An Introduction to Dungeons & Dragons
We’re going to be looking at the two popular options to bring fans into D&D that perhaps weren’t playing before, via Rick and Morty and Stranger Things starter sets, then at the end of the article what module I’d suggest beyond them.
So let’s break them down to value, how thematic it is for the show it’s based on and how well it introduces you into the game of Dungeons & Dragons.
In the Rick and Morty starter set we receive similar to what we do with the Stranger Things one. We get a new set of dice, which if you’re like me is always a reason to buy any starter set, the short rulebook, campaign book and character sheets.
I will say in terms of being true to the show, the characters in Rick and Morty are based on characters from the show and work much better in the story. Where as Stranger Things is suppose to be based on the characters they play as in D&D on the show, but they’re not characters we know or relate too.
I think they would’ve had much more success using Mike and the gang so it’s something we’re a bit more familiar with. But then in Stranger Things we get the added addition of a ‘Demogorgon’ or what is referred to as a Demogorgon in the show.
Whilst this is a cool addition, and again another reason for me to buy the set alone, I would’ve much preferred an actual demogorgon figure like they use in the show, and in the regular D&D game.
If we look at them both side by side and I had to pick a favourite for how well it compares to the show and the creativity used in creating the adventure I would probably side with the Stranger Things varient.
It’s campaign book is gorgeous, the art is very much like you would expect to find in a children’s D&D book, with scrawls of maps and character drawings in pencil and crayon. It feels very much like you are flicking through Mike Wheeler’s book from the show.
Where as Rick and Morty is written in a style you could imagine Rick himself speaking in, with again some great art, there really isn’t the same feel of it being designed as Rick Sanchez’s book.
Once we delve into the story it’s self I’d have to side with Rick and Morty, as it fits into Rick’s storytelling much better from my point of view, the DM it’s self will get to do some character acting and can guide them as Rick would himself.
Then again, I find the Stranger Things story more interesting. Rick and Morty is very much a dungeon crawl, entering room after room it all feeling very samey. Where Stranger Things does talk of the upside down and interesting aspects to add to a story.
The only downside of the Rick and Morty adventure I would make note of would be sometimes the who cares attitude of Rick, meaning their is no story or reason to anything the adventurers do, and as such doesn’t properly teach the group about D&D, rules or reproductions of their actions.
If you’re looking for an introduction to D&D and these books have brought you into the game great. If not, I would suggest picking up a different module. Of the two I would say pick up Stranger Things though.
Outside of them, if you’re looking for something with a little more to the adventures and some actual storytelling I’d look at something like Ghosts of Saltmarsh for a truly fantastic adventure or Curse of Strahd for something a little darker and different to the usual D&D tropes.
However if you’re just starting out I understand those can be quite daunting, so for a very first adventure you can’t go wrong with something like Lost Mines of Phandelver or one of the most entertaining parts of being a DM, using a selection of modules for inspiration and building your own adventure.
Which ever you decide to, and which ever adventure you choose, playing Dungeons & Dragons is always going to be a blast in a game which you create adventures with friends and have fun as they fight their way through your campaign, using their cunning and sometimes their lack of to beat the bad guys and win the day.