June 20, 2021

Xbox One X

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Dungeons & Dragons helped me appreciate narrative game design

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It’s a Friday evening in October 2016, and there’s more paper on my desk than I have space for. There are slips of paper with notes. Flash cards with notes for the notes. Hand-drawn maps. A text file on a tablet with colour codes to find the corresponding notes a little quicker. Most importantly, there is a 440-page hardcover rulebook resting on my legs, with more colour-coded bookmarks sticking out of it.

Yup, that’s me. You’re probably wondering how I ended up in this situation. The easy answer to this question, as for most of the things that bring me equal amounts of joy and pain, is a game. In this particular case, it’s Dungeons & Dragons.

As someone who’s always enjoyed narrative-focused gameplay, it was only a matter of time before I’d end up playing D&D. I have always been drawn to roleplaying games, and D&D is the direct ancestor of many video game RPGs, both regarding their themes and game mechanics.

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