Why I Love Dungeons and Dragons (and other TTRPGs)

My relationship with Dungeons and Dragons began somewhere around the year 2000 with the first Baldur’s Gate. I was already a fan of The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings and when I first explored the grounds of Candlekeep I was hooked. Ten years later I got my hands on Pathfinder and Dungeons and Dragons. Since I had played so many hours of D&D computer games I was prepared to live out my fantasies. Here are the top 5 reasons I love D&D:

1. A living and immersive art form

To be human is to love the arts. Anyone who denies this denies a part of their self. Creating and modifying mystical worlds where vivid imagery is the norm is the perfect platform for inspiring all mediums of art. The characters develop over your campaign and the worlds that they explore have the possibility to have all of the complexity of our own while having a beauty totally different than anything in our daily lives.

2. Allows people to discover more parts of their identity

It is very interesting to see what kinds of characters your friends can make. We all have various motivations for creating certain characters, yet they are all a way to discover parts of our personalities, fears, preferences, aversions, and gender identity. I have seen these effects first hand while hosting D&D club session at a middle school and the sense of community and figuring out how they, as individuals, can fit into that community is amazing.

3. Can be very therapeutic

You can be as strong as you wish you were, be as masculine/feminine/androgynous as you want to be, and take risks that you as a player would never dream of taking in your real life. This is a perfect confidence booster and a natural antidepressant. You can practice taking risks when the real life stakes are low and build up a tolerance to risk which can be inspiring and help anxious thoughts and inaction.

4. Builds leadership, math, and communication skills

Its been said that a D&D session looks like a group of people sitting around with dice doing taxes. That is definitely not what it feels like. Nevertheless, you build real life, marketable skills while goofing off with your friends and having adventures.

5. It’s FUN

None of the above would matter if none of it was fun. The sense of adventure and storytelling is really what drives this art form to epic levels. The dungeon master (the rules master and setting crafter who throws enemies and characters at the party) is a high and mighty position with an awesome responsibility. Having a great dungeon master, or DM, is like playing a great video game that you get to make up as you go, or a play that you are a main character and get to improvise basing your decisions on what your character would do. Life is adventure and just like the outdoors, D&D is an integral component to that adventurous lifestyle.

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