How Twitch and YouTube Have Driven the Revival of Dungeons and Dragons
Have you ever wanted to slay a dragon? Do you ever wish you could be a part of an epic story? Well, have we got a game for you!
The game of Dungeons and Dragons has had a cult following ever since its inception in 1974. Once largely relegated to basements, it is experiencing more mainstream exposure today than it ever has before. Read on to discover why Dungeons and Dragons is experiencing such a boom!
Dungeons and Dragons: Fifth Edition
In 2014, Wizards of the Coast released Dungeons and Dragons Fifth Edition. The release of the fifth edition is one of the reasons why D&D is gaining in popularity. The fifth edition is widely accepted to be a more accessible build than some of the previous incarnations of the game and makes it much easier for new players to jump in.
The fifth edition is also more inclined to focus on role-playing and story by design that the nitty-gritty of combat and stats. Combat is a part of it, but often there are elements of the fifth edition that try and encourage role-playing and collaborative storytelling.
Take the concept of “inspiration” for example. The Dungeon Master can grant a player inspiration as a reward for a role-playing choice that was pleasing and in character. It is completely at the DM’s when and why to award inspiration. The inspiration you earn by role-playing is then used in combat to grant advantage (a re-roll essentially) on an attack.
While the fifth edition made it easier for new players to get into D&D, it was live play videos and media that really brought D&D up out of the basement and into the light.
Critical Role is largely to thank for Dungeons and Dragons spike in popularity. Critical Role is a live actual-play show where eight friends and sometimes guests play the game. Episodes typically last about 3 hours.
What makes the group unique is that they are all professional voice actors; Matthew Mercer (Overwatch), Ashley Johnson (The Last Of Us) and Laura Bailey (Dragon Ball Z) are among them. Episodes air weekly on Twitch.tv and then they archive them on YouTube.
Their heartfelt storytelling and sincere friendships caused the show to gain a steady following and inspired many to try D&D for themselves. The shows following is incredibly evident, as they just broke a Kickstarter record by raising over $9 million dollars to fund a cartoon series of their party’s escapades!
The unique nature of these live games is that it allows the fans to participate much in the same way that sports fans do- or even more so. The suspense of watching as the team faces off against, not one, not two, but three dragons simultaneously, or clenching your fists and wringing your hands wondering if they will actually be able to revive their fallen comrade before they perish forever is intense. Many a viewer has arrived at work the day after a game goes long with red eyes and a smile on their face from the previous night’s adventure.
Shows like Critical Role bring fans into a world where anything can happen. Death is very possible, unlike most popular movies where you are guaranteed that the hero will survive and save the day in some way. Dungeons and Dragons, because it is improvised and beholden to things like dice rolls, creates a space where a story can form organically.
Now, aren’t you excited to try Dungeons and Dragons? All you need is a couple of friends, someone to Dungeon Master, a player’s handbook, and some dice!