What Is This D&D Thing?

  • Posted on: January 24, 2012
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Prior to mid-2011, when it came to my online activities, they were primarily Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) related. A majority of those who are watching me (I hate saying “following”) on Twitter came from this period of time before Epic Inventor (a video game I designed and do art for) existed. With that said, many have begun watching me lately due to my work on Epic Inventor. It is from these people that I have been asked the following question many times now… That question being, “What is this ‘D&D’ thing you have been talking a lot about?”

A Quick Recap (it’s relevant)

Last year was crazy, let’s start there. Right at the beginning of 2011 I played Pathfinder for the first time. A die-hard Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) DM/Player since the age of 12, putting 4th Edition D&D aside for Pathfinder was a little difficult initially, even if Pathfinder IS essentially D&D. The first six months of the year involved a lot of Pathfinder gaming, but also a lot of Terraria playing as we got close to the halfway point.

By the time July (2011) came around, Terraria was hot among my circle of friends. I had convinced most of them to try it earlier and many were still playing at this point. I could not have guessed, even at the beginning of the month, that in a few short weeks I would be designing and doing the art for a new game inspired by Terraria; a game that myself and two friends would work on together called Epic Inventor. By the end of July we were already a week into development with plans for a December(ish) release.

My D&D and Pathfinder playing came to an immediate halt. I was working 40 hours a week at “the day job” and around 40 at home on our new game. As we closed in on December there were weeks that we worked 60 to even 80 hours on the game. My “day job” was starting to feel like a side job – I could barely remember what I had done there by the time Saturday rolled around. On the other hand, I was having regular dreams about Epic Inventor and could tell you everything about any aspect of it, whether it was completed or not. Needless to say, there simply was no more time for D&D.

By mid-December (2011), we had released the beta version of Epic Inventor to the world… or at least to those interested in trying it out (they were indeed from all over the world though!). An article in Rock Paper Shotgun said the game had a “Bright Future”, and the attention spurred a huge wave of downloads on Desura as well as from our website… things got kind of crazy (a good crazy, mind you).

Today

Work on Epic Inventor is still regular, but the hours have toned down a lot. We are re-discovering what it is like to have free time and we’re beginning to relax a little (just a little). My free time has always involved a lot of D&D, so I felt like this was a good time to address the question I mentioned earlier. For many watching me now, D&D is something they are only just hearing of, or they have heard of it but never play it. As such, I will try and quickly explain what my involvement in D&D means.

D&D Is The Best Game Ever Made (IMO)

I’m not joking, I usually lead with that. That was my answer when asked about it last week, and it wasn’t the first time I have so boldly stated my opinion on the subject. The thing is, I truly believe it. You can do anything. Your imagination creates, and the rules help set your creations in motion. No video game has ever come close to being as enjoyable to me as D&D – and I love me some video games.

I rarely have time to explain exactly what D&D is (especially because when I am asked about it, an answer would usually require typing it out) so I generally link to the wikipedia article when I’m rushed, and say “Scroll down to ‘Play Overview’”. Sometimes I link to the Chris Perkins video, it depends. Often times I have found that directing people to the first Robot Chicken video gets them really hooked in (“That looks awesome!”). They get to see D&D in action which can explain a lot in a way that can’t be done well with words. Of course, I usually throw in a “it may not show the RP aspect as well, but you certainly get an idea for it and for combat, etc”. Your examples may vary, but that’s usually how I start.

Weem and D&D

I’ve been a huge fan of D&D for 23 years now. I love DM’ing it (running the game) and I love playing it. I also love talking about it, and as a graphic designer I love to find interesting ways to incorporate it into various visuals – usually stuff at least I will find amusing. Much of this was being done over at the popular D&D/RPG site ENWorld(.org), but I decided that I needed one central place to locate all of my creations for easy finding later (searching for things via EN World was getting harder and harder). That place would be a new website – one I would call weem.com (for my RL nickname of “Weem”), only that was taken… so THEweem.com it was, followed immediately by the Twitter account @theweem.

It is from here that I launched a number of projects – from “The Golden Girl Gamers with Wil Wheaton” (which Wil Wheaton himself enjoyed) to an April Fools prank site dnd5.com. But for all of the parody that happens here, I do get serious about the game and have written a number of articles about D&D as well as created tools and props, the most popular of which are my 4th Edition Condition Cards.

My involvement in D&D in this fashion (as well as playing it) is my hobby – I enjoy it a lot. I have no ads here, and am not paid for the work – it’s all done for fun. Additionally, I consider myself an ambassador for the game (as I feel many others are that I watch/follow) – not from a place of any authority or anything official, but simply as someone who wants to see the table-top gaming industry grow, especially this game. What I say, do and create here and on Twitter (when related to D&D) always has the goal in mind of bringing more people to the game.

The End (finally, am I right?)

I hope that answers the question to those of you who are new to watching me and were not sure what D&D was about, or why I was talking about it a lot. I also hope this wasn’t a TL;DR kind of thing, but I understand if it was – I’m long-winded, so it comes with the territory. If you are still with me, please hit me up on Twitter if you have any questions about anything (D&D or Epic Inventor related – or anything really). I do my best to reply to everyone when it comes to Twitter (I’m pretty good at making it happen).

Thanks for reading!

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