“It’s what’s referred to as a TCRPG, which is a tabletop role-playing game,” said senior and D&D player Grace Lucchesi. “Basically everyone has their own characters, which they create, sometimes on their own time.”

Everything about the character, including physical appearance and mannerisms, is up to the person creating them. D&D is also similar to other die games with its large reliance on luck.

“There’s just an element of luck to it. As I said before, you’re free to do whatever you want, but you have to roll to see how well you do it,” said senior Pratim Vasireddy, who has been playing D&D since the beginning of his junior year.

Each party of characters also has to have a Dungeon Master, abbreviated to DM. The DM sets up the story for the characters which requires a lot of work on their part. 

“The Dungeon Master is the one who decides how the story goes, because Dungeons and Dragons, it’s basically just group-imagining. You’re all creating a story at the same time,” said D&D player Ryan Karsten, senior.

For many, the improvisation is what draws them to play D&D. “It’s almost like improv acting like 24/7, and you can interact with your friends,” said Vasireddy, “So, it’s community bonding as well. Honestly, my personal favorite is the improv acting, but I know lots of people just like fighting stuff or the competition aspects where you’re like achieving stuff or gathering items.”

For others, the teamwork feature of the game is just as alluring. 

English and theatre teacher Ryan Colton likes “the storytelling and the improvisation. I would also say the co-op, you know, you have to work together as a party. You have to solve problems together as a party.”

However, COVID-19 has altered what this teamwork looks like. Since many can no longer get together in person, D&D players have had to make the shift to being fully online.

“We still want to play, and we’re able to play, but it’s just nowhere near the same of actually physically getting together, having food snacks, and just making it kind of like a party with each other,” said Colton. “We haven’t been together since COVID. We’ve been pretty smart about it and have been just separate until things get better.”

Being online has meant utilizing platforms like Zoom and Discord, or even a D&D-specific website called Roll 20.

Dungeons and Dragons player now meet virtually to play due to COVID. (Caroline Look)

“You can play online right now if you’re still social distancing. There’s a platform called Roll20. There’s a lot of things built into it that makes it easier on the game,” said English teacher and D&D player Jacob Burlingame. 

Roll 20 has special features for D&D like rolling the dice for a player or allowing the Dungeon Master to post maps for the group to see. 

While starting to play D&D may seem daunting, there are several options that are available to new players. The D&D club at North makes it easy to find a party and offers a chance to get to learn the game with others at the same level. 

“Join the club, there’s a lot of useful resources, you definitely want to make sure that you have someone who’s already familiar with the contents,” said Vasireddy.

The internet also offers a wide variety of resources that vary from character name generators to instructional videos on YouTube.

 “I’d say that D&D really has something for everyone,” said Karsten. “If you just like, you know, doing combat stuff like I do, if you like exploring the idea of playing with another character, or just the storytelling aspect of it, and all that, it really does have something for everyone.”