The Social Dynamic of D&D

A recent oped hit the NYT on why the cool kids are playing D&D.

(The author is Annalee Newitz).

As a kid I was into RPGs. I played D&D Basic, AD&D, and so on through the ranks to 3e, 4e, and … I haven’t hit 5e yet, because all my friends are dead*. It wasn’t just D&D, but Cyberpunk (2012, then 2020), Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, Runescape… you get the drift. The games were a fantastic glue for social interaction, and we’d game at lunchtimes at school, or in the weekends, and so on. There’s a sad, historic view that RPG players are lonely recluses, when the opposite is true: they want deeper, more intimate connections with the people they care about, so much so that they want to voyage into terrible dungeons and murder monsters with ’em.

(RPGs are excellent for an elastic, imaginative mind. I’m thinking about picking up Pathfinder and Starfinder as writing resources, and have the The Ultimate RPG Character Backstory Guide and The Lazy Dungeon Master to look into.)

* They now have kids and this impacts 8-hour D&D marathons.

We’ve noticed an interesting thing in Casa du Rr, as both of us are forgoing Facebook for more “life” time. Dinners with friends, or going out to piglet races… We do not miss Facebook at all, and on the odd occasion where we login, we’re kinda over the curated, this-is-your-friend’s-life version of events the timeline provides.

The oped above is worth your time, not just because it’s anti-Facebook – hey, each to their own – but because it promotes something that’s missing from the fabric of modern life. A better-paced interaction with the people you care about, conversations with meaning rather than rampant arguments, and having fun. I mean, Facebook’s media feed isn’t a rollercoaster ride, amirite? Hanging with your friends – whether it’s to roll some dice, or do a line of coke – has a better emotional reward.

If you’re wondering what all the fuss is about, maybe check out Critical Role or Stranger Things. Worth your time!

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