Assignment 1- What makes me happy on the Internet?

Hey, everyone! Hope you’re having a wonderful week.

My most recent hyperfixation has been TTRPGS– Tabletop Roleplaying Games– like Dungeons & Dragons and Pathfinder. For those unaware, TTRPGs are a form of group storytelling; One person, usually called the Game Master or GM, creates a world and a story, and everyone else at the table creates a character who participates and directs how the story goes. If you’ve ever watched shows like Stranger Things, it’s what the kids in that play.

If you’re into Fantasy and Sci-Fi or just fiction in general, it’s an awesome way to be able to craft your own daring adventures and let your imaginations run wild. And honestly? It’s a load of fun.  I’m a part of a group that meets every Saturday, and it’s a blast. For three to four hours every weekend, I get to hang out with my friends, relax and snack, and take part in a collaborative story about a bunch of brave heroes fighting against the forces of evil. It’s basically like getting to experience your own fantasy novel.

Now you might be wondering how exactly it works, and I’ll try my best to explain.

There are countless TTRPG systems, and they all focus on different genres and settings. Some are about Fantasy, some are about Science Fiction, some focus on Horror, some let you play as superheroes. Anything you can imagine, there’s probably a game system for it. But for simplicity’s sake, I’ll focus on Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition, or DnD5e, which is the most popular system right now.

In DnD, the Game Master sets the scene. For example, your group of adventurers may be exploring a dungeon, so the GM will describe what the dungeon’s moss-covered walls, the cold stone, the sound of dripping water in the darkness, to get you immersed into the scene. They’ll also describe the enemies and obstacles you’ll encounter. In a dungeon, you might deal with undead skeletons, or traps or cave-ins.

The players all come with character sheets which detail everything you need to know about your character. Say, for example that you’re playing a cunning thief, or a brilliant wizard, all of the things your character can do will be detailed in the sheet.

Here’s the sheet for one of my characters. It looks like a lot when you first start, but I guarantee it’s a lot simpler than it seems:

This all says, put simply, the things my character is good at. He’s a big, burly warrior who fights with a giant sword. He’s good in a fight, but he’s not very smart and he’s very socially awkward.

So, in a dungeon, my character would do very well in a fight against skeletons, and he’d probably be able to dig his way out of a cave-in, but he’s not very smart so he might fall prey to traps.

To determine what happens, I will have to roll a dice, usually a 20-sided one, and then add relevant numbers on the left to meet or beat a number set by the GM. So, for example, to avoid the trap I might have to roll something to do with intelligence, and meet or beat 15. Since I’m bad at intelligence rolls, I don’t add anything, and if the total of my roll meets of exceeds 15, my character avoids being hurt. If I don’t, then I take damage and my character is injured in some way.

This makes it so that there’s always some narrative tension– I can’t just say that my character is a golden God who succeeds at everything he tries. Because he can fail, his successes have meaning.

With that frankly far too long explanation out of the way, let me explain why I enjoy TTRPGs.

They’re a fantastic way to develop self-confidence and public speaking skills, in an environment that’s not very high stakes. Everyone feels awkward at first, and most people understand that everyone needs a little time to get used to it. It also helps you think creatively, and flexes the little brain muscles of your imagination. And above all, it’s just a ton of fun.

If DnD interests you, then there are countless resources online to try and find a game. I personally use the LFG (looking for group) subreddit on Reddit to find my games. And if you’re (understandably) nervous about meeting strangers in real life, there are a bunch of online sites where you can sign up to play through sites like Zoom or Discord, the most popular of which is Roll20.

And if it doesn’t interest you, that’s fine too. We all have differing tastes, and I appreciate you reading through this post to learn more about something I’m passionate about.

1 thought on “Assignment 1- What makes me happy on the Internet?”

  1. Great work!
    Nice job on the written descriptions and sharing your thoughts / reflections.
    Feel free to add a few more hyperlinks as it gives more context for the reader,

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