21 votes

Dungeons & Dragons has made a surprising return to mainstream culture

21 comments

  1. [8]
    Thrabalen
    (edited )
    Link
    I haven't read the article (thanks, NYT), but honestly, it's not too surprising. All it took was a) the older generation of Satan-fearing pearl clutchers to forget about it/die off, b) the "dumb...

    I haven't read the article (thanks, NYT), but honestly, it's not too surprising. All it took was a) the older generation of Satan-fearing pearl clutchers to forget about it/die off, b) the "dumb jock must persecute nerd" attitude to shrivel up (once PC gaming went mainstream, that was inevitable), c) distribution to transcend the physical (sites like Drive-Thru RPG are the best thing that could have happened to the industry), and then d) old timers starting to introduce newbies once again.

    11 votes
    1. [2]
      Akir
      Link Parent
      Honestly, I'm more surprised how long it took the Times to realize it. DnD has been snaking through popular culture for quite a long time now. It was a really prominant part of the first season of...

      Honestly, I'm more surprised how long it took the Times to realize it. DnD has been snaking through popular culture for quite a long time now. It was a really prominant part of the first season of Stranger things two years ago, and there have even been DnD episodes in a number of TV series even before that.

      12 votes
      1. Grawlix
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        Yeah, it feels like I've seen some variation of this article every few months for years now.

        Yeah, it feels like I've seen some variation of this article every few months for years now.

        5 votes
    2. [2]
      ThatFanficGuy
      Link Parent
      I'm able to view the article with no issues. It may be because I have cookies disabled for the site as a whole. Give it a shot, see how it works for you.

      I'm able to view the article with no issues. It may be because I have cookies disabled for the site as a whole. Give it a shot, see how it works for you.

      1 vote
      1. KapteinB
        Link Parent
        Oh neat, that seems to work! In Firefox, open settings, search for "cookies", click "handle permissions", paste "https://www.nytimes.com" in the text field, click "block". (Or something like that....

        Oh neat, that seems to work!

        In Firefox, open settings, search for "cookies", click "handle permissions", paste "https://www.nytimes.com" in the text field, click "block". (Or something like that. My Firefox interface is in Norwegian, so I may have mistranslated some of those.)

  2. Amarok
    Link
    It's become more than mainstream, it's now a teaching aid and being played in schools to help kids that have social issues work them out. I was surprised they didn't mention the uptick in school...

    It's become more than mainstream, it's now a teaching aid and being played in schools to help kids that have social issues work them out. I was surprised they didn't mention the uptick in school tabletop gaming in this article.

    It's 2019 and we're still waiting for Dragons in the Basement to get released. Maybe it'll make it in time for D&D's 50th anniversary.

    9 votes
  3. [7]
    ThatFanficGuy
    Link
    You bet Critical Role had a thing or two to do with it. It's certainly popular within the D&D community: they raised $750k for the animation of their first campaign's adventures in 45 minutes, and...

    “For a long time people didn’t understand what the game was,” said Matthew Mercer, a Los Angeles-based dungeon master (the game’s chief storyteller and rules referee), for “Critical Role,” a web series that features voice actors like him playing. <...> Watching other people play and seeing how easy it can be to run your own game, Mercer said, viewers “realize just how much freaking fun it is.”

    You bet Critical Role had a thing or two to do with it. It's certainly popular within the D&D community: they raised $750k for the animation of their first campaign's adventures in 45 minutes, and ended up raising upwards of $11 million.

    It's infamous, too, with the so-called Mercer effect affecting plenty of casual newbie D&D games... which goes to show that plenty of people went into D&D because of Critical Role.

    9 votes
    1. anahata
      Link Parent
      I would wager that Critical Role has had more to do with D&D's resurgence than anything else. A charismatic (and ridiculously, enviably attractive) cast of professional actors on a popular...

      I would wager that Critical Role has had more to do with D&D's resurgence than anything else. A charismatic (and ridiculously, enviably attractive) cast of professional actors on a popular streaming service showing off the game? Yeah, that's about the most optimal way to make something popular among the younger demographic. 5e is a great streaming game because, at least in the hands of a DM who's comfortable filling in the massive holes in the rules, it's easy to understand and follow because there are so few rules that all the one-offs you need to do just fade into the background.

      Older folks who were put off by the unmitigated disaster (no exaggeration) that was 4e were thirsty for something new, especially as Pathfinder started to get a bit long in the tooth. And, of course, the older, older folks who were into first edition have a friend in Mike Mearls, who clearly just wants to play first edition and thinks everyone else should, too.

      4 votes
    2. [5]
      stromm
      Link Parent
      I've played D&D since 1977 and have never heard of Critical Role...

      You bet Critical Role had a thing or two to do with it. It's certainly popular within the D&D community:

      I've played D&D since 1977 and have never heard of Critical Role...

