Back to D&D basics – creating a character (VIDEO)

After my little detour in to some of the more, shall we say, asinine things that pop up from time to time regarding Dungeons and Dragons, it feels nice to get back in to some classic D&D basics. Namely, making your own character.

For me, this is admittedly one of the more intimidating tasks in D&D but also one of the most fun! There are so many inputs in to character creation that it’s difficult to chunk it in to logical steps. But at the same time, the fact there are so many inputs is what makes creating your own player character so much fun.

The other cool thing about making a character is that it’s a part of the game that doesn’t require you to try to schedule a bunch of time with a bunch of different people.

It’s just you, your player’s handbook, your imagination, and a blank character sheet.

I hope you enjoy video 1 in what I hope becomes a very instructive playlist for the beginning player.

Is D&D Demonic, revisited (VIDEO)

A few days ago I uploaded a sort of “tongue in cheek” video tackling the age old question, “Is Dungeons and Dragons demonic?” That video prompted quite a bit of commentary on some of the D&D sub-reddits. I thought some of the commentary was quite thoughtful, which caused me to reflect a bit on the original video.

The result was a “part 2” video which I just uploaded this morning.

Is D&D Demonic
Image via YouTube screengrab

I hope you all enjoy this approach as well and tangentially, it sort of occured to me that this might be a great lead-in question to have a conversation using “street epistemology.”

For those unfamiliar with the term, street epistemology is a “dialectical approach intent on helping people reflect on the reliability of the methods used to arrive at deeply-held beliefs.”

In other words, while in the process of explaining what D&D is so that ones fears are assuaged, you can probe what gives your interlocutor confidence that demons are actually real! Pretty cool huh?

So even though these two videos are a part of my Dungeons and Dragons playlists, they are also the first of a new series of videos I’m cataloguing under the playlist: Critical Thinking. Something for which we seem to be in very short supply!

I’ve built my Twitter following more or less under the umbrella of tackling irrational ideas, so hopefully this cross-pollination will grow some pretty cool fruit.

I hope you enjoy it! And please subscribe to my channel if you haven’t already!

Post election burn-out, Dungeons and Dragons, and YouTube

Drinks & Dragons
Drinks & Dragons original idea logo

As I mentioned in my January 5th piece, New Year, New Project: Drinks & Dragons, this past 2016 presidential cycle sort of kicked me in the teeth. I won’t waste space here listing the reasons…and there are plenty of reasons…so instead I wanted to talk a little bit more about why I picked D&D as my…shall we say…outlet.

First, some history. I played D&D when I was as kid in the early 1980s. If my memory serves I would have started as a 5th grader and continued through probably 7th grade. I remember loving it! But then 8th grade rolled around and something weird happened. I began to give a shit what other kids thought about me! Super weird right?

Never before had I been too terribly concerned with being labeled a “geek” or a “nerd,” but with the prospect of High School looming on the horizon, my shallow preteen self actually started fretting. Trust me, not playing D&D does not alone a cool kid make, but in my 8th grade eyes it was a logical first step.

Had I known then that the nerds were on the cusp of taking over the world, I might not have been so hasty to try and hide from it!

From business pioneers and innovators like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and Elon Musk to popular television shows like Myth Busters, Big Bang Theory, and Stranger Things, it turns out that being curious about things, celebrating individuality and quirkiness, and enjoying  “cerebral” pursuits wasn’t that uncool after all!

How to Play D&D - a sample game session
How to Play D&D – a sample game session

Which takes me all the way back to Dungeons and Dragons. Maybe it’s my mid-life crises. Or maybe as I hinted, I’d just rather spend the next four years in a fantasy world than listen to the great Orange buffoon who, like Voldemort, shall not be named. Whatever the reason, I’ve rediscovered this most excellent of Role-Playing Games and almost without exception, am having an absolute blast playing it!

But playing D&D is not without a learning curve. To an outside observer, one just sees a bunch of (hopefully excited and engaged) people around a table with several books, pencils, erasers, sheets of paper, maps, and tons of dice of all sorts of shapes! That can be a bit intimidating.

Which brings me to my latest project. I wanted to start a YouTube channel. For this project I wanted to do a few of things:

  • First and foremost, have some fun
  • Second, put some videos on YouTube which hopefully answer the questions I was asking when I started playing D&D again
  • Third, exercise a little creativity, learn how to use YouTube, how to create and edit audio and video, how to shoot good video, and ultimately create some interesting and maybe even entertaining content!

Of course I have many other interests besides D&D which include but are not limited to: science, soccer, politics, activism, climate change, craft beer, religion, trail-running, and statistics just to name a few, so who knows where future videos might lead! Which brings me to why I decided that perhaps “Drinks and Dragons,” which in addition to being difficult for me to say for some reason, was a bit limiting to the scope of where my interests might turn. So I went with something entirely original: RyanBays! At least I won’t forget the name!

So if you’re still reading this post and you found anything in here interesting, do me a huge favor and subscribe to my YouTube channel! Cheers!

-Ryan