here there be dungeons and dragons

Enter the Dragon from Roshan Murthy on Vimeo.

This is a delightful, short documentary about people who play D&D and other RPGs. If you've ever wondered why we play, or if you've ever attempted to explain to someone why we play, I think you'll enjoy it.

43 thoughts on “here there be dungeons and dragons”

  1. Very interesting, thank you for sharing. I’ve always wanted to play with serious players, maybe someday I’ll have to do so. But watching the video also made me realize I might not be the right person for enjoying such a hobby…which is neither good nor bad. 😉

  2. “The dorkiest game alive, according to everyone who HASN’T played it…” This is by far the best line in the documentary! Well said.

  3. Girls that cute have been playing RPGs for years. But it’s also years of men & boys not taking cute girls seriously. Or any women for that matter.
    I still, after 20+ years playing, have people ask me if I’m shopping for “your husband/boyfriend/sons”. Maybe if more men took women seriously as *gamers* and not just interested if they’re “cute”, it might even the odds a bit.
    Sorry, don’t mean to rant a bit about it or take it out on you. But really? It’s that kind of talk which keeps many women from the hobby as it makes for an uncomfortable environment. I kinda talk about it a lot:

  4. LOL … I was kidding (playing on the stereotype).
    When I was playing D&D our concerns were not about girls playing but instead about religious groups trying to get it banned.

  5. No worries. It’s hard to get tone when you don’t know someone. :) Still, it is important to /not/ start a convo about someone’s looks. But really, that happens so much everywhere else. I’M LOOKING AT YOU, INTARWEBS. *shakes tiny fist mightily*

  6. “…unless, of course, I had a shotgun.”
    He’s clearly not grounded in reality.
    Everybody knows that shooting Schwarzenegger in a bar would require a completely inappropriate switch to a CoC ruleset.

  7. Very well done.
    I really appreciate how they brought in the notion that this really does create a feeling of unity among players. I started playing in Tennessee and was able to connect to people when I moved to Alaska because I appreciated the art of RPGs, especially D&D.
    Long Live the Nerds!

  8. Love the video! I’ve been trying to get into the game (never played before, been reading through some of the books to get better acquainted), but none of my friends are receptive to the notion. How does one go about finding local players who’d be up for teaching a newbie the ropes?

  9. Above poster – get one of those sets that teach you the basic rules, rally some other newbies together and play from that. Then work your way up to the advanced stuff, buy the rule books and learn from that.
    That’s how I’ve learnt to play, in my little town in England there wasn’t anyone around who already played so I kidnapped some friends, learnt how to DM and now we’ve got a weekly game going :)

  10. Do you have a local game store? They often put people together. (It’s good for business, since more players discussing more games equals more sales.)
    I describe it to non-players as being like poker. It’s all about who you play with. Some are cut-throat serious, others are in it for the laughs, others for the story.
    The first few sessions can be awkward. New companions and new game. Be patient with yourself and ask for help when the choices get too complex. Some groups will let you observe a game.

  11. “It’s like they took World of Warcraft off line.”
    Ow ow ow ow! My head. That’s so exactly not. *sigh*
    I hope she knows that and was just trying to find an easy way to explain it to the kids.

  12. Oh, haha, no one has EVER made that joke before!
    I know you don’t mean to be part of the problem, but seriously, how often do you think girl gamers hear that joke? I’m sure at least half of everyone they have ever gamed with has said exactly the same thing. The joke is so old it’s growing moss. Please just stop.
    It’s not as bad as being one of the jerks that for some reason can’t stand to see girls gaming, but it’s not that much better.

  13. Well I do have to say that I didn’t predict the can of worms I was opening here.
    You do realize that male geeks tend to get stereotyped as well: overweight, socially awkward, living in their mother’s basement. Personally I choose to laugh it off (I haven’t lived in my mother’s basement for years!!).

  14. You can get it on DVD! Cheap, even! (I found it something like three weeks ago and I’m still excited about it…I haven’t had a chance to show it to my kids yet.)
    And, yeah, I winced, too.

  15. Apologies for going somewhat off topic, but am I the only person who thought that the gentleman in the red shirt looks like a younger version of the guy from Office Space?

  16. Interesting that you two bring this up. When I first started playing in the early 80s we had no girls playing with us at all. However, that turned out to be mostly our own fault because we believed girls wouldn’t get it…or make fun of us (chalk that up to the insecurity of being a tweener!).
    Then in the late 80s we discovered that girls did like the game and had several in our group.
    Now as a father of a 14 year old girl who takes after her dad in all the geeky pursuits, I can appreciate the challenges girls face. Her own peer group is probably the hardest nut to crack because while most of them talk about shopping and fashion she just wants to chat fantasy books and gaming.
    I have explained to her that highschool is still early (2nd year) and that there *are* other girls with her interests and she will find them. Some of it is her getting comfortable with joining in when she hears a group of boys talking about what she is dying to join in on…
    So I can appreciate the challenges a female gamer faces Danicia.

