10 Reasons to be Thankful for D&D
The leaves are falling, the turkeys are frightened, and soon the holiday travel exodus will begin. It’s the season to be thankful. That got me thinking: I’m pretty thankful for D&D. Oh sure, it’s caused me to lose precious sleep and maybe some points off the old GPA, but it also broadened my creative horizons and introduced me to lots of new friends along the way. In an effort to spread some holiday cheer, let’s look at ten reasons why you should be thankful for Dungeons and Dragons.
D&D has had its share of detractors over the years. From sticklers who swear they’ll never touch the new editions to zealots who think you’re going to Hell for playing any edition, the game has stirred controversy from day one. For those with a rebellious streak, D&D is a safe way to thumb your nose at society and their misguided attempts to redeem you. Nyah!
Sometimes this hobby makes us feel disconnected from the masses. But therein lies the beauty of D&D. It’s something different. Any group can sit around and watch football, but can they bust into a lich’s tower and make it out alive? Of course not. When you play D&D, you’re part of a loose-knit family with its own jargon and universal truths. Say ‘Hand of Vecna’ to a D&D player, and they’ll probably cringe. Say it to anyone else, and they’ll probably look confused. D&D – making players feel intellectually superior since 1974.
What do you want to be when you grow up? D&D doesn’t nail you down to one profession. You can try them all. And we’re not talking lame professions. Do you want to see what it’s like to be a heartless assassin? A famous warrior? How about a healer who keeps their friends alive in tight spots? From 1st edition through 4th, the class choices are endless. D&D lets you test-drive other personas whenever you wish.
Elves. Dwarves. Drow. Tieflings. D&D gives you the chance to get into another race’s head and view the world as they do. What’s it like to live as a male in a matriarchal society? How does it feel to grow up in a fantastic world full of magic? D&D lets us explore social situations we might never get to (or want to) experience in real life.
What’s not to laugh at? D&D has plenty of ridiculous races and funny clichés. I mean, look at the kobolds. They’re a wee race of dragon-worshippers, many of whom would keel over if a dragon actually came near. And kua-toa, who remind me of that old Dr. Demento song about roly-poly fish heads. Drow ranger with two scimitars and a panther? Check. D&D gives us plenty of things to chuckle about.
Oh, the books. I don’t know how many of them have been published since D&D began, but I do know that I’ve owned nearly all of them at one time or another. For a real book junkie and avid reader, the collective D&D works are a fascinating resource. Need inspiration? Grab a rulebook and start reading. Need an adventure? Flip through a module and tailor it to fit your adventuring party. There’s nothing quite so dorkishly dreamy as the weight of a new D&D book in one’s hand.
You can do anything in a D&D setting. Want horror? Ravenloft has it. Want spaceships? Break out the Spelljammer. Kara-Tur and Legend of the Five Rings will satisfy your taste for Oriental Adventure. Eberron will have you pulling off heroic maneuvers that would make Indiana Jones feel inferior. Forgotten Realms is a vibrant and ubiquitous place to set your campaign. If you’re not picky about the edition, there’s a D&D setting for every taste.
Most DMs enjoy creating things. Whether it’s a hand-drawn dungeon full of traps, or a complete PDF containing the rules of your custom campaign setting, creation is a huge part of their fun. D&D presents a great opportunity for DMs to create plots, NPCs, dungeons, societies and ecologies, and see them in action. It’s a gratifying experience for people who like to build with their imaginations.
The Fun with Friends
It’s only natural to bond with people who share your hobby. I’ve made lots of good friends in the years I’ve spent gaming. Any time gamers get together, there’s the potential for drama, social abnormality, and weird looks from people who don’t “get it”. But game nights are eagerly anticipated, and the gaming table is a place of fun and adventure. For that, I’m grateful.
Last, and also least, we have minions. They make our PCs look good. Enough said.
Why are you thankful for Dungeons and Dragons? Let me know in the comments section!