I want to run a DnD campaign where everyone is a dragon.
Not a dragonborn or blooded or whatever it’s called nowadays.
An actual dragon.
I mean, dragons have to get their hoards from somewhere, right? Why not adventuring like everyone else?
My first encounter with DnD, if I think about it, was when I was about the age of the kids shown here. There were two Canadian boys at one of the holiday programs I attended once who taught me a super-modified, stripped down version of what was probably, in retrospect, some variant of first ed.1 We only played it once or twice, but I loved the concept.
(I was, it should be said, already a big Choose Your Own Adventure fan at the time. Shit, I even knew who Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone were thanks to Fighting Fantasy books, if we’re comparing Geek Cred. But, for some reason, I always considered “real DnD” to be in a kind of untouchable class of its own. An untouchable male class at that…)
Fast forward a few years to high school, when I finally made a female friend who knew how to play, and (importantly) taught me, Magic: the Gathering. I returned the favour by buying my first Werewolf: the Apocalypse books and running Our Very First Roleplaying Group. Because we were teenage girls, our stories were eerily reminiscent of what would nowadays be called “paranormal romance”–lots of boyfriends and kissing2 in between the werewolves and world-saving and whatnot.3
We played that through most of high school, until the group split up in college/senior high because of Reasons. Then, finally, I came back to DnD itself in university, care of my now-husband.
More importantly, however, is that interspersed throughout all of that were a zillion different games of make-believe, all of which I’d structure with “first, choose a character” (yeah, I was bossy, so kill me). In high school, we also used to play this free-form roleplaying game that I’d always start with “you’re skiing down a slope in the Alps and come to a fork in the road, do you go left or right?”, and would end up as a kind of zany, collaborative storytelling exercise I mostly remember because of the huge inventories the players would end up with, all of which I’d recite off the top of my head. (A mandatory item was always a packet of Tim-Tams that never runs out… and associated genie.) The same time period produced the game wherein someone would write an opening paragraph of story on a piece of paper, fold down said paper until only the last line of story was visible, and pass it onto the next person to continue… who’d pass it onto the next person and so on and so forth. These two games eventually merged together into a single collaborative writing exercise that we’d fill up exercise books with, and which I’m sure I’d cringe to see again because, from memory, I was a bit of a controlling jerkbag about.
Point being, of fucking course girls play roleplaying games. I mean, okay. I’m old now but I refuse to believe girls still don’t do the sorts of things we used to do back in the 90s and early 2000s (though they probably do them on, like, Tumblr or Snapchat or whatever Kids These Days are into). It’s just that our roleplaying tended to be organic efforts rather than packaged consumer products, and thus “didn’t count” as far as mainstream nerdboy culture was concerned.
There’s probably an entire other essay in that one, now that I’m thinking about it. But I’ll leave it up to someone else to write…
My personal sense is that I’ve always been much more leery about offending gay and transgender folks by fumbling the issue in an effort to include them. I’m not worried about offending bigots – quite the opposite, in fact.
–Mike Mearls, Lead Designer for D&D, talking about sex and gender inclusivity.
Thanks, mainstream media, for noticing. Seriously. Cookies for you.
For the record, mine were White Wolf World of Darkness games rather than DnD, which I thought was sort of twee and silly and didn’t play until I was about eighteen.
What can I say? I’ve just always loved modern urban fantasies (with portal fantasy elements) moreso than rose-eyed nostalgia about some sort of pastiche of medieval Europe…