Dungeons and Dragons in the Digital Age

Image sourced from Pixabay

The very first Dungeons and Dragons game was published in 1974 and grew in popularity in the 70s and 80s.

The famous table-top role-playing fantasy game made its mark in an era of limited digital gaming technologies with many of the video games available at the time consisting of two dimensional platforms with rudimentary story-lines.

The complexity of DnD and the lure of its rare imagination based game-play roped in more than three million players world-wide by 1981, solidifying the game’s place in pop-culture and ‘geekdom’ forever.

In the technologically saturated world of 2018, traditional DnD is becoming digitized for the convenience of players around the globe.

The days of meeting friends around a dinner table for some fantasy RPG fun are a thing of the past because DnD players are now using digital technologies and applications to play the game.

DnD player Amy Smith uses applications such as Skype and DnD websites to play the game with her friends.

“[Without the internet] we probably wouldn’t play, most of us aren’t particularly sociable and most public games aren’t really catered for people who want to do everything we normally do,” she says.

“Our group is very heavy into thematic role-play, which isn’t something a lot of public groups do, our group is also full of unique humour as we’re all fairly in tune with our humour.”

The group of friends Miss Smith plays DnD with are scattered around the state and the internet has allowed them to play the game when they otherwise would not be able to.

“We don’t have the scheduling to meet up, and one of us is in Colac, one is in Melbourne and one is in Geelong as well as me in Ballarat,” she says.

“It means that our group, that is scattered across Victoria with fairly intense schedules, can actually play regularly.”

By using websites such as dndbeyond.com, roll20 and a virtual map and dice, Miss Smith says the game is simplified and she is able to focus on the creative aspects of playing.

“We don’t have to do a lot of the paper math etcetera that comes with manual DnD and it keeps track of all our stuff for us” she says.

The websites and applications Miss Smith uses help her store her character sheet and keep up with her character’s stats and health points, use virtual dice, visualize the area her party is in and video chat with her friends.

Miss Smith says that DnD is a way of socialising and being creative.

“It’s great to hang out with friends and do random awesome things, plus it lets me flex my creativity and play around with ideas I normally wouldn’t have,” she says.

“While DnD has a set of rules it’s really just a guideline and our dungeon master indulges my curiosity and experimental nature with the builds and the likes that I am allowed to do.”

Miss Smith’s DnD character ‘Amaryll’ is at the epicentre of all of Miss Smith’s adventures with DnD.  

‘Amaryll’, Amy Smith’s DnD character. Credit to artist: http://lolakita.tumblr.com/

“I really enjoy the character-building and development side of it and absolutely adore building my character’s personality” she says. “Really I just love the extension of my personality I’ve implemented.”

The convenience of playing online has given Miss Smith the opportunity to play DnD on a weekly basis.

“Instead of needing people to meet around a table once a week you just need an internet connection,” she says.

“DnD and role-playing games as a whole are super fun to play with friends, it’s fun to authentically play characters and engage in shenanigans,” says Miss Smith.

Despite the advantage of the digital technologies Miss Smith currently uses to play DnD, she says that there is room for improvement.

“Phone apps need to get a lot better to be honest … and there needs to be a higher freedom within the online tools with what you can do,” she says.



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