Over the last year, I have found my way back to the classic role playing game of Dungeons and Dragons. This game was as it’s pentacle back in the glorious days of the 80s when I was a older child and teen.
It was accompanied by a wave of fear that Dungeons and Dragons might bring on Satanism. With the images of Dragons and spell casters, the minds of the adults swore that it would bring destruction to the youth of the 80s. There was no basis for that but fear of the occult was strong the 80s.
D&D has always been a fun way to express oneself creatively. It is a combination of storytelling, acting, group bonding, and rolling dice. It is only limited by the creativity of the Dungeon Master and the players. It was never about animal or human sacrifice or even casting real spells.
Dungeons and Dragons went through less popular times of the 90s and the 2000s but it was still there. Some never stopped playing this game. It found a resurgent of popularity over the last decade with new and players from the classic times returning. Webseries like Critical Role has helped bring it to a bigger audience. The last few years have seen it bump in popularity.
Many questioned if the popularity of this non-video game, which you have to use your imagination and needed other people, could outlast COVID 19. Well it seems to have done just fine during these dark times.
There are several resource sites to help people create characters and play online. If you do a search, you will find several different sites with different resources to allow players to still play while at home. I grabbed onto one of these resources called D&D Beyond.
D&D Beyond is a platform that will allow you to create characters and roll dice on the site. It can be accessed on your mobile device so you don’t have to bring pencil and paper with you to the game. It allows you to share your character sheet and join a campaign so everyone including the Dungeon Master can see what you rolled. You can update your hit points and roll your damage right on your sheet.
The big catch with D&D Beyond is that you have to either buy the books on the site or if you are in a campaign the DM has to share their books and resources with the group. Most of the time, if a DM wants to utilize online resources like D&D Beyond, they have paid for the needed books for their campaign and they simply share them with the group.
When it is shared, you can use any of the resources to find what your character needs. Often the DM has explored this and can point you in the right place This really is no different than we did back in the day. We would either buy the books and share with our group or find someone to share them with us. But if you have bought all of the books in print, there isn’t a good way to bring that resource to D&D Beyond.
D&D Beyond also has a resource to create Homebrew or use other’s Homebrew items, ability, and ect. This is a great way to add something that might not be in a source book (or at least not one that you own on D&D Beyond).
I have played utilizing the D&D Beyond site with groups that use different online resources to bring the group together. Some will use D&D Beyond and host it on Teams or Zoom. Others have used it for in person sessions. I have even used the Virtual Table Top to play and DM. I will go into more details on my experiences with D&D Beyond and using AVTT next week for Part 2.