You've probably heard of a little game called Dungeons and Dragons. It's that game nerds play, right? Wrong. I'm here to clear up some common misconceptions about D&D and show you why it's one of the healthiest things a college kid can do.
We've all got our issues, and college is a stressful time. A lot of people get overwhelmed. Now that we're deep into second semester, some people have gotten the hang of it.
But not everyone.
That's okay. I'm graduating and I never got the hang of it. What I did get, was D&D. D&D is one of my favorite ways to de-stress and not think about school for a few hours. If the phrase "I wish I was somewhere other than here." has ever crossed your mind, here are 5 reasons for you to try out some Dungeons and Dragons with accompanying gifs from Critical Roll.
1. Anyone can play D&D.
How often do you have an activity where anyone can participate? The obvious is that D&D is not about being athletic, but it goes deeper. I've played with a lot of people who each have a unique mind. Some people identify differently and are afraid of talking about that in their regular lives. Some people face mental challenges that make every day an epic quest itself. When you're playing D&D, none of that matters. The person beside you is your friend and a party member. You may argue in-game, you may bond in-game, and you'll definitely slay some monsters together, and that's all there is to it. You can be in a room with people having fun who might normally never even talk to each other.
It may take some time to find the right group for you. That's okay, and it's worth doing. No one has to be afraid of being left out. I guarantee someone, somewhere really does want to play with you. The spirit of D&D is fundamentally cooperative. It is not like online games where there has to be a winner and loser. There's nothing wrong with those games, I enjoy them too, but D&D lets everyone have fun. There's no winning D&D, and there's no losing. It's just overcoming obstacles, together.
2. D&D is more than rolling dice.
D&D is a roleplaying game which means you'll take on a character and act like you're them. Some parties will be all about combat, and more power to them, but most parties are going to involve roleplay. You don't have to be an actor, very few people are. Also, I find a lot of people have some surprising chops once they get comfortable in a group. Regardless, the characters you play are going to life-threatening situations wrought with danger and ending with huge achievements. Literally, anything is possible in D&D. In one game, I dethroned the ruling council of a city and instated myself as ruler. I became tyrannical, but my character believed he was doing it for the good of the people. That whole process involved one combat. The rest was talking and planning. My party was by my side, questioning me and ultimately forcing me to see what I had become. The challenges of D&D are little microcosms of real world conflicts, but in D&D you can always find a way out. You're never lost for too long about what to do, and you've always got friends to back you up. It's extremely cathartic after the stress of going about regular life.
Make no mistake, I'm not saying we should live in a fantasy realm and not believe our real life is real. I'm just saying life is difficult and unwinding in a world where there's always a solution helps bring calm and perspective back around to my regular life.
3. Got anger? Get D&D.
If we don't find safe ways to express anger, we blow up. No one is immune from getting upset. Bad day? How does slaying a dragon sound? How about harnessing the power of a god and smiting some fools? Like I said before, D&D is cooperative, so you get all this release without having to make anyone else feel bad. D&D gives you clear tools for dealing with situations whether they're combat or escaping prison or trying to get into a party. Unlike life, D&D doesn't have scenarios where you do everything right and you don't overcome in the end.
Plus, humans are weird. Sometimes we just get a little bloodthirsty. I'd much rather people take that out on goblins than anyone real.
4. Be someone you've always wanted to be.
Are you a fan of anything ever? Welcome to D&D where you can be anything ever. My first character ever was based on Batman and Cloud from Final Fantasy smashed together. If you're normally a quiet person, you can experiment with being really loud and belligerent or exuberant. You can do anything you want as long as you're not taking the fun away from everyone else. Who hasn't wanted to be a wizard or a superhero or a knight or a pirate? Who hasn't wondered what they would be like with a different past, or if they just decided to be different one day? D&D lets you live as whoever you can imagine. Even more fun, you've got a group living out their own characters next to you. There's probably going to be some really strange exchanges that end in tons of laughs.
5. It's just a lot of fun.
It's so easy to get invested in D&D because you're playing a character you created every aspect of. Your character is an extension of you, so the two of you succeed together. When you slay that dragon, you feel it. Your party goes nuts. You can bellow out a warcry that anyone else would make anyone else wonder about your sanity. You get to laugh with friends that you may not have ever talked to if it wasn't for the game. Bonus: It's really cheap to start. Actually, you can play it totally for free if you don't want to get to complex right away. Even a serious player only needs dice and a couple books if they want them. It's cheap, pure fun.
Just roll with it.