You look up and see a giant, mean, ugly, and ready to kill any intruder at the gate. As a team they can either run or fight the giant as a team and see what riches and power lay ahead. These are the decisions one would make in the realm of Dungeons and Dragons, with the help of the group, one can find immense power or vast riches. This game has created a sense of family, friendship, and in most cases a safe place for most to welcome and allow their imaginations run free. This a discourse community, a diverse group of people is sharing like minded goals.
A discourse community is a community that has the same set of values and goals that brings them together into a community. D&D allows the community to experience things unknown to most, inspires growth, and promotes a safe place to all who need it For this research I have personally played and observed the game, as well as research through books, academic text, and interviews with the members of this community. This topic has been a personal one for me. Growing up I have always been viewed as Jock and people who needs to play sports.
When I meet people at work or on the street, the first question most people ask is “where did you play football” or the “ damn you are tall, Wish I had you on my team”. It sucks because I do love sports and I especially love football, but that’s not who I am. I am 6-4 male who can out muscle most guys on the field, yet likes to come home to a nice comic or some good anime. I wanted to showcase the culture of dungeons and dragons, that not all players are kids who live in their mother’s basement or those who have been considered outcast.
Dungeons and Dragons was created and built upon by Jeff Perren and Gary Gyrax in 1974. During the same year, many novels on=f the fantasy type came out during this time. These novels were The Lord of the Rings and Three Hearts and Three Lions for fantasy novels they were quite popular, It would later be known that D&D got a lot of their source material from these novels. Due to not wanting to be sued for copyright infringement, many names, characters, and places were changed.
D&D is a tabletop role-playing game. The game used to be played strictly with the imagination of the dungeon master with the help of a textbook full of rules and guidelines. Now most people can use a computer to get all that information. One must not mistake it for a simple board game; it is more complex than a simple board game and it can take months, or even years to finish one game.
In the game each player takes the role of a character in the pretend world. These characters are yours to create and customize as one sees fit. The character is then recorded on a character sheet, with information such as race, class, skills and abilities, or items and gold owned. The most important character in the game is called the dungeon master, or DM. the DM’s role is to create the world that the characters are in. The DM sets the stage, he is what most in the world of D&D call God.
D&D was not always perceived as a great game, In the beginning D&D was known as the devils game. According to Sarah Montague “There were particular objections amongst religious zealots toward fantasy games. At various times in its history, RPG fantasy has received negative publicity for alleged or perceived promotion of such practices as Satanism, witchcraft, suicide, pornography, and murder (Kushner, 2008). Notably during the 1980s, certain religious groups accused the game of encouraging sorcery and the veneration of demons”. For many years, this game was banned by most parents and was taboo amongst kids. Parents did not know how to react to the kids playing with lemons and other biblical abominations. With the “Demon scare” going around this slowed the progression of the game, and pushed many kids away.
Technical Language. To be involved in this community, one has to understand the code switching, and be prepared for the different languages, dialects and accents. This applies to the type of dice used, the many characters and places, spells, items, and various other essentials of the game. Since D&D has become a little more mainstream, access to rule books and cheat sheets have made it easier to memorize these terms. Knowing these terms are essential to the flow and development of D&D. One needs to know these terms to do anything in the game from casting spells to healing or even eating. It is all about the experience when it comes to DnD This may sound weird to some, how can there be different languages spoken.
Depending on how the individual or character in the game acts can alter the way one speaks. For instance, during a campaign last week, my character who is a Tfling had a full on conversation in infernal with another character. For background, a Tiefling is a half human half demon. Another character and myself made up what we thought infernal would be so our character could talk. Doing this only adds to the game, it is not essential to the flow of D&D. From first hand experience, I started playing the game believing I could just wing it as I progressed. This would turn out to be a bad idea, asking for help or understanding became annoying to my fellow gamers. I could see them increasingly growing with anger over my questions.
