By - December 1, 2008 - 12 Comments

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.

The Controversy

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!

The Exclusivity

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.

The Classes

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.

The Races

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.

The Humor

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.

The Books

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.

The Settings

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.

The Creativity

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.

Minions

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!

 

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Written by Janna

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  1. Adrian says:

    D&D gave me friends at University and has given more friends after.
    The sorts of friends you can laugh with without it being at someone else’s expense.
    The sorts of friends who help others when they can.
    And it’s given me escapism from day to day work.
    During the day I work in IT.
    One evening a week, I’m someone else.
    (That doesn’t involve high heels!)

  2. Nick says:

    Although I haven’t played enough on the board – mostly on PC – I’m thankful for giving me the chance to imagine a different world where I can do about everything!!
    And my character is such a good guy!! (lol)

    Escape from routine…

  3. Tony says:

    They’re about heroics. They’ve emphasised this in the 4th edition, but the earliest editions were the same (they sort of lost their way a little at the end of 2nd Ed and partly in 3rd Ed). Want to be a hero of legend? What to be able to do heroic deeds? Want to be a force for good, a force for change, to do the right thing with a huge fanfair of trumpets in the background? Want to jump in a save the Prince in Distress or help the Princess reclaim her throne?

    D&D is about being a hero, unrepentant righteous heroism. It’s a light in the dark, hope amidst despair. It doesn’t excuse itself, it doesn’t pretend to be anything else. It’s the pulp fiction of roleplaying, for better or worse and it leaves you feeling good.

  4. Kevin Richey says:

    11. Red Dragons

  5. Nightmare says:

    DMing gives me my power fix without bashing people’s faces or going into politics (AHHH, POLITICS!!!!!!!)

  6. Steve-o says:

    I’m thankful that D&D gave me a basis for creative outlet, a place where I could be like the characters I had only read about in novels, for creating an awesome bonding device for friendships that have lasted for years inside and outside the gaming circle, as a great way to meet new friends with similar interests, and all the good times I have had with all my friends over the years even if the friendship lasted only as long as the game. And I am grateful for the conventions that have been spawned in relation to the game.

  7. Yax says:

    @Kevin: Red dragons was obviously implied in the list. Janna probably just assumed everyone was thankful for red dragons on a daily basis..

  8. Kevin Richey says:

    @Yax: Thanks for setting me straight! :)
    Janna, great post, probably my favorite “Thanksgiving” RPG blog post this week. I must concur with “The Fun with Friends” reason. Finally I have a social hobby, as opposed to past hobbies that were mostly solitary, and expensive (LEGO collecting and flying airplanes – both now put on hold). All you need are three core rule books and some willing victims, er, players. Everything else can come out of your head or off the internet.

  9. Kent says:

    Gaming is not only a friends social gathering, but also a family gathering time for me…I get to see my Dad, my brothers, and some of my firends every other weekend or so. It is a time that we alone can share, and laugh together at.

  10. Janna says:

    @ Kevin Richey: Pfft. Of COURSE it’s a given that we should be thankful for red dragons. I mean, they’re red. And they’re dragons. What’s not to love? (Don’t eat me, Expy!!)

    I must admit that the social element of D&D is what I’m personally most thankful for. It gives me the chance to push my creativity to the limits and to unleash my creations on others who share my insani– err, love of the game. :)

    Hope you all had a great holiday!

  11. Nadene says:

    I have Hard cover d&d books, and Modules with maps for sale..In Ohio..

  1. [... 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 ...]

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