      4 votes
      1. [4]
        ThatFanficGuy
        Link Parent
        Something tells me you wouldn't play more D&D if you had. It's about the young and the spry joining the flock, not the old and the wise finding out the passion for the game through new tech. ;)

        Something tells me you wouldn't play more D&D if you had. It's about the young and the spry joining the flock, not the old and the wise finding out the passion for the game through new tech. ;)

        6 votes
        1. [3]
          stromm
          Link Parent
          LOL that you seem to think "the old and wise" can't find more passion via tech. Tech does exactly that for us old and wise. It can eliminate all the tedious parts of RPGs. It's why WoW and Diablo...

          LOL that you seem to think "the old and wise" can't find more passion via tech.

          Tech does exactly that for us old and wise. It can eliminate all the tedious parts of RPGs. It's why WoW and Diablo are so popular among us older RPGers.

          Maybe it's also because a lot of us are also IT professionals. But everyone I know my age and older who are AD&D (or other RPG) players, tend to stay fairly up to date with tech. Especially now that our kids are adults and we can divert some of that money to fun things.

          1. anahata
            Link Parent
            Ironically, I want less tech in my games, and I work as a software developer (and have worked as a sysadmin as well). I hate people goofing off on their phones / tablets at the gaming table and I...

            Ironically, I want less tech in my games, and I work as a software developer (and have worked as a sysadmin as well). I hate people goofing off on their phones / tablets at the gaming table and I don't allow that kind of thing at games I run. I don't have nearly as much fun with games played via the internet; it's just not the same. The connection isn't there. It feels a lot like work, actually. It doesn't feel fun playing online.

            I spend too much time on devices as-is (and I say this as someone who limits their usage), and when I'm gaming I want to cut out the tech and focus on the social aspects and the games rather than seeing everyone staring at their devices. All the tedium that you're referring to is engrossing detail for me, is a delightful and refreshing return to an earlier age of engagement with books and people that I don't see in online play or when everyone has a tablet / laptop at the table. 4e D&D wanted to go in exactly that direction, and I can't imagine where the hobby would be right now if it was successful. WoW and Diablo are such pale imitations of the hobby. I love books, reading, writing, and the acts of reading and writing, of digging through a book to find that one specific little detail I need. And I love doing the mathematics.

            Then again, maybe this is just me being uniquely weird. I like to think and engage deeply and critically with my hobbies. I don't like action movies because there's no philosophy, nothing to think about. I spent an hour or two at my Saturday game quietly thinking about the future of my character, evaluating subtle, minute details, and found that very enjoyable.

            Something something nearly middle aged man yells at cloud.

          2. ThatFanficGuy
            Link Parent
            I do not. I merely stated that this story isn't about someone like you – someone who has been into D&D since Lord knows how much earlier than Critical Role.

            LOL that you seem to think "the old and wise" can't find more passion via tech.

            I do not. I merely stated that this story isn't about someone like you – someone who has been into D&D since Lord knows how much earlier than Critical Role.

  4. [2]
    vegai
    Link
    The Adventure Zone is a pretty great podcast. Features 3 brothers and their father playing D&D: https://www.maximumfun.org/shows/adventure-zone

    The Adventure Zone is a pretty great podcast. Features 3 brothers and their father playing D&D: https://www.maximumfun.org/shows/adventure-zone

    5 votes
    1. arghdos
      Link Parent
      This is how I got into D&D, wasn't even a McElroy fan at the time!

      This is how I got into D&D, wasn't even a McElroy fan at the time!

      3 votes
  5. [3]
    zaarn
    Link
    And I just started to DM my first campaign a few months ago too. Though one shouldn't reduce TTRPG's to DnD, you can pull stuff from a lot of other systems (I borrow some rules from Overlight,...

    And I just started to DM my first campaign a few months ago too. Though one shouldn't reduce TTRPG's to DnD, you can pull stuff from a lot of other systems (I borrow some rules from Overlight, 13th Age and TDE for my campaign). It's all quite fun.

    3 votes
    1. [2]
      ThatFanficGuy
      Link Parent
      What kind of stuff do you borrow, and how? Do you keep it an organized system, or wing it to a reasonable degree?

      What kind of stuff do you borrow, and how? Do you keep it an organized system, or wing it to a reasonable degree?

      1 vote
      1. zaarn
        Link Parent
        I have a notebook where I write down interesting ideas from other games. I discuss it with my party if it affects them majorly, otherwise I do it on my own time. For example, I copied over the...

        I have a notebook where I write down interesting ideas from other games. I discuss it with my party if it affects them majorly, otherwise I do it on my own time. For example, I copied over the weather system from 3.5e since I didn't like how 5e did it. It largely requires just thinking about what the stats in the source game mean and how you could represent them in the target game. Balancing is hard but trial-and-error starting at an easier endpoint is possible.

        2 votes