Dungeons and Dragons and More


My friends and my enemies.

Dungeons and Dragons is something that I ran in parallel to for a long time before recently getting to play it for real. I listened to podcasts and read the literature. I played a forum version of it which is just not the same thing. Dungeon and Dragons is not a whole lot different from most tabletop roleplaying games. It is a system of collaborative storytelling where you and friends are playing both with and against a friend calling themselves the dungeon master (or game master). Tabletop roleplaying puts you into the shoes of your character and you must control them as you act and react in an imaginary world. Personally, it has helped me come out of my shell a little more.


Like most young kids in the nineties, I wanted to be a vampire at one point or another.

I was a shy kid. I talked to my friends but I did not take a whole lot of chances when it came to social skills. As a hopeless introvert, becoming somebody else was my fantasy. I wanted to be somebody interesting. I played a lot of video games but when I grew up, games were played by yourself or with one friend. A woman I had a crush on in theater told me that she and her friends played a game called Vampire: The Dark Ages. I was enraptured by her stories. I really wanted to play too but I was kind of underage at the time so that invitation never came. I created characters on my own but I never got up the courage to ask my friends to play. Some of them probably would have done it but I will never know now.


And yes, you can work through some issues with roleplaying.

Now that I am running with a group, I wonder how I was ever not doing this. Also, I realize how helpful it is. It forces me to make decisions about what I want to do and what I must do during pretty dire straits. However, those dire straits are imaginary so there is a very low risk. Dungeons and Dragons is really good with this. The game can turn brutal in an instant and what was looked easy has now brought you to death’s door. Will you go down the left or right path? Will you attack the ogre or his wizard pal? In this safe space, you get to act as something more than yourself. The fantasy is an outlet for seeing different parts of yourself. Most of my characters spring from something I wish I was or I hope I am not.


I resisted making this next bit political.

There is also the axis of alignment. That is an incredibly important concept that arose in roleplaying games and Dungeons and Dragons in particular. It actually teaches a bit about the real world. On the far left of the axis is chaotic and the far right is lawful. In between is a spectrum between lawlessness and lawfulness. On the bottom of the axis is evil and on the top is good. In between is the spectrum of kindness and spite. In the exact center is neutralness. I have thought recently about who I am. I know that when I was younger I was lawful good but as you saw in an earlier story, I wanted to be seen as chaotic good. Now, I think I am somewhere in between. I am neutral good. I want to work towards the good of all people but I understand that some laws are good and some laws are bad and you cannot just obey the law blindly.

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