February 21, 2012

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3 Lessons I Learned from Dungeons & Dragons

dungeons and dragons

Lesson 1: Don’t Let Your Mom Be the Dungeon Master

One day, when I was about 11 years old, my Mom came home with a new game she thought her boys would love to play. It was called Dungeons & Dragons. Just look at that cover design! My inner nerd rejoiced.

After opening up the game, we had to read all the instructions. This wasn’t like any game we had played before. We each had to create our individual characters, rolling dice to determine our capabilities. We had to pick a Dungeon Master to run the game. We had to learn the meaning of the word dexterity. About 45 minutes later, we finally were ready to play. 4 Level 1 characters ready to kick some ass. Yeah, I’m a wizard. Lets do this! What do I have . . .wait . . .two spells? That’s it? Well, it’s a start. OK.

Mom, acting as the Dungeon Master picked our opponent for our first adventure. Into the deep dark world she sent our four Level 1 characters, and pitted us against 5 Red Dragons. We were all dead in 60 seconds. Later when we asked Mom why she picked the most powerful creature in the D&D universe to annihilate her children, she told us “It was the only thing I recognized in the game.”

We didn’t let Mom be the Dungeon Master after that.

Lesson 2: Your Friends will Love it. Parents, Nuns and the Catholic Church Will Not.

Eventually, I got some of my friends to play. Then my popular friend began to play. Who got more friends to play. Soon, there were a whole bunch of us playing the game every day at lunchtime. They all actually seemed to enjoy the game. Just one problem. I went to a Catholic grade school. It must have started to freak the nuns out, becauseĀ at one of the Sunday masses, the parish brought in a woman who told the entire congregation that her son killed himself because of Dungeons & Dragons. The very next monday, every kid but one told me they couldn’t play anymore because their mom wouldn’t let them. Ahh D&D. The gateway drug to . . . well. . . I guess to drugs. And Satanism. And eventually suicide.

When I told my Mom about this. She thought it was ridiculous. “You kids play this game and enjoy it. It forces you to use your imagination. What is the big deal?” Yep, my Mom could be pretty cool. But, she still isn’t allowed to be the Dungeon Master.

Lesson 3: Nerds are nerds. Some are just the more obvious of social outcasts.

I never saw one girl play the game. Saying you played D&D pretty much made you a dork in the mind of the majority of people. Now, as an adult, I find it quite amusing how the types of behaviors that made you an outcast as a kid, are now mainstream for people today. Tell me Fantasy Football isn’t just the sports version of D&D. You have to acquire players. They have attributes. You score the game. It takes hours of your time. Someone wins, someone loses. Again, not many ladies in the FF world. How are video games any different from D&D? People play World of Warcraft(OK, probably still nerdy), but a lot of people play first person shooter games like Call of Duty or Halo. I think everyone is a nerd about somethingā€”games, sports, shoes, Facebook. If you are a nerd. Just embrace it. There are always more of you out there. And when you find your tribe, you’ll realize you really aren’t an outcast at all.

So, despite the dangers of warping my mind, D&D was quite beneficial to me as a kid. I didn’t end up doing drugs because of it(unless you count the consumption Coca-Cola). No late night human sacrifices(unless you count the consumption of Doritos). And definitely no suicides(unless you count the suicide of my social standing with the nuns). And really, God only knows what those nuns did in their free time.

OK, off to kill the Dragon upon my adamantium steed through the valley of death. In other words, I gotta go to work. And traffic’s a bitch.

Sincerely,

Maaaaar

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