Queering your Dungeons and Dragons
Let’s face it - quarantine is boring. You’ve seen half of what Netflix and Hulu are offering already. You’ve beaten several video games. Worse yet, you miss your friends. I know I do.
The one thing keeping me sane through quarantine is Dungeons and Dragons, and the friends I play it with. I’m playing one game right now with my straight friends and running a game for my LGBTQ friends. I wouldn’t trade either game for the world, but playing with people like me is amazing.
D&D, being a very open-ended game, can be as queer as you want it to be. If you want to play a bisexual and charismatic Half-Elf Sorcerer who flirts her way through battle, you’re perfectly within the rules. There are shape-changing races, like the Changelings, if you’d like to play someone genderfluid (though there are absolutely no rules against playing ANY character in that way). There’s so much you can do in Dungeons and Dragons, and there’s no wrong way to play the game.
The current edition of Dungeons and Dragons, 5e, is particularly streamlined and easy for beginners to use. You might think you have to buy some of those thick books to play, but that’s not true. The basic rules can be found here on the official website. That website, D&D Beyond, can also be used to create characters with the character builder.
In order to play a game of Dungeons and Dragons, you need players, and someone running the game. That’s where the Dungeon Master comes in. The Dungeon Master knows all. A player plays their character. A DM plays the world, as well as enemies, and NPCs - or non-player-characters.
Is being a Dungeon Master difficult? It can be if you construct an entire universe yourself. But there are plenty of free premade adventures you can run that make things much simpler. A personal favorite free adventure is A Wild Sheep Chase - a fairly simple adventure for players of the 4th and 5th level.
That adventure isn’t explicitly LGBT in any way - but you can make it that way. There’s a henchman in the story who is “extremely loyal” to his master. I changed the adventure so they were in love. These kinds of changes are easy to make - you run the universe, and it doesn’t have to be heteronormative.
I was initially terrified of running a game myself but it’s much easier than I thought. And yes, if you’re me and you want the villain of the adventure to be Lady Gaga, a sorceress who wields the great +1 DiscoStick, you can absolutely do that.
A tip - don’t try to run an adventure with more than 5 or 6 players to start with. It’s possible to do, but also much more difficult, and I’d recommend it only for someone with a lot of experience with D&D.
5th Edition D&D doesn’t specifically involve a game-board, and instead uses something called “theater of the mind”, where you imagine where your character is in a fight. If you’re anything like me, that sounds exhausting. To get a gameboard that can be visible to all players online, use roll 20, a website through which the DM can create a map, players can voice chat, move their characters, and anyone can roll dice virtually.
Gather your party, choose an adventure (or create your own), fight boredom, and the forces of evil in Dungeons and Dragons. Or just flirt with every character you meet. The choice is yours.