Dungeons and Dragons first popped up in 1974, but it’s more popular now than ever before. The classic game was featured in the first season of popular Netflix series “Stranger Things,” with the main characters taking on a Demogorgon in real life. That cameo gave the game a bit of a boost in interest from viewers, and 10 million people are still playing it today, according to estimates from the game’s creators, Wizards of the Coast. And the company has been seeing record sales over the past few years of D&D merchandise. We stopped by the Twenty Sided Store in Brooklyn to learn how to play the game from a few experts. Following is a transcript of the video.
Alex Appolonia: No idea what I’m getting myself into.
The wizard fired magic missile at the skull, which reflected back, and I blocked it with my shield.
I am Alex Appolonia from Business Insider. I’m at the Twenty Sided Store today in Brooklyn, and I am learning how to play Dungeons & Dragons for the first time.
Greg Tito: Dungeons & Dragons is a fantasy role-playing game in which you get together with a bunch of friends and tell stories.
Lauren Bilanko: I teach people how to play all the time, and I find that a lot of people come in with no experience. They have nothing. They have never done it before. Can take a pre-generated character, and sort of by the end of the first session, really get a handle on how the game is played and what’s going on.
Tito: It is in its 43rd year. It’s been around a long time.
“We’re in deep s***!”
“Will, your action!”
“I don’t know!”
Tito: Yeah, “Stranger Things” is amazing. We got a huge boost in people wanting to learn more about Dungeons & Dragons from that show.
Chris Snyder: Do you know what a Demogorgon is?
Appolonia: A what?!
This is a whole other world to me. So it should be … fun?
Bilanko: Everybody have a pencil?
Appolonia: Yup, I have one.
So what are the different pieces involved in the game? I see some props here, some dice. Are there cards as well? Are we gonna get dressed up?
Bilanko: We could get dressed up. I have some capes. I’ve got some masks.
Tito: There’s something really amazing about having a a fixed image. You know, so this is what my character looks like.
Bilanko: This is their worst nightmare. A dracolich on top of Skull Mountain.
Tito: People will get intimidated sometimes by the rules, or the numbers, or even the dice.
Appolonia: So you gotta be really good at maths.
Bilanko: Yeah, well, so …
Appolonia: Let me use my fingers!
Tito: But as long as you’re telling the story and that you’re using your imagination with your friends, that’s all Dungeons & Dragons is.
Appolonia: There is a Dungeon Master. And the Dungeon Master kinda leads the whole game.
How do you become the Dungeon Master?
Bilanko: Oh man, you gotta put in a lot of work and a lot of time to organise. Usually you become the Dungeon Master because you really love telling stories.
Appolonia: It’s my first time playing. Any tips?
Bilanko: Think about who your character is, what your character looks like, what your character would do. When there is an opportunity for failure, then I will ask you to roll something, and we’ll use these stats on your character sheet.
Appolonia: Are we all friends?
Bilanko: Let’s figure that out. Let’s figure that out right now.
Appolonia: You have to have an open mind. You have to have a big imagination. And you really have to embody the character.
I am the rogue!
Bilanko: So, we’ll kinda go around. We’ll sorta talk about what our strengths are, what our character names are.
Appolonia: My party included me, the rogue, a wizard, and a dwarf.
Player: My character, his name is … Doornot.
Tito: I’m playing Falcore.
Appolonia: And my name is Havero Raysas. And I have a very deep voice that I embody. I think I’m not gonna do the voice if no one else is doing the voice.
So I have this sword that when I point them at someone, they can respond to me telepathically.
My armour is deep purple.
Bilanko: A lot of the things that can be learned as you go. There’s a lot of resources online and things like that that can help you out.
As a rogue, you have some cool special abilities. So, you have sneak attack.
Appolonia: I’m catching on. I’m slowly catching on. And I have a wonderful team here to help walk me through this.
So we started off where we were investigating an archaeological dig.
Bilanko: They seem to have stumbled upon what they believe to be dragon bones.
Appolonia: I am so ready to hunt for dragons. Bring it on1
Bilanko: A woman walks into the room. She’s got dirt on her face. She’s kind of got some weird like artifact that looks kind of like a skull head that she sort of sets down on the table.
Dragons will prevail. The egg petrified in stone will hatch with cold spell.
Appolonia: It was definitely hard in the beginning to get into the story. I could feel myself kind of pulling back and like seeing what everyone else kinda was saying and bringing to the table.
Tito: Do you know what these say?
Appolonia: I don’t know what to say.
And then we ended up going into a cave.
Bilanko: It starts to get really dark. There are some torches that have been lit along the way.
Appolonia: I have my own torch. Literally pulled it out of my pocket.
Tito: What was your name again?
Bilanko: Oh, my name is Solandra Bernhardt. I play all the characters. I play all the NPCs. I play all the monsters.
Hi. Hi. I’m Jimmy!
They have summoned me to protect this place.
I have got a very loose storyline that I am playing. So I know so so I know, sort of, where I’m leading them and what they’re going to find when they get there, but hwo they interact with it is totally up to them.
Appolonia: Did you guys feel a trembling?
Tito: Like a tremor?
Appolonia: Yeah, I felt a tremor.
So I climbed up this mountain, and I found this rock. And I remember it being warm.
Bilanko: As soon as you touch it, you need to make me a constitution saving throw.
Appolonia: It ended up kinda pushing me back. And I fell to the ground. I passed out.
I’m definitely going to die. I’m just kidding.
Everything is a little foggy and I feel like my skin almost is … it’s kinda getting these like blisters on it.
Once you get into the game, and you kinda don’t care about what anybody else thinks, that’s really when the fun kinda comes about.
I’m really good at climbing. And I see there’s a little opening at the top.
I see some some footprints. Some deep, large footprints.
So then we made our way into this other room. It was a castle.
Bilanko: You smell cinnamon. It smells sweet.
Appolonia: Once we went into the room, it was dark, and I remember having my shield. I had my sword. And I was the one that was kinda like, alright, I got this.
I took a step forward. And there was an altar. And on the altar was a skull.
Bilanko: It looks like something in its eyes is starting to glow.
Appolonia: And I ended up pointing my sword to the skull, and I said, “How did you get here?” and, “What can you tell us?”
Bilanko: I am the protector of this realm, and you have teleported into a place that you should not be. Nobody leaves this room without answering to me.
Appolonia: So the wizard fired magic missile at the skull.
Bilanko: It sort of absorbs those missiles, and it shoots them back at you.
Appolonia: And I blocked it with my shield. I don’t know where my shield came from, but I just pulled it out.
I definitely enjoyed playing Dungeons and Dragons, especially for my first time. I was hesitant at first, a little nervous, but I feel like once I got into the game, it definitely became easier.
Bilanko: She definitely jumped right in and got into the action. And I think, there’s no wrong or right way to play D&D.
Yeah, I think you did a great job. Cus at the end of the day, fun is what matters.
Appolonia: I definitely would want to play again, and I think I would come back as a Dungeon Master.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.