Theory: Is Stranger Things just a Dungeons and Dragons game?

Date:  July 16, 2022

Stranger Things will end with season 5 and there are already so many theories about the Upside Down and Vecna - but could the story simply be a game of Dungeons and Dragons Will Byers and his friends are playing in Mike Wheeler's basement?

Stranger Things started with Hawkins kids Will Byers (Noah Schnapp), Mike Wheeler (Finn Wolfhard), Lucas Sinclair (Caleb McLaughlin), and Dustin Henderson (Gaten Matarazzo) playing the fantasy board game in a basement. After Will went missing, the group used D&D to try and understand the sinister happenings in Hawkins.


There are clues since season 1 as the characters likening the Upside Down to the Vale of Shadows and Shadow Realm. Season two introduced the Mind Flayer which was targeting Will before it managed to crash into Hawkins in the third outing.

Finally, season four introduced Vecna (Jamie Campbell Bower), who was banished into the Upside Down by Eleven. Vecna is also another creature from D&D, who is also known by the moniker “Master of the Spider Throne”, which would fit with Henry Creel’s obsession with spiders.

Apart from that when Nancy Wheeler (Natalia Dyer) and her friends entered the Upside Down, she finds out that they were still in 1983. This timeline would suggest the kids are still playing D&D back in 1983 when Stranger Things first started.

Elle Dwight, the CEO of the free online role-playing game (RPG) platform Role spoke to about her thoughts on this theory.

Elle said: “One of the joys of role-playing has always been that the fantasy is all around you, just at the edge of your imagination, waiting to be grasped. As a world that seems to twist reality in a sinister way, it would make sense that the Upside Down pulls from the imagination and fantasy of all these kids dreaming up the world they play in D&D.

“Whether that world is literally the world of D&D is probably left intentionally vague, but the correlations are there. Even as a nightmare realm, it is still a realm steeped in magic and imagination. That sounds like D&D to us!”

What do you think about this theory? Put your thoughts in the comments.

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