Super great new Marketing Intern Jess has been brushing up on her D&D knowledge to help even the RPG novice feel prepared for the greatness that will be Tripod Versus the Dragon!
I have a confession to make.Â Itâ€™s been a long time coming, but I knew I would have to cop to it eventually.
I have been faking my geek.
I know, I know.Â Itâ€™s hard to believe.Â I can recite all the Batman movies by heart.Â I could tell Aayla Secura from Zuckuss if I found myself in a galaxy far, far away.Â In college, I took a class called The Physics of Marine Mammals because it sounded awesome (and it totally was).Â But when it comes down to where it counts, I was faking it.Â And where it counts is D&D.
Dungeons and Dragons, the role-playing game that started role-playing games, was a language I did not speak until 2 weeks ago.Â I laughed at jokes I did not understand about orcs and mages and dice with more sides than anyone could possibly need.Â I nodded and smiled when told Iâ€™d make a great DM.Â However, when I learned I had been out-geeked by Vin Diesel, I knew it had to stop.
This weekend, MASS MoCA will debut an opera titled Tripod Versus the Dragon, and I am going to laugh at every joke.Â For the first time, it will be the laugh of â€śYes, I got that, because I am geeky and fabulous.â€ťÂ If you are nervous about not speaking Ye Olde D&D, I encourage you to share in my cheat-sheet.
(all instructions based on the 4th edition of the game, unless otherwise noted)
D&D, DnD â€“ Dungeons and Dragons; very popular, complicated, mythical game involving a usually set but possibly rotating group of individuals who act out scenarios as characters they create
RPG â€“ Role-Playing Game; players act and speak as characters they create during game play
DM â€“ Dungeon Master; guide, storyteller, referee
PC â€“ Player Characters; everyone who is not a DM
NPC â€“ Non-Player Characters, such as monsters, etc.; played by the DM
Monsters â€“ animals, mythical creatures, general antagonists
Dragon â€“ most dangerous creature, fantastic singing voice
Girl â€“ strange mythological creature; most sightings unconfirmed
Books â€“ Playerâ€™s Handbook, Monster Manual, and Dungeon Masterâ€™s Guide are the 3 core ones; others may be used but are not required
Ability Scores â€“ traits that dictate a characterâ€™s skills such as Strength, Constitution, Dexterity, Intelligence, Wisdom, Charisma; determined by dice roll
Race â€“ species; Dragonborn, Dwarf, Eladrin, Elf/High Elf, Gnome/Rock Gnome, Half-Elf, Half-Orc, Halfling, Human, Tiefling
Character Class â€“ call of duty, roll
Cleric, Clr â€“ healer
Fighter, Ftr â€“ defending warrior
Paladin, Pal â€“ holy knight, divine spellcaster
Ranger, Rgr â€“ skilled woodsman, agile striker
Rogue, Rog â€“ sneaky, nimble trickster
Warlock, Wlk â€“ dark leader, invokes magic through darkened soul
Warlord, Wld â€“ master tactician, commander
Wizard, Wiz â€“ arcane magic user
Alignment â€“ ethical and moral perspective; typically illustrated in 3×3 grid but 4th edition offers a streamlined view with only Lawful Good, Good, Unaligned, Evil, and Chaotic Evil
Lawful Good â€“ crusader; Dick Tracy, Seeley Booth
Neutral Good â€“ benefactor; Aslan, Albus Dumbledore
Chaotic Good â€“ rebel with a conscience; Robin Hood, Captain Mal
Lawful Neutral â€“ judge; James Bond, Inspector Javert
Neutral â€“ balancer; Rick Blaine, Han Solo
Chaotic Neutral â€“ anarchist, free spirit; Tyler Durden, The Plague
Lawful Evil â€“ tyrant; Megatron, Voldemort
Neutral Evil â€“ selfish malefactor; Bob Ewell, Fenrir Greyback
Chaotic Evil â€“ destroyer; Sweeney Todd, Reavers
Game Play â€“ requires 7 2 Liter bottles of carbonated beverage, several bags of snacks; players discuss plans with DM in character
Campaign â€“ series of related adventures
Dice â€“ 5 dice of different sides (a typical 6-sided die is written as a d6) used to determine penalties, processes, etc.; d4, d6, d8, d20, 2 d10 (used together as a d100)
Figures, Grid â€“ assumed but not required; can be bought or made
Dressing Up – also not required, but potentially awesome
Experience Points, XP â€“ increase with level, awarded to characters for doing tricky things
Hit Points, HP â€“ measure of life; lost by characters when attacked successfully
Attack Bonus â€“ quantitative measure of fighting prowess
Saving Throw â€“ a high number rolled will reduce or avoid damage from an attack
Happy spell casting, and enjoy the show!
Marketing Intern Jess has nightmares about Grell.