In private, I've made no secret of my disdain for Fifth Edition Dungeons and Dragons -- someday soon I'll put my thoughts together in a screed -- but I've been playing a lot of 5E here in the Age of Covid, online via virtual tabletops such as Fantasy Grounds and Roll20. And whatever its (many) flaws, I have to give the game credit -- this version has really drawn in a lot of new players, revitalized the game, and intruded into the public consciousness. And by "public consciousness," I mean that the game has moved into the cultural mainstream to a greater degree than ever before. Here are two examples that recently drew my eye.
The Atlantic is a famous and established magazine with a strong online presence. In an interview with up-and-coming pop star Macy Rodman, there's this quote: "I love creating characters both in my music and in my podcast," she says. "I'm drawn to humor, sincerity, and chaotic good."
That "chaotic good" quote made it into the headline. There are no other references to D&D at all. Alignment is just part of the story, a notable part. Click here or click the image to see the headline layout
It's another example of the mainstreaming of the Internet.
Joe Manganiello is a decently well-known actor
who played a werewolf in the True Blood series a while back. Turns out he is a D&D player, and he's not shy about using his D&D cred for a charitable cause. Everyone donating through this drive has a chance to play D&D with Joe
But wait, there's more! Looking farther back, check out this Guardian article from last November: 'It's cool now': why Dungeons & Dragons is casting its spell again. And of course, the TV series Stranger Things uses D&D as a huge and major plot developer. Here are two good articles: Stranger Things Is a Nerdy Story That Is So Much More Than Its References (Gizmodo) and How Stranger Things Is One Big Game of Dungeons and Dragons (IGN).