Bonomo, Joe W.
M.A. (Master of Arts)
Department of English
This thesis aims to explore how Dungeons & Dragons complicates storytelling elements such as the role of narrator and audience and the structure of the hero’s journey. Using the Game Trailers Archive’s Tabletop Adventures series as a case study, I analyze over 50 hours of gameplay along with studying Dungeons & Dragons’s history and what influenced its creation and narrative style. This study is meant as an examination of the role of audience and narrator in Dungeons & Dragons and the game’s narrative elements using the lenses of Wayne Booth’s theories on the narrator as stated in his book The Rhetoric of Fiction and Joseph Campbell’s theory on the monomyth, or the “hero’s journey”, as stated in his book The Hero with a Thousand Faces. While Dungeons & Dragons has been studied for its psychological and philosophical qualities, very little research has been conducted on the game’s literary qualities and its relationship between the author and their audience. This thesis serves a jumping-off point into an area of study that is ripe with topics and themes to be studied.
Nelson, Christopher, "The Hero Never Leaves the Tavern: Complicating Narrative in Dungeons & Dragons" (2019). Graduate Research Theses & Dissertations. 7490.
Northern Illinois University
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