  17. Awesome video. I can’t even imagine what my life would have been like if I wasn’t introduced to D&D.
    In 1982 a kid moved into town, and joined my grade 7 class. He asked if I played D&D and when I said no, taught me to play. I often wonder if that kid, now a man, realizes just how much an effect that simple act had on people.
    Trevor Allen, wherever you are, there is a man in Northern B.C. who owes you one. Since I likely will never be able to thank you in person, I pay homage to you by introducing others to D&D at our local game store.

  18. I’m in much the same boat. I really, really want to play, but I don’t have any friends in town, let along those that would want to play. So I’m left listening to the PA podcasts over and over, sighing dejectedly while staring out a rainy window.

  19. Well, if you don’t have any local players, try online. has a great free programm called Maptools that is basically a virtual tabletop. And they have a forum where you can find other players and DMs.
    I’m currently on a D&D 4E game that has been going for the better part of a year with weekly 3 hour sessions.

  20. Danicia – I followed your link and read your blog post. I had a lot of similar experiences long ago. For whatever reason (probably dumb luck), I haven’t had to put up with much of that in a long time, and I’d forgotten how bad it can get. As you said, “…trying to sit at a table whilst a GM tried to force my characters into a rape scenario.” I walked away from those groups, and just had to hope there was better groups out there. And eventually I did find good groups. Some groups take patience, others are fun from the get-go, and with others its best to walk away immediately.
    Thank you for reminding me how good I have it now…I’m going to go email my current gaming group right now and tell them how awesome they are, for lots of reasons, but in particular, for not being one of _those_ groups.

  21. Oz, I hear you about those male geek stereotypes. I’m Chief Operating Office for a company’s Manhattan HQ, have an MA from an Ivy League school, and am thin and fit (at least for someone pushing 40-years-old). If I ever mention to associates or anyone other than really close friends that playing RPGs in the 1980s while in middle school and high school provided some of my life’s most enjoyable moments, they look at me like I have two heads, and then often make comments that imply one or both of these things: 1. Wow, I can’t believe you *used* to be like that, and 2. Are you sure you should tell people that? At which point I state clearly that I’d play RPGs now if I had the time–it’s not for lack of desire.

  22. *shudders* Oh god I do! That was taken about a year and a half ago. Roshan was doing a documentary and came in and asked us if we’d be okay with him filming us. I friend of mine who’s a as fan of Will’s blog just called me up and asked if I knew my “Mug was up on Will Wheaton’s Blog”. The shots of gaming were taken from a nation wide event and I was was packing so much stuff cause I was going to a local gaming con in Austin. Yes I am a Dice nut, the collection is up to 160+ sets right now (had to get a 4th tackle box). The Cat’s name is Kiba. I have two, the other is Kaze. Assuming I ran into the former Govenator and I was stuck with the D&D-ish Ruleset, I’d need a Ballista and try for the backstab (thank you Dead Gentlemen). I work as a CAD Drafter/Designer at a company in San Antonio now and I just turned 35. I do belive Harmony was referencing WoW as she did because it was assumed were were talking to an otherwise un-knowledgeable audience. Thanks for liking the video, I’ll be going into hiding now.

  23. Heya!
    Thanks for all the extra info. 160… sets of dice? You must be in the 1k neighbourhood then. That may even make Wil’s pile o’ dice roll in fear. So… can you ever have too many dice?
    Btw, thanks, you did us proud, right there. It’s always difficult to “act natural” when you have a camera in your face. But everyone in the vid came off nice and inviting, so I think that’s good for D&D.
    Enjoy your hidey-hole! 😉

  24. Hi all, after watching this vid I just HAD to drop in and say hi to you all. I’ve always been a geek, background in science, now work in IT, and while at university in the mid 80’s was introduced to gaming. Ever since then I’ve enjoyed this pass-time with likeminded friends. Now that our group is in its late 30’s/early 40’s we are finding it more difficult to get all of together on a routine basis as family and work commitments get in the way, but I can kind of see a day 20-30 years in the future where we are all hanging out in a retirement village, rolling dice and righting wrongs :)
    On the topic of female gamers, over the years I’ve had the pleasure of playing with some excellent and not-so-excellent gamers of both genders, and have also been in a group where the GM did something quite similar to the rape scenario mentioned by Shirleyjack above. I’m fairly certain in our group it was because the GM had the hots fot the young woman in question, and this was his twisted way of trying to attract her attention. I wasn’t overly impressed, and the neither was the player on the receiving end of the scenario. Luckily she stuck it out, had a chat with him outside of the game to sort his issues out, and she was able to continue on playing with no further problems. I guess he was one of those stereotypes in real life, the socially awkward young man who had initial difficulty interacting with women. I think we all learned a valuable lesson from that episode, and that is all part of growing as a person.
    Thanks Wil for the excellent blog, and if you’re ever in Christchurch, New Zealand, and feel like dropping in for a casual gaming session our group would make you feel welcome. Just make sure you bring some junk food :)

  25. Yes, Keri. There are multiple people who play WoW and it’s not even really considered “For nerdy people in dungeons” so I tried to relate DnD to that so people would better understand that we don’t host games in a basement with cloaks and candles and sacrificial cats.

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