“All right everybody, roll initiative.”
The noise of dice hitting the table was the unofficial starting sound of my first tabletop gaming session in years.
We had all gathered around a table in our friend’s basement, character sheets in hand. Chips and Halloween candy were scattered around the room, video-game music running on a loop in the background.
The session was intensely fun, and continued for a few hours. Our spirits were high as our characters' stories began. We had a few close calls, but after a very acrobatic strike from our party’s Rogue, we defeated a particularly nasty Displacer Beast. This brought the first chapter of a hopefully long campaign to a satisfying conclusion.
This, ladies and gentlemen, was the renowned tabletop role-playing game known as Dungeons and Dragons.
Introduced in the 70s, Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) is widely considered one of the most immersive tabletop games to ever exist. I have played it in the past, but I recently wanted to try it again in hopes of seeing if it was as good as I remembered.
Thanks to my experienced Dungeon Master, or DM for short, the session exceeded my expectations. It was the result of a lot of hard work in the weeks leading up to the session. We had named our characters, prepared our backstories, and chosen our abilities. We were ready to go the second we sat down at the table.
The rules are a little complex, but it all comes down to the DM. The DM is the person who organizes the story, enforces the rules, and plays the monsters. They create the world and fill it with obstacles and adversity, while the players do their best to conquer it, explore it, or just go around collecting treasure.
What makes the game so interesting is the fact that there is no set path. D&D isn’t laid out like some overly linear video game. The players, if they wanted to, could head in any random direction to see what they could find.
This can be annoying to the DM, but if they are skilled enough they can learn to adapt and create interesting scenarios and challenges no matter where their players decide to go.
So, the fact that D&D allows for such adaptability, improvization, and sheer spontaneity is what makes it, in my opinion, an extremely immersive game. This makes it an excellent activity for escapism.
Below is a video of an almost professional session of D&D, with a few familiar faces. Give it a watch if you want to see what the game is like!
A 22-year-old college student with a passion for nerdy things, John is currently attending Algonquin College for Professional Writing and dreams of one day being a novelist. He enjoys reading, writing, playing video games, and LARPing. He also occasionally streams his shenanigans on his Twitch channel.