Stranger Things and Dungeons and Dragons go hand in hand, and the core group is big fans of throwing themselves into the world of fantasy play.
Mike (Finn Wolfhard), Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin), Will (Noah Schnapp), and Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo), first play the 1983 Expert edition of the game in Mike’s basement all the way back in season one.
They use elements and monsters from their session to describe and explain the otherwise unknown forces that plague Hawkins, and low and behold, all sorts of creepy stuff starts to happen.
In season four, the crew is back at the gaming table and this time around, they’re joined by Eddie Munson (Joseph Quinn), who, as Dungeon Master and head of the high school’s D&D club, leads the players through the game.
What is D&D?
Dungeons and Dragons, also known as D&D, is a popular open-ended role-playing game.
Each player creates their own character to play, and they go on to embark upon imaginary adventures within a fantasy setting.
A Dungeon Master (DM) serves as the game’s referee and storyteller while maintaining the setting in which the adventures occur, and playing the role of the inhabitants of the game world.
The characters form a party and they interact with the setting’s inhabitants and each other.
Together, the group solves dilemmas, engages in battles, explores, and gathers treasure and knowledge. In the process, the characters earn experience points (XP) in order to rise in levels and become increasingly powerful over a series of separate gaming sessions.
Is Stranger Things based on D&D?
Stranger Things definitely draws inspiration from the beloved game Dungeons and Dragons.
Co-creator Ross Duffer previously explained how he came up with the idea for the characters to contextualize the monsters they face through the lens of D&D creatures.
‘What we really wanted to do with the kids in season 1 is that, as they’re encountering these extraordinary circumstances and these supernatural events, we started to think about how we would react to that if we were kids,’ he said.
‘We would reference pop culture. What the kids in the show really love is Dungeons & Dragons. They know monsters from D&D, so they’re going to go, “Well, this reminds me of this from Dungeons & Dragons.”
‘That became a shorthand for referring to these monsters or other supernatural events that are happening to them.’
Brother Matt Duffer added: ‘This is why the kids are better at handling this than the adults; they live in this fantasy world.
‘We particularly wanted to use Dungeons & Dragons [since] it is so much more immersive than any other game because of the role-playing element. In a way, Stranger Things is like a massive D&D campaign, where the role-playing completely takes over their lives. It’s almost like they’re sucked into a D&D game.’
What are some of the D&D villains?
There is a multitude of D&D villains, including the Illithid, also known as Mind Flayers, Demogorgon, Vecna, and Borys.
Vecna is the main antagonist of the fourth season of Stranger Things.
Stranger Things is available to stream on Netflix.