In my nerd world, it is always time to talk about Dungeons and Dragons. There is never a wrong time to bring up halflings, bards, demigorgons, and critical rolls. Never.
This isn’t true of everyone. And about a decade ago, these conversations where done in secret nerd basements, not on website blogs or coffee shops. Being a nerd is cool now – and the biggest proof of this is the resurgence of popularity in the pinnacle of nerd-culture: a little RPG called Dungeons and Dragons.
My favorite proof of the renaissance of D&D is the celebrity component. It is glorious fun to watch early 2000s celebrities like Matthew Lillard and Freddie Prinze Jr. take their turn at the table. The fact that the average nerd can tune in on YouTube and watch a D&D game in action is one of the benefits of being a nerd in 2018 – the technology, baby!
In addition to celebrity name-dropping, Wizards of the Coast (the company that makes and publishes D&D) has upped their marketing strategy, allowing for new crossovers with other products (like the Magic:The Gathering meets D&D campaign guide that dropped in November) and sleek and aesthetically pleasing spell cards and item decks. Websites like Geek and Sundry, Critical Roll, and Beadles and Grimm have established a trendy internet presence. Podcasts like Adventure Zone have ballooned in popularity to become graphic and fantasy novels.
So what do you need to know to join in the nerdery and excitement of D&D? I’ve made a handy list of essentials just for you:
Dungeons and Dragons Player’s Handbook 5e
If you want to play, you need to know how. This is only book you need to start playing (another option, if the idea of a book scares you, is to grab the Starter Box). Within its pages lies all the information you need to create a character and play the game. Once that is done, you are ready to find a group and start playing! Onward to greatness, you glorious nerd!
It really does help to read the essentials in heroic and epic fantasy fiction. If you haven’t already, grab a copy of The Hobbit or Lord of the Rings. If Tolkien isn’t your brand, jump into The Wheel of Time or The Sword of Truth (by Robert Jordan and Terry Goodkind, respectfully). Not into that sword and sorcery jam? Maybe you like your heroes with some bite? Pick up a copy of any book by Joe Abercrombie, Michael Moorcock, or Mark Lawrence. Wait? Are there no female fantasy writers? Of course there are: Kate Elliot, S.A. Chakraborty, and N.K. Jemisin. Honestly, read all the fantasy you can. People that play D&D usually have a wealth of fantasy literature in their brains that help them create better characters and have a richer game experience. P.S. If you aren’t a “reader”, you have zero excuses. Watch some Game of Thrones like the rest of the universe.