Why you should play Dungeons and Dragons

I love Dungeons and Dragons.

On one side, Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) is a role-playing game where you play as a character in a fictional world. On the other, it is a collaborative storytelling experience.

Here is why I believe everyone should play at least once D&D and what the game can teach you.

Put yourself in the shoes of others

You can play as whoever you want. Have you always wanted to be that big muscle guy who negotiates with a giant axe? D&D got you covered. A peasant who joined the adventuring party because they are going through a mid-life crisis and need to discover themselves? Sure, why not. Or maybe you want to explore what it feels like to be someone else - a different race, gender, social status. D&D gives you that freedom.

I played many characters - from awkward outcast to interplanetary rock star. From holy paladin to gay vampire. Each one of them showed me how different life can be and what those people go through.

You can go one step further and not only play but act as your character at the table. You can create a unique voice for your character and speak with it in the game. You can behave like your character and interact with other players as your character would. Deep inside, D&D is just a nerdy improv.

Improvise. Adapt. Overcome.

D&D will try to throw a wrench every time it can into your plan and force you to think on your feet. And you have total freedom how will you approach them.

Combat is always an option but it is not the only one. You can try to talk your way out of a sticky situation. You can deceive your opponent. You can team up with someone else and give them your problem.

Possibilities are endless. D&D will train your creative problem solving and thinking outside the box skills.

You can also discover something about yourself. Maybe you have people skills but you were not put in a situation where you can use them. Or you may discover you are resourceful and can find creative solutions. The characters you play will teach you something about yourself.

You are the author of the story

You don't play D&D alone. Other players and the Game Master (who plays the non-player characters - NPCs) interact with your character and you interact with their characters. D&D is a collaborative storytelling game and everyone at the table contributes to the story.

Playing D&D will improve your imagination, communication and storytelling skills. You never know where this will take you. Dwayne Johnson, Joss Whedon, Stephen King, Mike Myers, Kevin Smith, Vin Diesel and Stephen Colbert are just a few famous people who play or played D&D.

Jon Favreau, the director of Iron Man and the creator and one of the executive producers of the Star Wars television series The Mandalorian, said:

D&D gave me a really strong background in imagination, storytelling, (and) understanding how to create tone and a sense of balance

How to start playing D&D?

  1. Get a Players Handbook or read the free Basic Rules for Dungeons and Dragons.
  2. You'll need a basic set of dice - 4-, 6-, 8-, 10-, 12- and 20-sided dice. You can find them on Amazon, in your local game shop or you can use one of many dice apps out there.
  3. Get a group of friends to play the game. The group will need 3-5 players (you can have a bigger group but the more the player the messier the game becomes) and a Game Master (you'll need Dungeon Master's Guide for that) who runs the game. You can meet physically at one place or you can run the game via Zoom, Discord or other. Alternatively, you can also join an existing group. Check Reddit, D&D Beyond or Roll20 for groups around you.

Good luck and have fun!