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Thankful for ‘The Original Social Network’

Written by LanJemWezz - Published on November 24, 2012

All this month we’re asking our various Dungeonmastering.com contributors what D&D means to them, whether its delving into their Geek past, looking at how the game currently manifests itself in their lives, or wondering what the future with it holds.  Here is what Lance Wright, our expert on finding fluff from crunch through his The Art of the Small articles, said:

When I think of the many ways in which I’m thankful for Dungeons & Dragons and what it has given me, the first thing that comes to mind is the people I’ve shared it with. I first learned to play the game on the carpeted floor of a friend’s bedroom, where we couldn’t even roll the dice properly—and didn’t need to!—because the game had always existed in our imaginations. Everyone grows up playing make-believe at one time or another, but it was a true revelation to me at the time to find an entire set of rules built to facilitate such a pastime. And the great thing was, anyone could play it! Of course, just as with anything, you have to exercise that imagination for it to grow, but everyone who comes to the table has the capacity to enjoy D&D, and, in a broader sense, role-playing, with all its many joys.

Looking back, though, the greatest treasure D&D has yielded me has to be the friends. Starting out as a player, I was amazed at the wide range of personality and background types at the table. There were geeks, and goths—par for the course, really ;)—but also jocks, and dads, and tennis coaches, church goers and troublemakers, guys and gals, couples and singles, fat and thin, gay or straight, the list could go on and on. It was my first experience in a social network where everyone wanted to be there, and no one was out of place. Even if we weren’t exactly ourselves for much of the game, we could all see each other in the characters we played, and everyone respected that. It was kind of like how I thought the “social contract” between strangers was always supposed to be. No one was being judged, because no one judged (except for a few die rolls)!

My D&D social network expanded throughout my high school years and into college as I began to take on the role of DM more often. At each stage, I found that the game and the environment it created was the easiest and best way to make new friends. I even began to think of myself as something of a matchmaker, as at least two pairs of players I have gamed with went on to become couples and get married. These last eighteen months, my love for things D&D and role-playing has even given me the chance to parlay what I know about it into what we hope will be a profitable venture. What began as a personal ad left in a local hobby shop “seeking serious Forgotten Realms players,” has vaulted me into a valued relationship with a friend and his group of partners as we set about designing our own steampunk campaign setting that was funded 139% successfully on Kickstarter. It’s named “Pure Steam,” and if I had to stop helping to design it after today, I would still be thankful for what I’ve contributed.

The thing is too, I’ve never thought of D&D players or gamers as being some kind of marginalized subset of the population. I truly believe everyone has a bit of gamer in them. Games are a great way to get to know oneself, and to get to know others as well, and D&D just happens to be one those that I am most grateful for. Thank you, D&D!

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Written by LanJemWezz

Writer for ICOSA Entertainment LLC, and author of the upcoming in-house offering, “The Alchemist’s Trilogy”: a series of Pure Steam tie-in novellas. Also, look for his short story “Dark Magic in the Root Cellar” in the “Dreamless Roads” anthology for DreamWorlds Publishing, due out Winter 2014!

Check out the Pure Steam Campaign Setting at: puresteamrpg.com, drivethrurpg.com, paizo.com, d20pfsrd.com
Twitter: @PureSteamRPG

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2 Responses to “Thankful for ‘The Original Social Network’”
  1. AJ says:

    I think the first line of the second paragraph sums up the D&D experience with me as well: “Looking back, though, the greatest treasure D&D has yielded me has to be the friends.” I’ve come to learn that although the game, systems, mechanics, and imagination is all extraordinary in its own right, but in the end the game is about the friends.

  2. LanJemWezz says:

    You bet! It’s about the friends. Many of whom remain some of my most valued to this very day.

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