The role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons is almost 40 years old, and it’s more popular than ever. Each player takes on the role of a character (human or non-human) possessed with skills and attributes (strength, intelligence, dexterity, etc.) determined by throwing polyhedral dice. The players are banded together and embark on an imaginary adventure filled with monsters, traps, and treasures. Games can last for tens or hundreds hours, stretched over weeks or months of multiple gaming sessions. (A player’s character can be used in future adventures, and it becomes more powerful over time.)
One player in the group is the Dungeon Master, who is responsible for maintaining the imaginary world. Dungeon Masters can either create an adventure from scratch or buy an adventure outline (with maps and other supporting materials) from the publisher. Masters spend much of their time describing the environment to the players, serving as referee, and taking on the roles of non-player characters.
The rules for Dungeons & Dragons can be overwhelming. Start with the low-priced “red box,” which contains polyhedral dice, introductory rules, and a sample adventure. Work your way up from there.