Dungeons & Dragons

Lesson 57 Chapter 2 Module 6

Thank you Stranger Things, The Big Bang Theory, sold-out ComicCon, and other “geek culture is now pop culture” mainstream media that is bringing an understanding and popularity to the weird stuff that only a subgroup of people used to find cool.

Today’s lesson is about one of those geek culture pass times, the game Dungeons & Dragons.

More specifically, data and analysis from the statistics website FiveThirtyEight.

Ok, I know what you are asking in your head right now.

“Elisa, how can a possibly super weird game about elves and battle lords and bird-people help me write a blog post for my customers tomorrow? And further, what is statistical analysis doing in a course on writing?”

Well, I’m going to address your concerns from the bottom up, because this lesson might already be a bit of a chin-scratcher.

Remember last week (seems so long ago, huh?) when we copied the excerpt from The Circle, in which Mae was finally finding her jam at the company because finally had all the numbers and metrics? She thought she knew what was important.

Of course the issue comes up later, that numbers and measurements don’t mean jack if your reader doesn’t understand how to interpret them.

Which is where FiveThirtyEight comes in.

The entire site is not only about statistics and probabilities, but about the analysis and application of those statistics and probabilities. Like Ann Handley asked in Week 3, “So What?”

Here, they looked at the data on the different races of character that people choose most frequently in Dungeons & Dragons.

Now, for anyone looking at D & D as a common observer, you probably assume that it is an odd fantasy world game where people pretend they are magical and mystical beings that have no place in reality.

But the article’s writer, Gus Wezerek, found a completely different result.

The most popular character choice wasn’t magical or mystical, it wasn’t players escaping reality, it wasn’t people choosing to be some creature they aren’t; the most popular character choice was to be a human.

It seems that having to fumble around in spellbooks and rule guides, figure out what it means to be something else, and learn all the weaknesses and strengths according to that wasn’t as compelling for people as a good story.

Finally, when people chose to be human, they didn’t choose just any human.

They chose a human fighter.

People want to be heroes.

We all want to be the hero in our own story.

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