Every person on this planet has different skills, abilities, characteristics, and varying degrees of each among them. Some people are excellent at sports and not very good with academics. Others are very good with academics but cannot figure out how to screw in a light bulb. There are an endless amount of skills we can acquire, adventures we can embark on, routine tasks to complete and things to learn. In a nutshell, that is what Dungeons and Dragons is all about.
The brilliance of Dungeons and Dragons is in how it allows you to create a character to your liking and assign it both the skills you want along with the levels of skill you want to provide for it. If you want your character to be the strongest man, woman or beast in the world you can create it that way; or, at the very least you can create a character with this intention and then earn the necessary experience points to get it there.
The other excellent feature about this game is that, similar to real life, you need to accomplish tasks in order to gain experience points to improve skill. In real life you do not necessarily “earn experience points” that says “Joe is a 65 out of 100 in lawn mowing” however the concept is there. In this game, skills are measured by experience points and the longer you play, the more battles you win, the better you get.
The game can be as wide open or closed as the Dungeon Master wishes; however there is a certain amount of structure to it. There are pre-defined challenges to conquer, battles to win, settings to play the game in and etceteras. While you can choose your own for each of these, it can sometimes be quicker and easier to play within the confines of an existing pattern.
The goal of the game is to defeat the challenges, win the battles and build up your character to be the best (with the highest experience points) so you can meet further challenges. This game has inspired another generation of video games that follow a similar pattern, namely the Final Fantasy games and World of Warcraft. Each of these games allows you to gain experience points which you will use to conquer battles. Among war games, there is perhaps no bigger or more influential game than Dungeons and Dragons.
The game has evolved from its manual, table top structure several decades ago to be on such gaming consoles as the PC, Playstation 2, Nintendo and Xbox. The titles for some of the games are: Dungeons & Dragons: Shadow over Mystara, Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance and Dungeons & Dragons: Heroes, among many others. Due to the open structure of the game, many spin-offs have been made and will continue to be made.