Carter’s Nerd-Culture Close-Up

D&D Gaming Edition


By Carter Gourley | Reporter

Hello, students of Hickman and whoever reads this is Carter Gourley, the over-nerd that is most likely found chilling in the corner with his friends talking about various other nerd related subjects which I will hopefully be able cover someday in a major issue of the Nerd Insight Corner.


It is time to delve into the original role-playing game known as Dungeons and Dragons, henceforth for the sake of convenience referred to as D&D. It was released in the late 1970’s by a man known as Gary Gygax who created the first edition of D&D based on the medieval war game known as Chainmail. D&D  D&D’s concept is quite simple beginning with you and a group of friends; which yes, us nerds have friends. Next, you create characters and run those characters through scenarios run by a Dungeon Master (DM). Your characters will face many trials and tribulations and thusly need increasingly more power. Increases in power for your characters could occur by leveling up and acquiring increasingly more powerful features and abilities.


Your characters have their capabilities split into six primary statistics; strength, dexterity, intelligence, wisdom, charisma, and armor class.


The strength statistic determines your ability to lift things and physically hurt your enemies. Strength is ideal for classes such as fighters, paladins and barbarians. 


Dexterity is the ability to move fast and stab things equally as fast. It will also help determine unarmored armor class. Dexterity is ideal for classes such as Rangers, Rogues and Monks


Intelligence is the smart boy/ girl, sadly this stat is only good on wizards.


Wisdom is the hindsight stat that allows you to better apply knowledge. This stat is ideal for clerics and druids. 


Charisma is the primary social stat which is used mostly for talking your way through things. This stat is ideal for warlocks, sorcerers and bards.


So just what is armor class? armor class is basically how difficult it is for someone to hit you. Let’s say you are playing a character in full plate, this gives you 17 AC meaning the enemies have to roll a 17 or higher to hit you. Contrary to what the name would imply, you don’t actually need to wear armor in order to gain armor class, the standard armor class for the majority of player characters is 10+Dexterity modifier  


Stat modifiers, Advantage and Disadvantage

Modifiers for the six main stats range from -3 to 5+, those thresholds are a stat total of 5,6,7,8,10,12,15,18 and 20. Alongside the mains stats there are skill based stats such as persuasion, intimidation, stealth, sleight of hand, acrobatics, athletics and more. all of your characters gain bonuses to these skills depending on which class you pick which can go all the way to +20 if you are so inclined. Advantages and disadvantages are the same mechanic, you roll 2 D20s instead of 1 and take the lower or higher number respectively 

Getting Started


Before playing, you will want to get your hands on a set of dice. This set of dice should contain a twenty sided dice, an eight sided die, a four sided die, a twelve sided die, a ten sided die and a percentile die. Depending on what you’re looking to get, dice prices range anywhere from $2.00 or $10.00. You can also go completely digital with your dice with the myriad of dice apps floating around your platform of choice. 


You will also need some books. As a player, you should care most about owning the Player’s Handbook. If you really want more dungeons with your dragons, pick up the Xanathar’s Guide to Everything. This supplement gives you even more customization options for all of your favorite spellcasters. The PHB and Xanathar’s Guide will go for about $30.00 each. However, as with dice you can find digital PDF versions of all of these books.


For aspiring Dungeon Masters, you will want the same books, plus a Monster Manual and a Dungeon Master’s Guide. D&D is an expensive hobby but well worth it. 


Miniatures are also an unnecessary but nice element to provide a better sense of scale for your encounters and other various bits and bobs.

The D20 and You

The D20 is quite literally the life or death dice (you need this to accomplish all the things that an adventurer would most likely deal with), want to jump out of the way of a magical explosion? Roll D20. Want to jump over a gap that is most likely filled with things that most likely want to kill you? Use D20. Want to steal everything that isn’t nailed down? Your party will most likely hate you for it, but grab a D20 and roll it, want to get up from being knocked out after dropping to 0 health because you ran out of healing potions and/or the party is still mad at you for stealing everything, D20.  


Saving throws and you 

All of these events listed above require saving throws which have their difficulty determined by how hard it would logically be for example the large pit would require a dexterity save, stealing everything that isn’t nailed down would be a sleight of hand saving throw and not dying due to dropping to 0 Health would be a death saving throw.

A General Class Overview

  • Fighter 
  • You’re probably a former town guard
  • Go to new player class 
  • Difficulty level: beginner


  • Fraill
  • Know the majority of spells 
  • You won’t be getting in close combat often, if you do you’re dead
  • Difficulty level: EXTREME


  • Most likely has at least one dead parent
  • Backstabs for days 
  • The arcane trickster subclass can pickpocket all the nobles from really far away
  • Difficulty level: Medium, just be careful not to hurt yourself on all that edge on your way out 


  • If there’s a god for it, there’s a cleric for it
  • Divine wrath… and healing
  • Difficulty: quite easy


  • My secret is that I’m always angry
  • RAGE!!!
  • Most potential health of every class
  • Difficulty: RAGE INDUCING!


  • The rouge of the spellcasters world with equal or more edge
  • Lowest amount of spells 
  • Missing a soul most likely
  • Difficulty:same as rouge but more range


  • Shields and heals
  • Crusades in free time
  • difficulty: easy