A tale of dungeons and dragons

A Tale of Dungeons and Dragons

Norman Hensley has been playing roleplaying games since the age of 12 — tonight is no exception. Every Sunday, Hensley gets together with several friends to play Savage Worlds, a roleplaying game set up similarly to the classic Dungeons and Dragons. Hensley leads as the game master. His voice rises and falls as the game intensifies, weaving an intricate story of trolls and dragons for the two players.

Roleplaying games, though diverse, are based on storytelling. They prompt players to lead their character through a fantasy world. According to the official Dungeons & Dragons website, the emergence of official roleplaying games began with Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) in 1974, and has since grown to include massive multiplayer online (MMOs) roleplaying games online or even live action roleplay, often referred to as LARPing.

Hensley, like many other longtime roleplayers, prefers what is called pen-and-paper roleplaying games, which include games like D&D, Savage Worlds and Star Wars Miniatures. Pen-and-paper roleplaying games require players to develop written character sheets with stats and make decisions in the game by rolling dice.

The game is based heavily on telling a story created by the game master and less on enacting decisions that may be the basis of digital roleplaying games. “It’s very epic or it can also be very low-down and dirty,” described Hensley, describing how different one game may be from the next.

The game, like traditional tabletop games, is usually played around a table with several players in addition to the game master. However, there is no specified board, pieces or winner that is seen with tabletop games. Game masters will often make their own boards and pieces or buy unique pieces and parts designed for a variety of different roleplaying games.

Hensley, like the two players playing Savage Worlds on Sunday night, has become a part of gaming culture that is rooted in social storytelling. From intricate handmade pieces to a detailed fantasy story, pen-and-paper roleplaying games provides players with unforgettable experiences.

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