Deborah Ann Woll is highly beloved in this corner of TGON, so when we heard she would be on a San Diego Comic-Con panel, we had to jump in! The Incredible Impact of Dungeons & Dragons on Culture and Entertainment panel had several entertainers and lovers of D&D explaining how TTRPG impacted their lives and entertainment in general. Read on to learn some valuable insight into this beloved game.
Legion M’s David Baxter moderated the discussion between Luke Gygax (son of Gary Gygax), Deborah Woll (True Blood, Relics & Rarities), and Andrew Cosby (Hellboy, Eureka). Legion M’s David Baxter moderated the discussion between Luke Gygax (son of Gary Gygax), Deborah Woll (True Blood, Relics & Rarities), and Andrew Cosby (Hellboy, Eureka). The panel began with quick introductions and the history of Dungeons and Dragons. Next, Gygax explained the humble beginnings and what pushed his father into creating this game we all know and love. Then, Deborah shared that she got into D&D slightly later in life; during the 80s and 90s, she felt it was challenging to find other players. Finally, Andrew shared how playing D&D opened up doors to get into the cinematic field.
The Impact of Dungeons and Dragons on Entertainment
At the end of the panel, a question was posed to the group. A viewer asked what impact D&D had on video games. This garnered a chuckle from everyone because D&D has had a considerable influence on modern RPGs. Luke shared that D&D provided the architecture for these games. It helped developers think about stats, leveling up, hit points, and more. Luke also shared that a famous game developer uses D&D manuals to help create their games’ mechanics. It should also be noted that tons of celebrities play D&D. This game has led to various movies, shows, and streaming content. The impact D&D has had on entertainment is immense.
The Impact of Dungeons and Dragons on Culture
Initially, the crew explained how D&D could be used as a gateway to building friendships. It helps the shy unlock their potential and express themselves in new ways. However, as the conversation progressed, deeper topics followed suit. First, Luke explained how D&D could help those with PTSD or mental health issues work through their trauma. It provides a safe space for these emotions to be explored. Next, Andrew shared how people can use D&D to explore their gender identity. He accredits D&D for helping a friend come out in their highly conservative school. It was then that Deborah shared how D&D helps people practice being brave. People can see themselves rescue a princess or defeat the beast, which can be a metaphor for things going on in life. Building on this, Andrew shared how D&D can teach failure is an option. Rolling nat ones in real life happens often, and role-playing these failures can be beneficial for everyone. In the end, they found that Dungeons and Dragons have had a significant impact on current culture.
Upcoming Projects from the Panel
While Deborah shared that she does not have many up-and-coming plans for the future, Andrew and Luke shared their ventures. Andrew explained during the panel that he is currently working on a live-action Dungeons and Dragons television series. He is also working on a cyberpunk-themed show for Amazon. In addition, Luke has a stream called Luke’s Lounge and Founders and Legends. Founders and Legends is a series where he will discuss the history of D&D, play D&D, and support various charities by partnering up with Extra Life. Overall, there is a lot to look forward to in the realm of D&D.
As someone who wrote their Master’s capstone about the possible impact of Dungeons and Dragons for teens with ASD, I was highly excited for this panel. It was excellent to hear everyone’s take on how D&D helped them or those they know. However, my favorite portion of the meeting was when Deborah explained how D&D had shifted her paradigm of bad auditions. Deborah mentioned that when an audition goes awry, she can remind herself that she rolled a two that day while she may have a +6 to charisma. It helps her to avoid putting herself down, and I think that is some advice I will take away from this discussion.