Well, mostly because I’m excited about Dungeons & Dragons in the rest of my life. I am playing in two games right now, I’m planning a game for teens at the library, and I even just finished reading a book about the game’s history, Of Dice and Men: The Story of Dungeons & Dragons and the People Who Play It. I wanted to like it a bit more, but the guy is just so stereotypically nerd bro-y that he either cannot imagine a woman liking the game, or is AMAZED the once or twice that he meets a woman who plays. OMG CRAZY. Cue giant eye roll.
The book just made me want to read the more meticulously researched and well-received Playing at the World: A History of Simulating Wars, People, and Fantastic Adventure from Chess to Role-Playing.
But I digress. Let me tell about why I’m excited to try D&D at the library. Emphasis on the trying since my program doesn’t start for a week. It could be a giant disaster and everyone will hate it! WHEEEE! But hopefully not.
I’ll definitely tell you if it fails so you can learn from my mistakes and not just never mention it again and deny it happened when you bring it up.
Anyway here’s why I hope D&D @ MHL will be fun:
It’s collaborative, creative storytelling. Telling a story with a group of people is not something we get the chance to do all that often. We get to read other people’s stories or make our own, but this is telling your story along with someone else’s and seeing how it turns out for both of you.
It makes you get to know yourself better . . . and then stretch yourself. I wouldn’t say that I’m the first person to jump in when there is a problem or heck even respond to a question in a discussion. I like to listen and wait, then maybe listen some more and talk about it later. This means I am not good at making decisions. But that’s ok because when I’m playing a character I can make them like me – a decision avoider – or I can try to be a decision maker. I know that’s what I’m like in real life but I can certainly try out different personas – someone who decides immediately! or isn’t afraid of spiders! – in D&D.
It allows you to be outrageous in a way that your real life doesn’t allow you. Wait, Anna, you’re not a half-demon sailor whose whaling ship got stolen by your ex and now you’re out for revenge? Surprisingly, I’m not. I’m not a dwarf on the run from the mob family either. But I can be those people in D&D! Tell a story about a ghost whale or plan an elaborate trap that involves kicking at shrunken down wooden door at a group of hellhounds, and have it work out well? Yeah, it’s ridiculous but that’s sort of the point. I can’t do those things in my actual life because . . . reasons.
It teaches you how to get along with different types of people. Or they will really annoy you and you’ll figure out how to deal with it!
It’s just really fun. I mean, did I mention that you get to go on adventures where you are the main character or one of them?! It’s basically like 10-year-old Anna’s life goal. I wanted a Star Trek holodeck not for any weird reason – looking at you Riker and your weird sex holodecks – but because I wanted to be in The Lord of the Rings. If I had known that that’s basically what D&D was? Well, my adolescence would have been a lot different . . . and a lot nerdier. Which is saying a lot.
It’s actually not Satanic. If you didn’t know: it’s all pretend. It’s like Harry Potter aka made up. Magic isn’t actually real so no one is sacrificing anyone to get power or worshipping the devil! Get your 1980s Satanic Panic outta here! (You should really listen to the SYSK podcast. It’s fascinating and super terrifying.)
There are a lot of other reasons that I’m sure I’m leaving out. I hope the teens enjoy it. I’ll be using some pre-written characters and adventures from the D&D Adventurer’s League and Dungeon Master’s Guild. Anyone currently running role-playing games at their library or just want to be ULTIMATE NERDS and talk about D&D with me? I’m here!