Dungeons and Dragons, oh my!

A captivating look inside a fantasy game

Story by Rae Dinger, Student Reporter

If you are willing, I would like to you imagine something for me: you’re in a cave, sounds echoing off the walls and water dripping from the ceiling. Your sword is heavy on your belt, and as you turn a corner, a growl comes from further down the cave. Do you roll to investigate, or roll for stealth?

If you have Cydney Curtis, a senior elementary education major, in your party, she might just be able to help you out. With a passion for tabletop roleplaying games such as Dungeons and Dragons, she’ll be able to lead you through this treacherous cave without a scratch.

“I am very passionate about Dungeons and Dragons and other table top RPGs [roleplaying games],” Curtis began, “Dungeons and Dragons is played by having one person, the ‘game/dungeon master’ who tells a story, and other players who act as characters in the story.”

A character’s encounters, successes, and failures are determined by the abilities and dice rolls.

The only things a player needs to get started are a pencil, paper, and some dice. Dungeons and Dragons also has an assortment of guides and adventurer modules to guide both players and dungeon masters in running a campaign.

“The books span over several different editions and my group typically plays the most recent 5th edition.” Curtis said.

Now, all this might seem complicated or confusing, but do not fret! There are plenty of tutorials of ways to get started, and if you can find them, there are people who are usually more than willing to drag someone into the fun of Dungeons and Dragons which can also be referred to as DnD.

Cydney started her DnD career on a whim. “I was introduced to DnD my sophomore year of college when my now-husband asked me to join his weekly games,” Curtis said. “We have played with him leading the sessions for the past few years together, and I recently began leading a game of my own.”

In DnD, you can take your place as either master or player, allowing for different experiences on both ends. Either way you choose, you’re guaranteed to have fun if you have the right people with you.

“[DnD] has influenced my life in many ways. Most namely, it has introduced me to many of my close friends that I have here at college,” Cydney said, “I even married one of them. It’s more than us just simply playing a game together, we’re a family.

“Besides the people I’ve met, DnD has helped me on a personal level with social skills, including making me a better speaker, writer, problem solver, and collaborator. It also is great stress relief after a week of classes to take some time with your friends to go slay a dragon.”

DnD has had the stigma as being the game of “devil worshipers and black magic-doers”, and the last of the bastions of nerddom before reaching LARPing.

I then asked how she would recommend those interested in playing get started, as I’ve had personal experience with getting into DnD and the trials it takes to find groups that are just right for me.

“There are a lot of different groups and forums on the internet that can help you find groups, learn the rules, and begin playing. Another place that is an immense help is a FLGS (friendly local game shop). We have one here in Arkadelphia called Atlas Gaming, which usually carries the basic guides, and a wide assortment of dice in addition to running regular games and providing space for new games.”

It’s these close friends you can make through DnD that can help you make your way through a cave, slay a dragon, or fight your way through the dark lands of the Abyss. For Cydney, the friends she’s made over the years through DnD have helped her tell stories that will always be remembered, from heart-wrenching character deaths to the times when someone rolls a natural one. If you’re still not convinced, do a little Googling. You might just find that you enjoy the fantasy that comes with playing DnD.