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!

Is Dungeons and Dragons Demonic? (VIDEO)

I started playing Dungeons and Dragons when I was in middle school way back in the early 1980s. I was also a regular attendee at Piney Grove Baptist Church; which at the time was a cute little “fire and brimstone” Southern Baptist church in Cobb County, Georgia.

Turns out, that in addition to “rock and roll” and beer, playing D&D was somewhat frowned upon back then (and from what I’ve gathered from many of the comments you sent me in response to my video, it’s still occasionally frowned upon).

But why? Why would a fun, role-playing game like D&D end up in the cross-hairs of religious fanatics? Answer: they thought (and think) it’s “demonic” or “satanic.”

And believe it or not, I still get asked this question from time to time. So I thought I’d spend a few minutes explaining why Dungeons and Dragons is NOT demonic.

First, I’m not even sure what “demonic” actually means. I know that demons are fictional creatures, but I’m not sure what someone means when they call something else, “demonic.” For the purposes of this post, let’s just assume that “demonic” means some kind of bizarre devil worship.

Secondly and most importantly, the reason why Dungeons and Dragons is not demonic, is because there are no such things as demons!

Demons, like devils, gods, goblins, werewolves, vampires, and leprechauns, are creations of human imaginations. They have been drawn, written about, painted, and named, but they have never, ever been detected by anyone, anywhere at anytime. Zip.

So we can confidently say that in the absence of any evidence whatsoever that any of the aforementioned imaginary creatures are actually real, we can accept them for what they are: characters in stories.

Now, go play Dungeons and Dragons and have fun the way <insert your preferred deity> intended. 😉

 

YouTube goal setting: 1000 subscribers by Dragon Con 2017

Goal: 1000 subscribers by Dragon Con in September 2017 and I’ll do a cool giveaway prize contest. But I think it makes sense to break up that goal in to phases. Sooo, I want to reach 100 subscribers by February 15th. And since I don’t have any goodies to give away yet…

…I’ll call the day the channel gets to 100, “hair cut and shave” day!

Yes, this guy needs a haircut!
Yes, this guy needs a haircut!

In case you haven’t noticed, I’m actually having a blast putting helpful Dungeons and Dragons videos on YouTube (at least I hope they’re helpful)! In addition to being a creative outlet for me, I’m also sort of using my channel as a bit of an experiment.

While I know that film and sound quality go a loooong way in boosting one’s reach on YouTube, my goal is to reach 1000 subscribers on nothing more than content and the tools that I already have at my disposal. Namely, my iPhone.

At the time of this post, I have created and uploaded 12 videos and I am super stoked to say that I have 50 subscribers! Which is far more than I expected to have this early in the game.

So if you’re a Dungeons and Dragons fan or if you’d just like to see me add to the list of topics I tackle, please leave suggestions in the comments on the videos or below this post.  And in the words of Bartles and Jaymes, thank you for your support!

New Year – New Project: Drinks & Dragons!

Sometimes you just need to mix it up a bit.

And after this past election season, I, yes even I who loves politics and who has a degree in Political Science, became sick of the spectacle. I didn’t publish anything on this page because I didn’t want to link my name with the political shenanigans I was seeing unfold. So I let the page go dark.

Unbeknownst to me at the time, my new creative outlet had been taking shape.

Perhaps it was sparked by my first visit to Dragon Con in 2016. Perhaps this is my latent nerd finally emerging from its nerd cocoon. Perhaps this is just my midlife crises! Whatever the spark, I have rediscovered after about a 30-year hiatus, the game of Dungeons and Dragons (D&D).

Ryan with the FSM
Ryan posing with the FSM at Dragon Con 2016.

I played D&D when I was in middle school but then high school happened and I became too busy, too cool, too whatever, and so I stopped. Let’s face it, the quarterback of the football team was probably not playing D&D. You know who was playing? The nerds.

Fast forward 30 years and do you know what people are calling those same nerds? Boss.

The world has changed. The richest most influential people on the planet are nerds. Gates, Jobs, Zuckerberg. These are the movers, shakers, and innovators. But to be honest, I’m not playing D&D again because geek is chic (which it is); I’m playing because it’s an absolute blast!

I’ll post more updates as we go, but believe it or not, I’ve started a YouTube channel combining a love of my new hobby (D&D) and my old hobby (beer)! It’s called Drinks & Dragons and sure, I expect it will have a VERY niche audience, but that’s fine too. I’ll still talk about other things from time to time, but the channel is as much an experiment on what it takes to start a YouTube channel, as it is my new creative outlet.

So I’m still around, but if you need me, I’m probably playing Dungeons and Dragons! Cheers!

-Ryan