Dungeons and Dragons: Insight and Gratitude
"Okay, let’s set up the scene. You run across the group of bandits.” The dungeon master looks at all of us. “In fact it’s the same bandits that jumped you at the beginning of the session and killed those commoners. They’re all gathered around the campfire talking, counting gold and taking stock of what they’ve stolen.”
“Are they hostile?” The fighter wonders, as we all start to pick up pairs of dice. She shakes her head. “Like, I’m not trying to get killed right now. Again.”
“Not currently, but they also haven’t noticed you yet because of your earlier stealth roll.”
Everyone looks around at each other. “Are we gonna do this?” Asks the fighter.
I look at my companions at the table around me who give me a thumbs up. “Better to get the drop on them so they can’t do anymore harm. I take out my crimson dagger immediately attack the one that looks like the leader.”
“Can Herald Inspire Jasmine, before you do that?” My fellow bard asks, just to make sure I get some extra assistance in my actions.
“I swear if I have to heal all of you again.” The cleric grumbles at the same time, pulling out his spell sheet.
The dungeon master nods. I mark it down on my sheet, and smile as I toss the twenty sided die to the table, waiting with bated breath.. It’s life or death now. "
This is a simple taste of what someone might run into if they were to play a tabletop RPG (role-play game) called Dungeons and Dragons. From that point, a moment can be badass, comical or even tragic, depending on how the dice roll and what the players do. An experience as fun as it is stressful.
When I was first introduced to the game, I was excited to learn; how to roll dice, create a character, and then suddenly become someone entirely new. A kid like me was able to do something I normally couldn’t. It was a thrilling experience. I was another person with different and unique experiences living in a world that existed on a plane between me and whoever else was at the table. I could be anyone I wanted to be: brave, valiant, chaotic, flawed in all the right ways. When I’m at the table I am a warrior, a spellcaster, a father, a sister. Since that day, I’ve created over fifty characters, all of them unique and a part of their own stories. Adina Swan, the half-elf explorer with a knack for a crossbow. Ezekiel Gray, the draconic sorcerer who searches for his lost love. Raincloud, the air elemental gunslinger whose sole purpose has become to keep a celebrity alive long enough to let her take vengeance on a arsonist. Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) is a place of possibilities--and I’m not the only one who feels this way about the game. Numerous players find D&D to be a creative outlet for not only role playing, but living vicariously. I talked to both new and experienced players who gave me an array of answers to the question: Why D&D?
Why D&D? You play D&D to have a good time with a group of people, however small that group may be. Whether it’s going to the RPG club on Friday evenings or getting together with a group of buddies to figure out what this game is all about.
Why D&D? A friend once told me that the characters created by her were a part of her identity. She was both a part of them and they a part of her, enabling her to learn from her characters’ experiences. Every character, every paladin, fighter, lover, bard, hero was herself in another skin, some of it the best of her, some of it the worse of her. At the same time, it’s helped her with her own social anxiety and insecurities, helping her through it.
Why D&D? It always depends on the people you play with. You’re creating a world that you’re experiencing not only as a team, but as a family that you build together. You’re always going to talk about the time where you ran off with a group a criminals and started a cult together or the time when one player became possessed and you did everything in your power to save them, or the time when your character died and everyone was willing to bring you back. You experience all of this together, as a team, creating beautiful moments that will last a lifetime.
There’s something about this game that has captured the hearts of so many including my own, creating a feeling of accomplishment when you finally defeat the final boss who has been making your party’s life a living hell. The heartbreak of the character leaving the party to go their own way. The pride of finally getting with that one cute elf that you’ve had your eye on since you met them in the general store that one time. Whether you’re a player or a dungeon master, there’s something to be gained from this game of wit, fun and teamwork.