… hundreds of polyhedral dice like those used in old tabletop role-playing games. — Ready Player One p. 10
A freeze-frame of this scene appears nearly identical to a painting by Jeff Easley that appeared on the cover of the Dungeon Master’s Guide, a Dungeons & Dragons rulebook published in 1983. — Ready Player One p. 10
The only non-video game in the Ready Player One replay, Dungeons & Dragons is a pen-and-paper role-playing game played using your imagination and a bunch of dice. Of course, there’s more to it than that – core rule books that govern how to create your characters and how those characters interact with the world around them, battle maps and miniature figurines to represent characters and monsters, and oh so many rule and setting sourcebooks – but in the end, D&D is about imagination.
It’s also the creative engine that inspired so many of the video games – particularly the role-playing oriented video games – that came after it.
Ah, Dungeons & Dragons. Of all of the games I’ve played in my life, D&D is the most important. Despite its reputation as a game played by anti-social nerds, D&D gave me some of my best, longest-lasting friendships. It taught me management and social skills, it provided a consistent creative outlet, and it’s driven a good deal of the content that’s appeared on Nuketown over the years. During the pandemic, D&D provided a much-needed social outlet. We may not be able to meet in the real world, but we can still sling dice online!
My gaming group, the Blackrazor Guild, started playing in 1996 and is still going strong. We just finished up a 5+ year Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition campaign, and we’re about to start another one. I couldn’t easily tell you how many campaigns we’ve had over the years … but it’s easily more than 10.
D&D also provided a gateway to dozens of other role-playing games, like Star Wars, GURPS, Savage Worlds, Call of Cthulu and so many more. It’s safe to say that my life is considerably richer with D&D in it, and while this series is dedicated to video games, it’s D&D that’s had the biggest impact on my life.
- My High Score: N/A. This is D&D … there is no high score.
Where to Play
- Wizards of the Coast: Publisher of Dungeons & Dragons
- Dungeon Masters Guild: Online site for buying official and fan-created D&D content.
- Roll20: Virtual tabletops for role-playing games.