Planning my weekly Dungeons & Dragons game was a lot of work, so I handed the reins over to another member of the group a few years ago. However, for the last few months, I have been wanting to start another campaign. It’s just that this time I prefer that she doesn’t feel like doing her homework. One of the options that I have come across is called .dungeon by John battle. It’s less of a game and more of a filter, an engine that uses all your past entertainment experiences as fuel for an ongoing 20-sided adventure that is all yours. It’s also one of the most exciting new RPGs I’ve read all year.
To prepare for a game of .dungeon, the masters of the game need inspiration first. It could be the books on your bookshelf, all the old tabletop RPG modules gathering dust in the closet, your favorite animated series, or even your Steam buildup. Just pick 20 things you like and assign one to each side of a 20-sided die. That’s your world, except it’s a massively multiplayer online game, and all of your players will be people playing that MMO.
A $ 15 PDF includes all the rules you need to create non-player characters, obstacles, and motivations. The system is so nimble, and the ruleset so airy and light, that you could easily improve things on the fly.
The generation of characters is also very simple. Players are encouraged to come literally as they are. There is a unique set of skills to assign: RNG is your ability to work with or against MMO programming; Meta represents how much you know about the game itself; The system is your skill on the mechanics of the game; Lean is your ability to stay calm and keep the anger from stopping; Charm is your ability to project your own personality into the game; and perception is your ability to trust your own physical senses. All you need to do is assign one of the standard polyhedral dice (a d4, d6, d8, d10, d12, and a d20) to each stat, and you’re good to go. The bigger the die, the better it is at that stat.
Then come the perks and the skills. Players must take into account their work in the real world. In the game, when you are doing something that applies to your job, you can roll a stat die twice and keep the result higher. There are also classes: knight, hacker, beast, wizard, witch, leader, artist, troll, dungeon, and bard. But these are not your average character classes. Most have a quirk that crosses the line between the real world and the game itself.
For example, the gentlemen class must choose a vote from a short list, which includes silence, truth, peace, and poverty. The rules determine how that vote can be broken in-game, and once broken, players will need to write a letter of apology before a handicap can be removed. The bard, on the other hand, must make a playlist of music in the real world. During the game, they can use that playlist to enhance the party. It’s an engaging and creative way to have your players empty their pockets, explore their minds, and get off Twitter while they’re all together playing together.
.dungeon It’s not just about stunting through weird game experiences or niche anime. It’s also about how we express (and repress) our humanity online. Game masters are encouraged to create non-player characters that are other people in the fictional world who are also playing. The group will explore their relationship with that “real” person throughout a campaign, and their journey through that relationship will reflect their journey through all 20 sides of the game world. You’re not just exploring a metaverse in .dungeon, you are also exploring other people, it’s just that those other people are made up and only exist inside the head of the game master.
We’ve all been online a lot lately. Board games feel like one of the best ways to let go, step back, and be in the same space as other human beings. But it can also be a way to explore those same complicated feelings we get from spending too much time online. .dungeon it’s an amazing way to overcome those pesky digital traumas that we all seem to suffer from right now.
Or not. Maybe you’re just going to kick some virtual heads with your friends and do weird and groundbreaking things within your favorite video games.