Serving as agame master takes skill and finesse. There are quests to plan and challenges to throw at players.
Now fellow Dungeon Masters can bond over the trials and tribulations of organizing a memorable game with the song Literally Everyone Else in the World. The creator is Oxventurers Guild, a Dungeons & Dragons role-playing crew made up of people from the YouTube channels Outside Xbox and Outside Xtra, including former CNET editor Luke Westaway.
Outside Xbox is one of the UK's biggest gaming channels, with 2.5 million subscribers. Sister channel Outside Xtra covers the wider world of gaming, including PlayStation, Nintendo and virtual reality games.
"It's a beautiful ode to our benevolent Dungeon Master Johnny Chiodini, with lyrics about the importance of being yourself, a wicked guitar solo, and so many sleigh bells that you'll get into the festive spirit, whether you want to or not, our apologies in advance," according to the guild's fundraising page.
The song raises funds for Mind, a UK-based nonprofit that helps people dealing with mental health issues, runs support lines and community centers, and organizes campaigns to fight stigmas around mental health.
The track is available to buy and stream from iTunes, Amazon Music, Google Play and Spotify. So far the festive tune has raised more than £52,000 (about $67,350 or AU$97,300) for the nonprofit.
I chatted with Oxventurers Guild member Westaway about the group.
Q: Can you talk a bit about the guild?
It's Outside Xbox and its sister channel, Outside Xtra, plus our extremely patient and benevolent DM Johnny Chiodini from tabletop gaming channel Dicebreaker.
Apart from our DM Johnny, none of us had ever played D&D before, so when we kicked off our first campaign online back in 2017 the idea was just that it might be funny watching five tabletop newbies trying (and failing) to play Dungeons & Dragons.
We all got hooked immediately, though, and now we have suitcases filled with props and homemade costumes. Luckily, it seems other people enjoy our D&D nonsense as much as we do.
Our Oxventure campaigns have over 7 million views and 2.9 million hours watched in two years, and we regularly host D&D live shows in the UK, and occasionally across the pond in the US, at shows like PAX.
Why did your guild decide to create a song about the difficulties of being a game master?
We had a running joke when we would introduce our characters at the start of a campaign, that Johnny would always sum up with "… and I'm literally everyone else in the world" -- the DM's job being to assume the role of every animal, talking tree, owl bear, whale and more that the party meets.
Running a game for a group as chaotic and mischievous as ours isn't easy, and the song came from a place of genuine appreciation at the effort involved in being a DM. So the lyrics are playing with that idea really here we are struggling to hold it down, while this guy manages to be literally everyone else in the world.
I wrote the song with help from my colleague Andy Farrant, who played bass on the track and performed the face-melting guitar solo, but you can hear all five of us singing on the finished product.
What's your favorite part in the song and video?
My favorite bit is this absolutely storming drum fill at the 2-minute, 7-second mark, that I dearly wish I could claim credit for but in fact was performed by my good friend and CNET editor Andrew Hoyle, who stepped in when my hands wouldn't move fast enough.
There is one line I'm quite pleased with, that goes, "It's hard to just be one person, one person is a lot for one person to be" -- it's kind of a gag of course because Johnny takes on all these different D&D roles, but I've seen a few comments saying that line resonated on a more serious level, which has been really lovely to hear.