The Killing Roll: The Prevalence of Violence in Dungeons & Dragons


  • Sarah Albom



Dungeons & Dragons, violence, tabletop role-playing games, textual analysis, combat


This research project explores the prevalence of violence and its facilitation in the popular tabletop role-playing game (TTRPG) Dungeons & Dragons (D&D). Violence within the system’s 5th edition core rulebook, the Player’s Handbook (Wizards of the Coast 2014b), is analysed using textual analysis with insight from previous research on common violence motivators of heroism, hatred, and sensation-seeking curiosity. Overall, the study concludes that the D&D system facilitates playing violence, specifically through heroic motivation based on androcentric perceptions of chivalric fantasy ideals. This study also finds that the system spotlights combat over nonviolent interactions. Future research could investigate how participant agency may affect violence in similar traditional RPG systems, and why choosing violence in a no-consequence game could reflect real-world behaviours.




How to Cite

Albom, S. (2021). The Killing Roll: The Prevalence of Violence in Dungeons & Dragons. International Journal of Role-Playing, (11), 6–24.