All I Want for Christmas: A Dungeons & Dragons Christmas Carol

It’s enough to make a person laugh if they’ve ever played Dungeons and Dragons since a lot of us that enjoy the game might understand this to a tee. A Christmas carol might be a little ‘meh’ but at the same time the many frustrations that come with the game would be great to magically disappear for at least a short time so that the game came be played as desired instead of as schedules dictate. Anyone that’s played or still plays D&D knows that personal schedules tend to interfere horribly with the game, as can the fact that all of the materials can be so horribly expensive, so Christmas is of course one of the best times to ask for various items that can make a campaign run a little smoother. Some people might not need a whole lot of the stuff that some folks think is required to run and play the game, after all a dice tower is something that some folks might think is needed but in truth all it really seems to do is keep your dice from rolling everywhere. It’s a cool device but not necessarily needed. Miniatures, landscapes, maps, those on the other hand are quite handy since they give a sense of size, scale, and are great since they let the characters know just who’s interacting with who and where they stand. But oh yeah, it all costs a good amount and can leave your pockets empty to the point that even moths won’t be left to fly out.

Having played D&D I can honestly say it’s a lot of fun but unless you’re going to stick to the core books, the Dungeon Master’s Guide, the Player’s Handbook, and the Monster Manual, then you’re going to be spending roughly $40 dollars or more per book and reading about as much as a grad student just to learn various rules, characters, and how all of it comes together using various implements and tools that all require their own literature. Oh yes, it’s that involved. Not only do you build your character from the ground up, meaning race, gender (we won’t get any further than that), and class, but you get to give them characteristics, different weapons and armor, based on what your class can use and what the Dungeon Master allows. Some are lenient and some are strictly by the book, it all depends on who you’re playing with and what kind of campaign they run. Some might take you from level 1 and go old school while others might allow you magic items and start you off a little higher level depending on what they’ve got in store. But before your head starts whirling around with all the possibilities just remember, this is supposed to be a FUN game.

Despite all the rules, and there are a lot of rules that the DM has to remember and play by to keep it fun and engaging, the players aren’t bound by much except their actions and the resulting consequences. You might think that in the game the consequences don’t matter, and they don’t in real life, but whatever your character does by your direction has a consequence according to the rules. For instance if you’re trying to sneak up on monster and roll a natural 1 it won’t matter if you have a Move Silent skill with the highest modifier possible, you instantly fail and might be rolling to see if you or the monster react first. Another example would be trying to talk your way out of a jam using a skill like Diplomacy or a straight-up Charisma check. If you roll a natural 20, the best anyone can get, then you become a silver-tongued diplomat that could charm the most cantankerous person in the world. There are a lot of different scenarios to D&D and almost all of them require a skill check of some sort. Keith Stuart of The Guardian has more to say on the subject.

But oh, the money it costs to play this game. Some people can do it on the cheap and use their imaginations to the greatest extent, but a lot of folks prefer to have as many materials as they can get on hand, which means hundreds of dollars at the very least for a decent-sized campaign. When you think of miniatures, maps, landscapes, character sheets, books, and any other implements you might want for your game it’s time to break out the wallet or checkbook and start paying out to get what you want. Asking Santa to pony up for it all might produce a hearty, belly-shaking laugh that would mean you just rolled a natural 1 and are kindly being told ‘no chance in hell’ since Santa probably has an opposing and long-standing roll of natural 20s when it comes to granting the wishes of greedy kids. Hey, you can always try, right?

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