Dungeons & Authorship

“Dungeons & Authorship” is a Dungeons & Dragons–style game designed by Caitlin Pointer, a student at Texas A&M University.


Critical Introduction

Dungeons and Authorship is a tabletop roleplaying game created in order to demonstrate how various levels of privilege impacted and challenged the success of British writers from the eighteenth century. The game follows the Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition rules, but classes, races, and backgrounds are changed, as well as the addition of two statistics: Wealth and Social Standing. Wealth and Social Standing are calculated by a chart of predetermined problems that were common in the eighteenth century. According to the rules laid out in the Dungeons and Authorship Handbook, when building a character, the player will choose the race and class that best fit the intended character personality.

In addition to the regular statistics presented in the Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition handbook, there are two extra statistics added to better reflect the importance of wealth and social standing within eighteenth century British society. In order to determine modifiers for these two statistics, a problems table is included which describes various problems that were present during this time period. 

In order to reflect the importance of financial and social standing in eighteenth-century society, classes were changed into Playwright, Poet, Wit, and Woman with modifiers that parallel the consequences of each profession. Races were separated into white and black with gender specifications and modifiers that reflect how these races and genders were treated in eighteenth-century British society. All of the backgrounds were created in order to demonstrate various social statuses that were tied to both profession and financial class. Every background gives a short synopsis of life with that particular background and provides a list of proficiencies, languages, and equipment that would be expected for a character with each different background to possess. All items, languages, and proficiencies given through each background are inspired by real things that were prevalent in eighteenth century British society, such as a majority of the lower class owning at least one bottle of gin, and the upper class carrying a pouncet box in order to mask the disgusting smell of London’s streets.

Due to the large inequalities created by a disparity in wealth and social standing amongst various authors, the success of each author came at a different price. In order to experience the challenges faced by each author, Dungeons and Authorship allows for each player to take on characters that are given large advantages and disadvantages in correlation to their careers, races, and genders. Understanding the struggles faced by various authors due to these important characteristics is integral to comprehending why and how particular works were received by the public in specific ways. For example, works published by upper-class white males were more likely to be received with validity and praise opposed to the works published by their less privileged counterparts.

Dungeons and Authorship stands to demonstrate how such large social and wealth inequalities, as well as various genders, races, and careers within the writing field, impacted alarge number of authors during the eighteenth century. By playing Dungeons and Authorship, players will better understand the different challenges presented to different authors during the time period.


Dungeons & Authorship

Copyright 2018 Caitlin Pointer

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