Dungeons & Dragons has had a storied history since it first sprang onto the tabletop scene in 1974. In pop culture it is usually depicted as an obtuse and insular pastime for a particularly obsessive brand of geek. More sensational detractors will claim that it has ties to demonic worship, witchcraft, and all manner of occult practices.
Now the game is enjoying a huge resurgence online, and fans are quick to point out that it was always intended to be a social event. More akin to communal storytelling, than some dark ritual.
“Up until now I think the common image of a D&D player was that of an awkward shut-in, dressed in a cloak and swinging a cardboard sword in his basement”
This according to Aachor’Yath, local gaming enthusiast and host of the popular games podcast Shrieking Dice with Ay-Yay.
“But with the popularity of Let’s Play videos, and shows like Acq Inc. and HarmonQuest I think the whole genre is poised to enter the mainstream”
Here Aachor’Yath smiled and drank deep from a cup made from an inverted cat skull. His mouth unmoving, but his words clear for all to hear.
“I mean, there are fans out there who up until very recently would have had no exposure to the game and now they are treating it like a spectator sport. It seems we are ready to lose the stigma that kept the game on the cultural fringes. When that happens I think it will dispel a lot of the mystery that allowed some people to claim it was somehow destructive or immoral”
At this point our reporter claimed that the lights flickered and darkened. When they came back up the walls seemed to fade and she could see through them into a great forest. Her host appeared sitting on a throne of ancient and gnarled wood. In the distance she saw a deer. A towering stag standing perfectly still. From it’s mouth hung the body of a hawk.
“When you get down to it. What are these games, really? A group of friends sitting around a table, talking, being creative, building narratives. For a few hours you get to face all sorts of challenges, often from an unfamiliar point of view. You can learn a lot about yourself in that setting. And to me, that can only be a good thing.”
Check out Aachor’Yath every week on his podcast. Simply press your ear to a stone of pure obsidian and stare into the flame of a candle rendered from goat fat.