Dungeons and Dragons: More Than Meets the Eye

You and your party walk into a dimly lit room. From what you can see, the room is clean. Strangely clean, in fact. Almost... too clean. As your bard takes a step forward, a hidden pressure plate activates a mechanism, closing the door behind you and opening a hatch in the ceiling. A giant slime drops onto you and your group, filling the room and trapping you all in it's gelatinous grasp. As you all struggle to break free, the slime is slowly lifted back into the ceiling, taking your entire party with it, leaving no trace that you had even been in the room. Total Player Kill.

For anyone who hasn't played Dungeons and Dragons, it may seem very strange or confusing, but it's rather quite simple. One person serves as the "Dungeon Master," who assumes the role of narrator and plays as any NPCs (Non-Player Characters) that you may come into contact with. Players create their own character, and will decide what their character does and says in the game. Roleplaying comes into effect here, because if your character's backstory and class is more oriented towards being evil, it's expected that your character will often do unlawful things. Players will often roll a 20-sided die for skill checks(such as Stealth, or Performance), with a 1 being the worst possible outcome, and a 20 being the best outcome. A player's poor roll could reveal the entire party's location to the nearby guards, or they could roll a 20, and deal a huge amount of damage to the troll terrorizing the locals. Combat is a focal point of D&D, and works in a similar fashion to turn based RPGs. All characters(including enemies) involved in combat roll for "Initiative", which determines the order of attack. Each character gets a major action(which is used for attacking, or casting a spell), a minor action(which is used for drawing a weapon, or opening a door), a bonus action(used for drinking a potion or activating a magical item), and a movement(a certain number of feet that characters can move on their turn). Combat requires a degree of teamwork and cooperation, because if the team has poor communication, it's possible that someone may be hit by their ally's spell, or two spells may have an unexpected effect when combined. While all these conditions may seem complicated, after about 15-20 minutes, you'll find yourself immersed and the system of rolling and roleplaying will come naturally.
A typical set of dice includes a 20-sided die, a 12-sided die, a 10-sided die, a 8-sided die, a 6-sided die, and a 4-sided die. 

One of the best parts of D&D is the fact that you literally have the freedom to do whatever you want(to the DM's discretion of course.) Want to have a Fairy warrior? Go for it. A Panda wizard? Sure! The story doesn't even have to take place in a fantasy world. You could play as a team of superheroes in a dystopian society, or you could play as survivors of a nuclear war(totally not Fallout). Dungeons and Dragons is the only game I've experienced complete and utter freedom to do whatever the heck I want. Once you've made your character, you can begin playing. You tell the DM what you'd like your character to do, such as "I'd like to go to the closest town and see if anyone needs help," or "I'd like to go to the nearest town and burn it to the ground." That's the best part about Dungeons and Dragons: you have the freedom to do literally anything. Players are normally introduced into the world with a main quest, but the party is completely in control of their actions. If the party decides they'd rather sneak past the giant ravaging a nearby village, they can. However, that giant may return as a bigger threat later on in the campaign, destroying a city instead of a village. Ultimately, the players' sense of freedom all comes down to the DM, who serves as an omniscient presence, who ultimately controls how the game plays. 
An example of an enemy you may come across as you progress

Ultimately, I believe that everyone should try and play Dungeons and Dragons at least once. It's a truly unique experience that can't be replicated by video games, simply because in D&D you can do anything that comes to mind. Plus, it's fun to sit down for a few hours at someone's house, and just goof around and play a board game. I find myself counting down the days until D&D night, simply because it's a time I can just unwind and let loose in the fictional world. 

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