If you hadn’t heard, I’ve now done two live play streams of Dungeon and Dragons… in Animal Crossing!
This all came about because my friend Tanya was on Animal Talking, a talk show hosted in Animal Crossing by Gary Whitta.1 Tanya is on a long-running live play D&D show, Rivals of Waterdeep and Gary mentioned that he’d never played or even learned to play D&D. Tanya offered to teach him, and of course teach him in Animal Crossing!
She asked if I’d be interested, Gary invited his bandleader Adam Nickerson2 and then word got to Shannon Woodward3 and we all got together, made up some character sheets and kinda dove in.
The first episode was fantastic, our character sat in a gorgeously designed D&D room in Tanya’s basement (in Animal Crossing, of course) and we walked through using D&D Beyond to create characters, then talked about what it means to role-play, elements of the world, how attributes and skills are used to determine your character and what your character can do in various situations.
I’m a returning player, not really having played since the 80’s and the big red box, so it wasn’t brand new to me, but having not played in so long and after so many additions to the game’s lore and adjustments of the game’s mechanics, it really helped to have an easy return to playing.
After getting our basic characters together, we embarked on an adventure, and then discovered exactly what “playing your character” means in terms of D&D, and also in terms of playing a game with others. It’s sort of a collective storytelling, a little improv (sometimes comedic, sometimes dramatic) along the way, and making sure that everyone gets a word in, if they want. Sometimes there are spotlight moments, sometimes you rely on the dice rolls, and sometimes you can even role-play your way through encounters and avoid combat. Shannon’s barbarian Barb proved herself particularly adept at confusing and warning off a Dire Wolf by applying techniques Shannon personally knows for warning off coyotes. And it was spectacular!
We’ve now had two sessions, and viewers really seem to enjoy it, so we’re going to keep going. It really is a blast to play and a great way to rediscover a hobby I’d left behind (I thought for good) ages ago. And for some of us, it’s also a bit of a learning experience on how to put together and stream tabletop gaming sessions. It’s not as simple as everyone turns on the camera and gets going. It can be a finicky technical mess, but when you dial in the settings just right, everything can go off without a hitch.
So, for now, we have a third session planned, our party took on a job to escort someone to their new position overseeing a mine, and we have run into some complications along the way. We got the client to the mine, but there appears to be more going on than we originally thought. To find out where things go for The Order of the Sunfish (that’s what we’re calling ourselves), you’ll just have to tune in for more… Dungeon Crossing!
1 Screenwriter of The Book of Eli and Rogue One
3 Actress, Raising Hope, Westworld, The Last of Us II and I’m going to stop pretending that I’m not having a total fanboy moment over all of this, are you kidding me? I mean are you KIDDING me?!
[…] as I said earlier when talking about Dungeon Crossing, it’s been a while since I’ve played D&D consistently, but this cast, this table, […]