Why I Spent 8 Hours Playing Dungeons & Dragons This Weekend

If you’ve watched Stranger Things or maybe if you have some nerdy friends, you may have heard of a game called Dungeons and Dragons (D&D for short). It has gained a little bit more name recognition recently, but it has been a hit among tabletop gamers since it was first published in 1974. You may have also heard of it from some old evangelical pastor telling you not to get mixed up in playing because of Satan or something.

I’ve been playing for about two years now. When my friends first started playing I thought they were crazy for spending 8+ hours playing every weekend, but then I created my first character. Since then, I’ve enjoyed playing almost every weekend, embarking on several harrowing adventures in far flung settings, and have enjoyed lots of quality time with some of the smartest and most creative people I know.

First, a little explanation about the game. Dungeons and Dragons is a Tabletop role playing game. There is one Dungeon Master (DM) and a small band of adventurers (player characters). D&D has published a series of manuals on everything from creating a character, to running a game (called a campaign), to specific books about celestial beings and other realms. All of these books provide a framework for the DM and the players to create a story together.

The DM will create a general outline for the events of the session (a night of game play), and serves as the story's narrator. He or she also acts as all of the NPCs (Non-player Characters) like townspeople, monsters, or anything not played by the players. The DM sets a story for the players, guiding their interactions, presenting them with challenges, and planning out monsters for the players to fight. The players get to react to the DM’s story and interact with the world. Each character is built to have specific strengths and weaknesses and has a unique personality, changing the way they interact with the world around them.

For instance, in the two campaigns I am currently playing in, my characters are a half dragon knight of the dragon queen named Davroth. He is noble (Lawful Good aligned), he is also a spellsword, meaning that he can enchant his sword with special properties to defeat the evil he faces. He’s also babysitting one of the queen’s daughters, Nessie. My other character is a dwarven barbarian woman with a beard. She’s hard hitting, gruff, and likes to mine rocks and smoke a pipe. Together, the players and the DM create a unique adventure and basically act out their own fantasy novel.

I love this game because it requires a lot of creative thinking and problem solving. When I play the game, I think and make decisions as my character would with only the limited information that they have about their world. As I write this, Davroth is about to fight a Kraken and a boat full of zombie orcs with a party of adventurers on the way to save the world from certain destruction. Sound cool? It is. More than that, I’ve carved time out of my week specifically to spend quality time with my friends. Since beginning my adventure with D&D, I’ve met and become friends with people I would not have otherwise. These people are now my best friends, and some of them are my roommates. While our skill at the game has grown, so have our friendships. Just as our characters fight side by side in combat against huge spooky monsters, we support each other in the real world.

Dungeons and Dragons is about teamwork, communication, and quick thinking. It isn’t devil worship; it’s just a really fun game where you write an epic adventure with your friends. Within the world, you can be almost any crazy character you can think of. But the real reason I play is because I really love spending time with my friends and appreciating how fun, creative, and smart they are. That’s why I spend 8+ hours every weekend playing a D&D with my friends. If this sounds fun to you, I’d encourage you to check it out and start your own campaign, I promise you won't regret it (but make sure you play edition 3.5, because 5e sucks).

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