Dungeons and Dragons have been around since 1974. This was the source of all things geeky, nerdy and high fantasy. It has been represented by pop media as a game teenage boys play in their parent’s basement. From older video games to modern shows like Riverdale, the name lurked in my life, yet it wasn’t until 2019 did I first get into it.
I was introduced to the game during an extremely low point in my life. I was fresh out of highschool, riddled by family problems, and personal issues. I was transitioning from the bubbly academic life to the tough adult world. I was alone, and in great pain from relational issues with my parents. Eventually, I resorted to moving out, getting a job and navigating the world alone.All my friends were in college at this point. I never contacted them, because at that time, I was ashamed of being an out-of-college youth. I was descending into the dungeon, facing all my demons. I even dipped into certain vices such as alcohol and…men. I was never interested in these things before but it’s amazing how pain can make one do the unthinkable.
When D&D was introduced to me, it made me think ‘Why just now? Why haven’t I met tabletop roleplaying before?’ The game allowed me to meet like minded individuals, and a community where I could truly be myself. I was reunited with my creative side. It gave my 10-year hobby of worldbuilding a meaning. I was inspired to write again. But the best part of it all were the people. It’s amazing how being part of a community can cure you. It’s almost surreal how subtle loneliness can ruin our lives.
D&D was a way for me to escape the real world, in a good way. It allowed me to become a hero, going on a journey with people and levelling up. But wait, aren’t these present in a lot of video games these days? Yes, it is, and there are massive communities of online gamers. However, the charm with D&D is that it’s real. There are actual people sitting with you on a table. You can see their faces, feel their smile, and join in moments of laughter with every ‘Nat One’. And these weren’t lonely introverted highschool boys that I’m playing with : They are professionals. People in their 20’s and 30’s having jobs, paying bills and managing relationships.
If playing the game cured my loneliness, more benefits conjured as I took up the role of the Dungeonmaster.
The Dungeon Master or the ‘DM’ is one who facilitates the game. They’re a mixture of director, facilitator and sometimes referee, and that’s just the few hats they wear. They also create the world, craft the plot, and track the characters with their unpredictable whims. Being a DM made me rediscover my voice. For someone with social anxiety, this was both a challenge yet a confidence-booster. With every “Thank you for the game, DM.” my calloused, dark heart becomes softer and brighter. The people I play with have also recognized my worldbuilding hobby and gave their support. Being a DM affected me so much because I even got inspired to get a new job after my previous one ended.
However, my favorite lesson learned from D&D is the art of taking chances. It taught me that life isn’t all about being as good as God. It’s okay to not be good at everything. But what matters is recognizing your strengths and weaknesses, and playing around that. D&D exposed me to risk. It allowed me to fail through the eyes of my character. Yet the failures always fade away with a chance of success. It taught me the cliche-yet-true wisdom that ‘you’ll never know if you never try.’ So, what if I’m not the best writer in the world? So what if there are any people out there with experience, or earning six-figures? If I don’t give it a shot, I would never see success. Failure is inevitable but if I continue with my journey, I know I’ll level up. Rejection will always be there but I have to try. Who knows, maybe I’ll land a crit?
As of now, I’m still a low-level human being but someday, I’ll be successful in ways I never thought were possible.
I am ever thankful for having D&D in my life! How about you? Has Dungeons and Dragons changed your life too?