Relaxed clothing, somewhat technical. Depending on the D&D group one has joined the rules on dress code can change drastically. I provided 4 D&D players questionnaires asking them questions about their experience. Ryan , a college student, and dungeon master his campaign said “I’ve seen the stereotype of people having to dress like there dnd characters, but i feel as though that fad has died out and is only practiced by the most fanatical of groups. I have never seen anyone do this nor have I ever heard of anyone doing this. As long as you are wearing something, I have no problem playing with you”. Ryan has been a Dungeon Master since high school and has never made his campaign, party dress, Ryan also goes on to say that “ I want my party to feel comfortable in anything, My goal is for everyone to have fun.
A community of nerds alike. Through personal experience I have noticed a sense of friendship and love in this community . As a kid, I had always wanted to play the “nerdy” games like D&D or be into comics. However, I was always told weird people played those games or kids who grew into the basement living no bodies. So to find a group who did not judge and embraced everyone was welcoming. These friendships have been forged on trust, happiness, and a common goal to have fun. I had asked another member of D&D, If he could shed some light on how he views his D&D community. John proudly stated “Almost every week, I get to sit down with my fiancé and a few of our closest friends and play a game. Again, it’s also a few hours I’m not on my phone or watching TV. it’s a great way to meet up with friends, and use your imagination (as lame as that sounds) to create stories. It’s the perfect blend of creativity and social interaction. I’m a huge fan of RPGs and there is no RPG in existence like D&D. D&D gives people an outlet to focus on, and a home to express our imaginations. This game teaches and captivates at the same time. For myself and many others, D&D has been a useful distraction when the world feels lonely.
As time progresses we see, education becoming open to D&D allowing the community to expand. In an article written by Matt Zalaznick, Zalaznick explains that “Teachers and therapists have seen that students build real-life self-esteem when they serve in a valued role in a group of adventurers. ‘In role-playing, you learn the skill of rewriting your own identity–it allows kids to experiment with other versions of themselves and other personality types,’ .
Time Commitment. For our particular group, we meet every Saturday at 8 on the dot. We are all college students so meeting more than once a week is not ideal. Our Saturday campaigns are usually 6 hours , this can be one whole campaign or side quest to but the time when some of the group can not make it. For our group this is a normal duration of a session, When the game first came out kids would play D&D all day. With an all day session a group can complete a campaign in one setting, unlike our group who took 2 months to complete such feat.
Unlike most social clubs this is not a mandatory experience, this group has had a few people show up for the night and never come back, or their are even members who show once a month. This game only encourages those to show every time, however, If one cannot make it or doesn’t have fun it is ok. During a session, Time varies at all times. Depending on the situation time can be slow or fast. For instance, some players have the ability to fly in the game, this cause the character to get to places faster than others. When this happens, they may not be in a scene or aware of certain things because of this.
Commitment to growth. As a participant in playing Dungeons and Dragons I have observed that the members of this group are committed to the education of D&D and gaming culture. Being that most members are in college, it is hard to learn new materials associated with the game. This game will only continue to grow, “nerd” has become mainstream and many celebrities and social media influencers have made D&D their game of choice.to build off of what I said earlier, I think people are more open to trying things that were taboo or “nerdy” in the past.
Plus, with the popularity behind shows like “Critical Role” (Streamed series that showcases famous voice actors playing D&D) it can only get spread out into the world even more. More and more people are playing, the current fan base for dnd continues to grow. I think the fact that many celebrities play (the rock, terry cruz, vin diesel, matt mercer, dan harmon) has helped diminish the stigma around dnd, and helped increase its popularity.(John) WIth people in power playing this game, it only raises the confidence of those playing.
At first thought D&D is just some average game however, it has taught me much more than I could have ever imagined. This game has its share of unconventional methods that have helped build leadership and confidence through role playing. Dungeons and Dragons is a different kind of game. There are no winners and losers, and no participation badges either. It’s a game of life, and love. Friendship, and adventure. Everyone plays the game differently, but every D&D player does it for the community that comes with it.
After playing D&D for a few months, I understand what a true discourse is, it’s a family that cares and welcomes all who needs it. THis community has shown me that I don’t have to hide my “nerd” ways. I’m not looked at as a jock, but as Brother Blood a 13th level warlock. Brother Blood is a leader and a adventure rolled into one. All the traits I have learned in D&D , I have tried to implement in my everyday life.