Tuesday, April 19, 2016

House of Lies, D&D


I stopped watching the show at the beginning of last year but my wife continues to check out the premium cable series about corporate consultants and their caustic, self-destructive, masters of the universe bullshit + occasional nudity and sex.

However, she only had to say one little thing to get me to watch season 5, episode 2's "Game Theory".  And that was Dungeons & Dragons!

Yes, a good portion of this half-hour Showtime episode revolves around a 5e D&D game.  Doug (one of the main characters) is the Dungeon Master and a prospective new client is one of his players.  There's already a lot of ripping people a new one on House of Lies.  Pretty much everyone's a dick to each other all the time.  So, the teasing that Doug experiences for admitting (for the first time, I'm going to assume) that he not only plays D&D regularly but leads his own group, is actually fairly mild comparatively.

Doug's boss is brought into the game in order to snatch up the would-be client.

Overall, I feel that House of Lies did D&D justice.  It didn't look down on fantasy roleplaying games, nor did it make the game (or us) look stupid.  In fact, there was just the hint of gamer superiority subtly shown.  For instance, Doug scolded Marty (his boss) for rolling dice like it was a craps table, rather than a roleplaying game.

Some of the encounters were summarized, as in "Last week we encountered a tribe of orcs", but some of the gaming happens at the table, in real-time.

Both the 5e D&D Player's Handbook and Monster Manual were shown in Doug's hands, as well as, a large white dragon miniature.  Oh yeah, some Dwarven Forge stuff was shown, too.

I'm also going to assume that D&D won't be brought up again in later episodes.  Usually, when a series delves into fantasy roleplaying, it's an isolated capsule episode that doesn't spill over into the rest of the season or later in the series.  Although, Community did a second D&D episode a year or two after their first.  Actually, I think Big Bang Theory did, also (begging the question, why isn't there an entire season-wide arc based on RPGs?)

In my humble opinion, getting RPGs the recognition they deserve is an endeavor 7 times as worthwhile as complaining about this thing or that thing.  Support your gaming community while improving it.

Work on introducing one or more people to the paper & pencil RPG hobby... soon!  Set up a game for co-workers, friends, neighbors, geek-friendly people in your city, or start a pop-up game somewhere in public and invite people to play who get close enough to see what you're doing.

It should go without saying, if you're going to do it, do it to the best of your ability.  Visual aids like this help (at a fraction of the cost of something like Dwarven Forge), but nothing attracts people to the game and keeps them playing like a skilled Game Master.

Maybe it's been awhile since you've GMed anything and you'd like a refresher.  Perhaps you've always considered your GMing to be lackluster...  For tips, tricks, and techniques that blends old school with millennial artistry, check out my own How to Game Master like a Fucking Boss on sale right now!

My wife still thinks that when guys my age die that games like D&D will die with us.  Let's prove her wrong by making the hobby of tabletop RPGs go viral.

Thanks,

VS