tumblr_m8hws8Jy1i1ro2bqto1_500While playing with my kids today, I started thinking how cool it would be to do a themed version of ds106 dedicated to Dungeons & Dragons. I’ve been wanting to get back into D&D anyway so that my kids and I could read the early manuals, trip out on the art, design maps, build characters, and create campaigns. Done right, these tasks would make for the building blocks of an amazing ds106 course. I even have a few boxes of lead figurines I could pull out and let people paint—old school all the way.

So what do you think? Would this be a compelling approach to digital storytelling? Way I see it, D&D provides a pretty rich universe/creative framework from within which to create. It was in many ways one of the earlier collective and participatory games I was ever a part of. And those adventure modules I bought at the Incredible Pulp (a local comic shop in Baldwin, LI) still capture some of the most imaginative play I’ve ever done in my mind without ever rolling the dice. Hell, we could use the 3D printer to create characters, dice, campaign elements, and more. How sick could this be?

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7 Responses to #d&ds106

  1. Pingback: Quick thoughts on #ds106 course sometime in the future based around Dungeons and Dragons http://bavatuesdays.com/dds106/ What do you think?

  2. While I have minimal experience or knowledge of D & D, I think, from what I know about it, it does provide a helpful framework for story telling. However, unlike TV shows, with D & D you have to create the characters and plot, which would give the student more work to do. It also means more creative freedom and more to be created as a group. I still think the TV show works better as it’s an easier way to introduce good story telling and give the students a good amount of content to draw from. D & D might work as a more advanced pace of the class, like a summer session. Likewise, TV shows can be inticing to outsiders and help to draw in more people to the online community and discussions.

    • Reverend says:

      That’s a good point, I wonder if the d&ds106 is more of a ds206 given how much work it would take, and 106 would be the prerequisite. I like that idea, and it provides a framework for actually creating a full on world, and doesn’t crush new students’ ability to keep up.

  3. Hey Jim!

    Sounds like fun! I found some of my prize D&D props last summer when I was moving. You know, the little handmade scrolls written in runes and stored inside those tiny little plastic chests that used hold the gold dubloon-shaped bubblegum. Of course, I didn’t throw them out.

    Would we get to watch The Sword and the Sorcerer? Conan the Barbarian? All of the extended versions of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy AND the Hobbit movies? Plus Ralph Bakshi’s Wizards and The Princess Bride?


    We could also make Frank Frazetta art, and stage a game of SCA-flavoured Assasin with foam swords on the campus at UMW.

  4. Jim Groom says:

    You got me at Frank Franzetta art, and we were just making headway with third wave feminism and D&D. Franzetta will have to be re-imagined—sounds like a mashup! 🙂

  5. I spent much of my youth designing campaigns — way too much. But what excites me about this is that it is probabilistic storytelling. It is also a form of hypertext storytelling (ala Choose your own adventure). Both of these things — statistics-driven storytelling and conditional branching narratives seem to me to be big ideas that could be the core of a digital story telling course.

    Another idea might be to do a choose your own adventure focus with a D & D theme — statistics can be hard to work with and tweak in storytelling, but hypertext story telling is a bit easier. You could start with Choose Your Own Adventure books, and with the Colossal Cave Adventure. Talk about the frustrations of that Hitchhiker’s Guide game where you get to the end and lose because you forgot your toothbrush (mega-trolling from D. Adams). I could also see a class where D & D narratives were subverted, etc. but still told within hypertext narrative. (And you have Zach Whalen there, who thinks about this stuff a lot, right?)

    A possible inspirations: a while ago Ward Cunningham pulled the FORTRAN data structures from the old adventure game and used Perl to translate it to the JSON format that powers federated wiki — the result is a wiki which kinda sorta simulates Adventure, something that could be done on Dokuwiki as well:


    In any case, I think it’s neat, if you think about it also in terms of mode as well as theme. Is that part of where your going?

    • (I should clarify that what the ADVENTURE wiki does is let you walk through the code, and even see how various decisions were computed – not a user-facing simulation, but a way of understanding the structure of the story).

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