The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

    An endless campaign

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    Imagine spending your night trudging through a swamp in order to save a group of singing mushrooms that had terrible singing voices. Or you could be puked on by a girl who is floating through the air while you are trying to save a cat from a burning house.

    These are just two of the many adventures senior Andrew Christianson has encountered during his “Dungeons and Dragons” career.

    For Christianson, junior Neil Chappell and sophomore LeRoy Nosker Tanner, their D&D career began for them after an introduction from their older brothers.

    The game
    Christianson said he began playing “D&D” about 10 years ago. He said he likes the game mostly for the role playing and social aspects. He has attended Role Playing Game Association gatherings, essentially D&D tournaments, where the social aspect becomes even more important, he said.

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    “Suddenly, next thing you know you are in an all wizard group and you’re at a major disadvantage there because they can’t take too many hits, so if they run across someone who can avoid their spells they’re probably screwed,” he said.

    Nosker Tanner, who has also been playing for 10 years, said he too enjoys the creativity and versatility that can be produced with “D&D.”

    “It is a game based on your own imagination,” he said. “It doesn’t have to be guys with swords in a fantasy dungeon, it can be anything you can make it in to.”

    Chappell said he has been playing for about six years and enjoys the fantasy side of the game.

    “You watch . ‘Lord of the Rings’ and fantasy stuff and it’s your own version of that, you get to create your characters and act the scenes, action and adventure on paper,” he said. “You can do whatever you want and it’s as open as you can imagine . other (role playing games) don’t give you that amount of freedom.”

    Chappell said while “D&D’s” popularity rose sharply in the 80s it has trailed off a bit since then. But the popularity of the game will remain intact for reasons including creativity options and cost.

    “D&D” vs. the other guys
    Christianson said “D&D” and “World of Warcraft” are similar in that they both are role playing games where you create a character. But the options and mindset of each game is what makes them different.

    The “hack and slash” style of “World of Warcraft” is one of the things that turned Christianson away from the game.

    “The goal is to make your guy as bad ass as possible so you can kill absolutely everything,” he said. “Role playing is not as well received . because it is a video game and the point of a video game is to win something.”

    Christianson prefers the proximity of the Dungeon Master, the person who controls the bad guys and moves the game along, to the group. He said when another human is creating the world for you avenues of creativity open up.

    Nosker Tanner said “World of Warcraft” is an electronic game and basically a world someone else has created, whereas “D&D” is more flexible.

    “It is something that you play that comes out of your imagination . it requires making personal decisions about what you want to do with yourself, as a player in the game,” he said. “It’s a much more free and open environment and I’d say it costs less money.”

    Chappell said the cost of online gaming is something that keeps bringing him back to “D&D.”

    “I am a little hesitant about that, I am a little anti-World of Warcraft because I tried it for a bit . I’m just opposed to that crowd, I don’t like paying for my gaming and I don’t like the atmosphere,” Chappell said.

    The solo quest
    Since the game was established in the mid-1970s Christianson said “D&D” players have received negative labels.

    “It’s got a lot of stereotypes, a few of them undeserved, but it’s a different experience depending on the people you go with. It is a very interesting, different kind of game,” Christianson said.

    Nosker Tanner agrees that the game receives a lot of unwarranted negative connotations.

    “‘Dungeons and Dragons’ is sometimes viewed as some kind of underground geek movement but it’s not like that at all, it can be a lot of fun,” he said. “So if you want a bunch of technical geeks arguing over worlds you can do that . but my friends and I always try to make it fun.”

    Chappell agrees.

    “‘D&D’ is one of those kind of things that you play with your friends but you don’t want to mention it to anyone else because it is that nerdy thing that is a stereotypical thing that nerds do,” he said. “In my experience playing this game, everyone that I have played with has been into . fantasy stuff but outside of that they’re not your stereotypical glasses-and-no-social-life-people, they are just as normal as everyone else.”

    The future
    As of June 7, the fourth edition of “D&D” will make its debut. Christianson said he is not entirely pleased with the new look of the game because it tries to appeal to a “World of Warcraft” or the video game player audience.

    Nosker Tanner said they are leaving a lot of things the same with the new edition, but they are giving you more options using a computer database and the Wizards of the Coast Web site. He said there are up and down sides to the fourth edition.

    The new edition features faster “level-ups” for characters as well as an introduction of a core class that features a half demon character, Christianson said.

    “Before you had a lot of cool abilities but the restriction was you had to be the lawful, by the book character . now its just ‘I’m a warrior of chaos, so I can get all the abilities I want,'” he said.

    Nosker Tanner said they will lose a core crowd with the new edition.

    “If they really push the fourth edition they’re going to lose a lot of people because the things they would be pushing is the computer-sided aspect which goes away from the ability to play it the way you want and it makes it more structured in having to live in a set defined world.”

    Chappell said he doesn’t know a lot about the new edition but also agrees they may lose the core crowd of “D&D” players.

    “If they are going to go towards the video game aspect then there is going to be a crowd that just stays with third edition,” he said.

    Nosker Tanner said there are generally two types of people that emerge when a new edition of “D&D” comes out. He said one group wants to keep things the same and the other is ready for innovation.

    “When the third edition came out I was originally hesitant, but after reading the rule books they made some things a lot more simple,” he said.

    Chappell said he is hesitant to try out the new edition because he knows the third editon backwards and forwards and would rather stick with the things he knows.

    Chappell said when he tells people that he plays “D&D” they automatically assume that he is a nerd, but he said there is no reason in hiding it.

    “I’d say ‘D&D’ gets a bad rap, but then again we might be biased because we are defending our game,” Chappell said.

    “D&D” will always remain an important part of the role playing game world, Christianson said.

    “I consider ‘Magic’ and ‘D&D’ to be the cornerstones of nerd gaming,” he said. “They are on a list of games that will never die no matter what you do to them.”

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