For the last couple of months, I’ve watched Twitter activity for the use of #DnD. I wanted to see how the gaming community, particularly fans of Dungeons and Dragons, used Twitter. Is there an active community of D&D players on Twitter, and if so, how is the community functioning? I was curious, because for the last decade or so that I’ve used social media, I’ve always found cabals of gamers staking out their own territory. I’ve seen local game groups use Facebook to keep in touch with each other, schedule games, and brag about recent adventures. I remember gaming groups using LiveJournal to share their in-game experiences, post characters or game-related fiction. Store message-boards are used to organize game events like launch-parties (to celebrate releases of new games) or demonstrations of new games, and announce release dates for new products. What was I going to find with Twitter?
The first thing I discovered was the ubiquity of the brand. #DnD seemed to be the generic tag used by people talking about role-playing game related material, particularly in advertising. Could D&D (or, DnD) is such an icon that the name stands in for a description of the entire hobby? When people in the future search for role-playing product, regardless if the setting involves fantasy, science-fiction, space-opera, super-heroes, that they will always see the “D&D” logo? Is D&D the “Coca-Cola” of the gaming industry, the icon that is omnipresent and impossible to be ignored?
My second discovery was the surprising lack of rules discussion. The role-playing game community has a long tradition of claiming ownership of rules, modifying them, and developing personalized house rules that suit themselves.
I’m accustomed to internet discussions about porting rules between editions to suit our particular flavor of play, or constant questions-and-answer about the applicability of particular rules in various circumstances. I would have thought Twitter to be a good platform for back-and-forth about quick rules questions and clarifications, especially with Wizards of the Coast having a presence.
My only regret was not following the #dndnext tag, to follow discussion regarding the play-tests for the next edition of D&D. The open playtest was coming to its end, and I witnessed some discussion about some potential rules, and how the new game was developing. I expect that if I was looking for a more in-depth discussion of game mechanics, that would have been the tag to follow.
I will publish all of my findings here in a couple of weeks. I’m also giving a small gift to the #DnD community; I’m going to publish a hand-drawn dungeon map on this blog. Feel free to take it, populate it with whatever craziness you like, and use it in your own games.
I’m always up for talking about gaming, sharing old war stories, and geeking out. Reach out to me on Twitter @mikewgoodman