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How Dungeons and Dragons Saves Lives

Dungeons and Dragons has come a long way over its forty year history. Since it was released in 1974, it has allowed countless gamers to go on magical adventures with their friends.

By 2004, it is estimated that over 20 million people have played Dungeons and Dragons, and that number is only continuing to grow.

While for many, Dungeons and Dragons is just a fun social past-time, the game has had an impact on a number of players in a much more dramatic way. A number of people credit their success to Dungeons and Dragons, even saying that the game has saved their life.

In this blog post, we’ll go through some of their stories.

Fostering Creative Roots

As the original open-world fantasy game, Dungeons and Dragons has always fostered creativity and imagination. Many artists, authors and game creators credit Dungeons and Dragons.

This is because the games allow you to use your imagination to solve problems. You and your friends are basically creating your own narrative within the bounds of a story and world.

It allows you to try out different character traits. You can gain empathy by considering how your character — who may be very different from you — would react in a given situation.

Countless authors credit Dungeons and Dragons with teaching them the basics of literary creation. George R. R. Martin, the author of the book series “A Song of Ice and Fire” — more widely known in TV form as Game of Thrones — played as a child.

Stephen Colbert, Robin Williams, Matt Groening (who created “The Simpsons”), and Dan Harmon (creator of the TV show “Community”)

Jerry Holkins, the co-founder of the wildly popular web comic “Penny Arcade” played Dungeons and Dragons avidly throughout his childhood and teenage years.

All of these authors and creators credit Dungeons and Dragons with giving them their storytelling start.

From Having Fun to Saving Lives

While being such a powerful source for creative development is pretty incredible for a game, Dungeons and Dragons means so much more to so many people.

A number of people credit Dungeons and Dragons with having saved their lives.

In spite of the negative media that surrounded the game in its early years, many people began to play it. They were accused of being nerds, losers, and outcasts.

During the 1980s, the game was even accused of being part of a Satanic ritual.

So why did so many people play?

Finding Like-Minded Friends

When playing Dungeons and Dragons, you can’t help but bond with your party members. You and a small group of people make a commitment to spend time together, meeting up regularly.

The continuation of your story together is a powerful pull to make sure that these meetings continue to happen.

Plus, you get to interact in a friendly, open environment. You know that the people playing with you are interested in the same things you are.

You don’t have to feel weird about your interest in fantasy; instead, you can be completely open about what you love, because you know that your party loves them too.

Plus, even though you are only playing as characters in a story, the way you progress through the narrative helps you bond. Sure, the goblin hoarde you slayed together wasn’t really about to kill you, but the relief that your characters pulled together and survived makes you all breathe a sigh of relief.

Throughout its history, Dungeons and Dragons has created a safe space for like-minded people who were never able to find their interests represented in popular culture.

It has brough together people who may not have been able to relate to others since they could never find people who really understood them. It is especially important for people who may have difficulty relating to others, such as people with autism.

Developing a Sense of Self

Dungeons and Dragons allows you to build a character that you roleplay as. This character can be anything you want. It does not have to be a reflection of who you are.

This is one of the things that makes Dungeons and Dragons so wonderful for more introverted people. They can try on the traits of another person, say things that they would never say, and do things that they would never do.

A shy teenager can become a courageous warrior, a powerful barbarian, a mysterious ranger, or a wise-cracking rogue. They can try out other ways of acting in a safe environment.

Any embarrassment for saying something stupid or doing the wrong thing falls on the character, not the player, so there is no need to be anxious.

While to some, this may sound like simple wish fulfillment, it actually has strong psychological effects. The game improves social skills, communication, teamwork, and problem solving by creating a non-threatening environment for experimentation.

All of this helps someone develop a stronger sense of self and confidence.

Many people such as journalist Levi Miles have written about how Dungeons and Dragons increased their confidence.

Getting Started with Dungeons and Dragons

Another great thing about Dungeons and Dragons is how easy it is to get started. Since most of the game is imaginary, you don’t actually need that much equipment.

You will need an adventure book to get started, such as the Dungeon Crawl Classics.

The adventure book basically contains the story that you and your party will be playing. While the choices you all make will change how the story plays out, it is useful to have these basic guidelines.

You’ll also need a set of dice. You’ll need the famous 20-sided die, of course, but also a number of other different-sided dice for the various calculations you’ll be doing in the game.

Plus you can get other accessories like a dice rolling tray from Easy Roller Dice Co. to help keep any dice from rolling off the table.

Beyond that, you just need to find some like-minded friends who are equally excited to build a world of magic, mystery, and adventure. Get started on your first Dungeons and Dragons campaign today!

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