PDA

View Full Version : Most succinct way to describe TTRPG's and/or D&D to someone who's never played?



Velaryon
2018-02-22, 11:35 AM
I'm in the middle of brainstorming for library programs, and the idea of hosting an intro class for Dungeons & Dragons (I would use 5e for simplicity's sake) occurred to me. We have the core books and a couple more like Xanathar's Guide to Everything in our library collection, and they do circulate decently well. I also know that a few of the teens who come to the library (and at least two who are employed here part-time) play D&D as well. All of which is to say that I believe there might be a market for this.

So here's the question: how do I advertise it? I'd like to have a brief (2-3 sentences) description of what it means to sit down and play D&D, that I can use to put on signage and flyers advertising such a program. So if you were trying to describe D&D under those limitations, how would you do it?

JeenLeen
2018-02-22, 11:42 AM
Maybe something like:
"Do you enjoy fantasy novels, movies, or video games? Want to play the hero in a dynamic game with other players? If so, please join us for a game of Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition. No prior experience required, and we will provide dice and pencils."

I don't think that does a great job at really explaining what a game would mean, but it might be enough to draw in people.
The biggest conflict to me is having "5th edition" mentioned or not. For those who know D&D, knowing the edition would do a lot to either encourage folk to come or for those who dislike 5th to know not to waste their time. For those not knowing D&D, it might intimidate them ("5th edition... but I don't even know 1-4. How can I start on the 5th book?" or something like that.)

Mentioning 'dice and pencils' probably gives some insight into the mode of play.

Note: I realize I'm at 4 sentences, so above the 2-3 limit, but... well, hope it helps nonetheless. Also, I think I have a bad ear for marketing, so not sure if my advice is good or not. To me, it sounds too cliche, but maybe that'd be effective.

Knaight
2018-02-22, 11:43 AM
What's your target audience like - particularly things like age? I'd use a very different description for a group of 15 year old's acclimated to video games than a group of college theater nerds, with both groups even more distinct from explaining it in a detached academic sense to a genuinely older generation.

ComaVision
2018-02-22, 11:54 AM
I think anyone interested in joining probably already has an inkling of what D&D is, especially since it has had more exposure in media lately (particularly in Stranger Things).

I had zero idea how D&D was played before I joined a group but I understood it was fantasy roleplaying, and I liked computer roleplaying games already. I would just say something like: "Interested in playing the world's most popular tabletop roleplaying game, Dungeons & Dragons? Blah blah details."

Black Jester
2018-02-22, 12:20 PM
"We are telling an adventure stories in which you are one of the heroes. You can be whatever you want to be, but you will have to face threats and challenges. If you and your teammates stay together and help each other out, you will be able to face the terrible monsters, hidden traps and other dangers together."
-the kid's version

ComaVision
2018-02-22, 12:30 PM
"We are telling an adventure stories in which you are one of the heroes. You can be whatever you want to be, but you will have to face threats and challenges. If you and your teammates stay together and help each other out, you will be able to face the terrible monsters, hidden traps and other dangers together."
-the kid's version

Stories, especially in a library context, sounds less like a game and more like some collaborative writing process.

2D8HP
2018-02-22, 12:55 PM
It's games of "Let's pretend", but with rulebook's.
Cluedrew, you may recognize some of this

This book is dedicated to Dave Arneson and Gary Gygax, who first opened Pandora's box,
and to Ken St. Andre who found it could be opened again.(Arneson & Gygax were the creators of D&D, Andre of T&T).


INTRODUCTION
WHAT IS A FANTASY ROLE-PLAYING GAME?
A role-playing game is a game of character
development, simulating the process of personal development commonly called "life". The player acts a role in a fantasy environment, just as he might act a role in s play. In fact, when played with just paper and pencil on the game board of the player's imagination, it has been called "improvisational radio theatre. " If played with metal and plastic figurines, it becomes improvisational puppet theatre. However it is played, the primary purpose is to have fun.

Mark Hall
2018-02-22, 12:57 PM
Hello, fellow librarian! I'm also doing a D&D program this summer, and we might want to gabble a bit about programming (which I HATE SO MUCH).

Anyway, most of my kids are engaged in the idea, already, which makes it easy. However, for when I was working it up at a previous library, I went with something like:


Take part in a fantasy story with your friends. Take the role of a wizard, warrior, or adventurer*, out to conquer monsters and win treasure. The only limit is what you decide to do!

It's short enough to fit on a program description, but intriguing enough that it will draw those who read program descriptions and want to try it.

In person, I vary my approach a bit, but like to stress the flexibility of the engine. Things like "You know how in Skyrim, most of the dungeons would be incredibly easy to beat if you could just turn right and CLIMB, rather than have to turn left and walk through the entire thing? Well, in D&D, you can do anything your character is capable of. Want to climb the walls instead of go through the door of the castle? You can try it, and depending on your character and your luck, it can happen!"


*Avoiding the words "priest", "cleric", "thief", etc.

inexorabletruth
2018-02-22, 01:01 PM
I think anyone interested in joining probably already has an inkling of what D&D is, especially since it has had more exposure in media lately (particularly in Stranger Things).

I had zero idea how D&D was played before I joined a group but I understood it was fantasy roleplaying, and I liked computer roleplaying games already. I would just say something like: "Interested in playing the world's most popular tabletop roleplaying game, Dungeons & Dragons? Blah blah details."

I'm going to jump in and say, not everyone gets to enjoy the luxury of information. I was taught, growing up, that Dungeons and Dragons was devil worship for evil occultists and I should never get involved. By 7, I was reading 300+ page books about high adventure and fantasy and would've loved to get involved in something like D&D. I also read a lot of Forgotten Realms and Dragonlance books throughout my preadolescence, well into my adulthood, not realizing that these were essentially D&D campaigns being written into story forms. Because of the misinformation I was presented growing up, I never gave D&D a try until my late 20s, when I was like, "Oh wow! This is awesome! Why aren't more people doing this?" Then my friend explained to me that lots of people do this and started introducing me to the fandom. My head nearly popped.

Mkay... that said, I want to help. Two to three sentences? Whoo that's rough. Let's look at what D&D often is. To do so, we're going to have to box it in a little, especially if we only have 2-3 sentences to work with. Anyway:


High Adventure/Fantasy
Action/RPG as a "board game"
Collaborative Storytelling Dice Game
Largely Inspired by Lord of the Rings
Social Gathering of Like-Minded Imaginative Individuals


I feel like I put those in order of most to least crucial and cross-referenced with most to least relatable, though these are all highly relevant aspects of D&D.

Okay, it's cheese ball, but here's what I've got so far:

"Come join us, every ____ night for Dungeons and Dragons Board Game Night! Play in high adventure, action adventure at the whim of the dice, while making new friends, and vanquishing eldritch enemies! All you need to bring with you, is your imagination."

The last sentence carries a little weight for the DM. I highly recommend you have some pre-generated vanilla characters for the new players to join in. Run a one shot with them with a high ratio of success to get them excited. Then give them the opportunity during the week before session 2 to either build their own characters, or continue on with the characters they have. I would get them all on this forum or Myth-Weavers for a little extra help and to give them some support and encouragement through the community as well.