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Monday, July 4, 2022

Humor: Davis launches Dungeons & Dragons spin-off

My lawful-evil film major can patronize your music taste up to 30 feet! 

By ANNABEL MARSHALL — almarshall@ucdavis.edu 

“I need a 12 or higher,” repeats Julie, a second-year ecology major. She’s saying it more to herself than anyone else, but the small crowd of undergrads gathered around the table nod eagerly. They’re dressed in a wild mash of discount UCD merch and pseudo-Wiccan attire, holding their breath as Julie lets the die skid across the table and flash the number 13.

All eyes land on another student, sitting at the head of the table with a dirty laptop and a paleness that speaks to an unbelievable fear of the outdoors. 

“Your TA smiles at you as they pass back your test,” he narrates, “You got a 62.” The crowd erupts into cheers.

“Roll for the curve!”

This is a typical session of the Dungeons & Dragons wave rolling through campus. Despite my best efforts, UC Davis has become a haven for D&D players, spawning clubs, first-year seminars and year-long quests. It seems only right that this explosion should culminate in a Davis-brand version of the game, fittingly named UCD&D. And it’s taken off at a speed that makes me think we should reevaluate our admissions system.

UCD&D is driven by imagination, like how when someone talks to me about D&D, I imagine they are trapped in a sound-proof glass box. The game has survived many iterations, including Classrooms & Cows, Elves & Eggheads and Wellman & Warlocks. 

There are a few subtle differences in the new version. While the original game requires a DM (Dungeon Master), UCD&D uses a GM (Gary May). D&D has you choose a mythical race for your character, while UCD&D asks you to pick a major in order to determine your player’s strengths and weaknesses. Computer science, for example, grants you +10 in Job Security but -80 in Conversational Ability. Popular quests include “Remember where you parked your bike” and “Turn in your weekly Canvas quiz at a crowded frat party.”

The quest I’ve been watching is a daunting challenge titled “Stay Awake in an 8 a.m.” It occurs to me that maybe they would have a better shot if they didn’t stay awake until 3 a.m. watching other people play UCD&D. I choose not to say anything, lest I be threatened with $13 foam swords from Michaels.

Now it’s another person’s turn to make a move. Oliver, a first-year sociology major, speaks haltingly.

“I… remind myself of the importance of education?” Groans sound all around. It’s a critical mistake.

“Sorry, Oliver,” says the GM, “It’s ineffective. You drift into dreams for the five minutes that TA gives out useful information about the final exam.”

Written by: Annabel Marshall — almarshall@ucdavis.edu 

Disclaimer: (This article is humor and/or satire, and it’s content is purely fictional. The story and or names of “sources” are fictionalized.)

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