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Why Everyone Should Play Dungeons & Dragons, According To Chris Pine

Since its inception in 1974, Dungeons & Dragons has had an outsized cultural impact in the United States and beyond. The legendary game heavily influenced the development of tabletop RPGs and fantasy-influenced board games, video game RPGs, and more, in addition to its myriad references in popular film and TV properties like "E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial," "Futurama," Pixar's "Onward," "Community," and "Stranger Things."

The new film "Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves" takes inspiration from the game and its classes, creatures, and other elements, concocting a new and original story rather than adapting any particular campaign. The result is a funny and action-packed cinematic outing, making it an accessible comic fantasy journey whether or not you've played the classic game. According to star Chris Pine, however, you really, really should.

In a new interview with Looper's sister site /Film, Pine revealed that while he didn't have the longest history with Dungeons & Dragons, his experiences playing the game with his family taught the actor that it is not only a fun, multi-generational experience, but it also teaches a bunch of skills that would benefit just about everyone.

Learning the gospel of Dungeons & Dragons

Chris Pine shared that despite signing on to lead a D&D adaptation, his "understanding of Dungeon & Dragons is quite new." His mentorship in the game came from his nephew — a major D&D player with experience writing his own campaigns — who walked the actor and his family through the tabletop RPG. "My father's 82, my mom's 76, I had no knowledge about it, my sister has no knowledge about it," he explained, yet "within 15 minutes, we were having the time of our lives and we didn't have to know anything."

Immediately, the actor drew a parallel to his own career, given the performative and imagination-heavy world of D&D. "It doesn't matter if [it's] the Sending Stones or the Mimics or whatever, the world of Dungeons & Dragons and role-playing is acting. It's improv," he noted. "It's, 'Here's what's happening. This is what you have. This is your obstacle. Now go.'"

In enjoying the game with his multi-generational family, he had an epiphany, realizing, "The gospel of Dungeon & Dragons that I think is so important to know, why I think it should be played in schools, is that it immediately teaches cooperation," a skill that's often in short supply. There's an inherent team-building element to it, and beyond that, "It exercises the imagination. It's joyous, it's improvisational." In Pine's experience, "Within a matter of minutes, everybody's on the same page." 

Most importantly, he explained, "You're not arguing about whether or not you're cool or not. You're arguing about whether or not you should have gone over the boulder to kill the dragon." D&D, he summarizes, is "about the coolest thing I've encountered in a long time," and it sounds like we'd all benefit from a round or two.

"Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves" premieres March 31, 2023.

Static Media owns and operates Looper and /Film.