Dungeons and Dragons conquers the narrative world

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Nat 20// Sitting on a desk is multiple sets of dice and character sheets, tools any trusty D&D player uses. Dice sets are made in several different models showcasing beautiful colors, designs, and materials that players can collect. (Photo by Sienna Nicholson)

by Sienna Nicholson

Dungeons and Dragons has been known worldwide as the “game for nerds” since its initial release in 1974. A board game of fanciful tabletop roleplay, numbers, and papers did not initially catch the general public’s attention.

However, despite the lack of interest, the D&D community has been thriving for the last 50 years. People all over the world have come together on the internet to build a passionate fanbase. Several groups have broadcasted their D&D campaigns on websites such as YouTube or Dropout, culminating in loving audiences that cling to their stories like any other movie or show.

There is a huge variety of storylines and while it’s not all for me there is something for everyone,” an anonymous IMDB review of one popular D&D show Dimension 20 reports said. “Don’t be put off by the fact that you are watching them play D&D. It is honestly immersive and once you have watched the first episode you will be hooked.”

Along with the endless supply of different campaigns to watch and enjoy, Dungeons and Dragons floods social media tags such as TikTok, which has its designated community dubbed “D&DTok.”

With TikTok, other small Twitter groups and throughout Instagram tags, people discuss their own D&D experiences, going over their unique characters as well as different anecdotes from their personal campaigns. People create art, writing, and sometimes even costumes based off of the stories told on the web, all celebrating the creative world of Dungeons and Dragons. However, in recent years, the game has been taking center stage with one particular show as the main cause.

Stranger Things is a hit Netflix series that came out back in July 2016. The story follows several characters throughout four seasons, most notably four boys. These boys, Mike Wheeler, Will Byers, Dustin Henderson, and Luke Sinclair are introduced playing none other than Dungeons and Dragons, which is claimed to be a central theme of the story.

With the emphasis on their love for the game and the introduction of another D&D-obsessed character, Eddie Munson, Dungeons and Dragons is no longer a weird game deemed only for nerds, but a game that took the internet by storm.

The public interest in Dungeons and Dragons has skyrocketed since the release of Stranger Things. TikTok users have created D&D Stranger Things-themed starter packs, videos of the main cast playing their own campaign, and a new love for the demonic creatures that can be found both in the show and the tabletop game.

To further popularize the game, a new official Dungeons and Dragons movie was announced sending fans in a craze. 

Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves was announced at Comic Con 2022 and is due to be released in March 2023. The film is meant to be an in-depth tale of an average D&D party doomed to face several classic foes such as dragons and gelatinous cubes. With an extensive cast of infamous celebrities including Chris Pine, Sophia Lillis, and more, hopes are high for the new movie.

With the creation of the film Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves, the creative interest of people has risen to a higher level than ever before. A widespread buzz of new and old D&D fans has appeared across the globe, appreciating the beautiful variety of fantasy worlds that can be created by this classic tabletop roleplay game.

So, whether classified as nerdy or not, it’s clear that Dungeons and Dragons has landed a Nat 20 hit in catching the public’s attention, continuing to be the beloved game it has been for the last 50 years.