Monday, November 10, 2014

Interview with Dungeon Master Iggy on the Dungeons and Dragons role-playing game

Iggy, inventor of the "iggy-roll" dice move, shares his views on what makes Dungeons and Dragons so enduring, fascinating, and unique.

(Iggy after mastering his signature dice move, the Iggy roll)

Iggy, what were your first impressions of DND when you started playing it?

At first I thought it was kinda silly. I said to myself “this is really nerdy and I don’t wanna do it”, and Mexican Machismo told me to not get into that stuff. My Asian friends in high school were into nerdy games, like Magic and DND, and, well, I just wanted to fit in, so I swallowed my pride and gave it a shot.

Interesting, so peer pressure got the best of you, like it does to most kids in high school. At least in your case that peer pressure led to something that is relatively harmless, right? So how would you describe the game? What kind of comparisons can you make of it?

I could compare it to Zelda, it’s not really an RP, even though people think it is. When I got into it, it was very fun, it’s like literature; it allows you to get immersed into the world. I could project myself onto imaginary characters in a very creative and engaging way.

I’m sure that you can be most creative and engaged in the game when you are the DM, that’s when it’s up to you to decide what the plot is and where it generally goes. But like everyone else, I’m sure you started from the bottom and worked your way up.

First I started as a player, which was really cool. However, DMing is actually how I enjoy the game the most. DND is a quasi-fluid world, it’s like writing a book as you go. The DM is the author, but the players are the coauthors. The DM is trying to write the story, but the players are trying to manipulate the story to their favor. People break the DM’s script, which is very interesting. it’s boring when people have to follow the script. The people I play with break the script all the time, there is much freedom. To give an additional analogy, the DM is the author’s plot, but the players are the poetic licence. When I make a campaign, I try to make it so that the player has opportunities to change my plot. That’s the funnest part for me. If I were to make a story that is absolute, I would be bored out of my skull, but when players mix things up, it’s fun.

(Iggy, Latino Gamer, Gaming Archaeologist, and Gabriel playing a board game)

You had mentioned that Mexican Machismo shaped your initial reactions to DND, but what role do you think Latinos in general have when it comes to this game?

There’s not a lot of Latinos into DND, I think it’s more of, they don’t know of it kind of thing. A lot of the resources are English-Only. Do I see this game catching up in Latin America itself? I’m not sure. I do see people in forums who ask for translations but the demand is so small. I'm certain, though, that people of any walk of life would enjoy it if it was available to them.

I’m sure that including Latin America as a demographic for DND would be beneficial for the game industry, considering the size and economic potential of the continent, and so it would only make sense to have Spanish language translations of the manuals readily available, however, considering the fact that English is already the world’s lingua franca, it is not be as urgent as it would have been otherwise. Speaking of demographics, what kind of people play DND? Is it just young dorks and nerds who dress up in the basement and play out their imaginary worlds?

A very small minority of DND players dress up, but since they are the silliest, they are the most known. The average age of a DND player is late 30’s early 40’s. DND came out in the 70’s, so many of the people who started with DND passed it on to their kids, who are generally the players of today. And by the way, more girls play DND than you think.

Thank you for the interview. In conclusion, could you explain to the Latino Gamer audience what an iggy roll is?

I was hoping you wouldn’t ask that. It’s pretty much when your dice roll gives you a ridiculously low number. Why is it called an iggy roll? Blame my friends. I rolled low a few times and they won’t let me get over it.

Who doesn't let you get over it?

That would be my DND group: Miguel, CJ, Rafa, and you. Writing an online article with with the term, posting updates on Facebook with the term, causally using the term even when I'm not around, really doesn't help me get over it. In fact, I could swear you guys are in cahoots to make it common gaming parlance.

Special thanks to Kimberly for providing the pictures for this article.