DnD is surging in popularity. What’s the secret?
- Stranger Things and other shows
Stranger Things is a massive Netflix hit and is currently the 2nd most popular show of all time on the platform worldwide, next to Squid Game. Stranger Things kicks off with the main characters playing DnD, before a mysterious disappearance sets them off on an adventure that is now 4 seasons deep, and billions of views later.
DnD plays a primary role in all the main characters’ motivations, and in how they develop as the show goes on. The core of both DnD and Stranger Things is a deep sense of bonding through adventure and working together as a team to get through thick and thin. Dungeons and Dragons teaches you the importance of community, sacrifice, and doing the right thing.
The characters on the show are all oddballs that take their cues on how to be heroic from DnD, which inspired millions of others to try their hand at tabletop heroics. Now the secret is out, and everyone is having a blast!
YouTube shows like Critical Role, which features professional voice actors playing DnD, or HarmonQuest, with animations from the creator of Rick and Morty, have also gained popularity in recent years. High Rollers and Oxventure are two other popular Twitch streams about playing DnD too.
Along with Stranger Things, these shows have helped DnD become more mainstream.
COVID isolated many people from their friends and loved ones, and gave us all time to think about community and what’s important in life. Many people turned to DnD or similar games during lockdown to get their sense of community back, or afterwards as they tried to make sense of a post-pandemic universe.
The thirst for community has always been in the background during the digital age, but it came to a head during COVID. With most people stuck behind their screens all day, DnD was a breath of fresh air, and an important source of social interaction for many. Now that COVID is (hopefully) over, the trend is continuing.
As people seek social interaction, they are realizing that DnD is an accessible and low-pressure starting point to make new friends, or re-establish bonds with friends of old.
- The Resurgence of Board Games
Board games have been booming around the world for years, most of them based around cooperation and teamwork. As our lives become more and more digitized, our innate need for physical interaction is coming out in a renewed interest in board games.
Digital gaming has its place, but it’s no substitute for in-person interaction. Video games are still hugely popular, but games where you physically play next to your friend are few and far between. “Couch co-op” video games are sadly becoming a thing of the past, so gamers turned to the next best thing: tabletop gaming. And from there, DnD was a natural segue.
Board games offer game-playing goodness to those who like playing games but aren’t fond of video games. Not everyone is suited towards digital gaming, and not every tabletop game is suitable in digital form. Board games range from the most casual to the most hardcore.
Many of the best tabletop games are built around physical interaction that can’t be digitally duplicated, such as games where you bluff or that involve intricate physical game pieces. DnD offers the most unique of all: Ownership of your own narrative.
Play is a part of human culture, and many are tapping into these innate drives through board games and DnD.
- The Rise of Science Fiction and Fantasy
The record-breaking popularity of shows like Game of Thrones, or movies like the Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter prove that Sci-Fi and Fantasy are no longer just for “nerds.” These franchises and others gave millions of people permission to indulge in their escapist fantasies. And now that they’ve gotten a taste of the rich worlds on offer, all those science fiction and fantasy converts can’t get enough.
The solution? DnD!
DnD 5e is inclusive of all creeds. Everyone is welcome and can be whomever they want, for example you can be a Fighter 5e, Wizard, Barbarian, or anything in between. The only rules are to work together and have fun. Humans of all walks of life are coming together to create worlds, share adventures, and become heroes together. The future of DnD has never been brighter.