Gamer’s Corner: Why I Enjoy Playing Dungeons and Dragons

by: tania lasenburg

Dungeons and Dragons is a fantasy role-playing game. This is the simplest way I can describe it to someone that has never heard of or care to know the game. According to the dictionary, it is defined as “a game in which players take on the roles of imaginary characters who engage in adventures, typically in a particular computerized fantasy setting overseen by a referee. “

When I was 14, I wanted to play DND. No one around me really knew anything about it but I found out very fast that I was interested in fantasy, world-building, and mythologies. I wanted to dive into DND, even if I was going to do it all by myself. My father said no. His reasoning was “why?” Which was fair; his bookworm daughter wants to play a game that has been placed in a very stereotypical category. Why did I want to play in a magical world? I really couldn’t give him a straight answer but I knew I wanted to do it. But at 14 I was broke. So there was that.

I first “played” DND when I was 18. I say played in quotes because the rules and foundation were given to me but I never joined a campaign. A campaign is a “continuing storyline or set of adventures, typically involving the same characters.” A friend of mine had played it previously with a group of his friends and started teaching me the game. The excitement builds up again. This time, I had a job; I had some friends that we already were playing games with, so I figured this was the best time to start this up.

At the time, I was with a boyfriend that was unsupportive in me playing DND. I remember it clearly; we were at Barnes and Noble and I was saying how much I wanted to play the game and he began calling me a nerd and saying that creeps play that game and just weird people. A customer walking passed us said loudly, without stopping, that Vin Diesel plays DND. I laugh at that memory because the fact that someone came to defend an interest of mine was just mind-blowing. This is something I will always treasure. But, at last, I did not play.

Fast forward to a year ago. A group of my coworkers had been playing DND for a few months and recently lost a member of their party. Shortly after their departure, I was invited to play by the DM (dungeon master), who happens to be one of the best people I know. We spent 3 hours at Barnes and Noble on a Sunday working on my character. To this day, it was one of the best experiences, I have ever had as a gamer.

Her name was Mei and she was an Eladrin Monk. Mei was tall but built as if she was a runner. She had long black hair and lavender eyes with a hint of sadness behind them. She was cautious of everything because it wouldn’t be hard to get caught in something she didn’t want. She had no friends but wasn’t lonely. She lived long enough with her memories and her goals that they kept her company. She read everything but experienced little. She wasn’t scared of all of the world. . just one. She was afraid of going home and that is what kept her in the middle of the woods just far enough but close enough that she would find her way back if needed.

I took hours creating her and her backstory. She was a commoner but knew the streets like it was no one’s business. She met a boy young and they became the best of friends. And like most YA fantasy books, they grew up and fell in love. She did not know that he was royalty until it was too late. Because being a commoner and being in an intimate relationship with royalty was forbidden and was punishable by death. Before she was brought to the public to be killed for her crime, she escaped the Feywild to live in the human world as a hermit.

I was too excited to begin her journey. To learn more about this elf that was like me but then not at all. I wanted to see her growth but more importantly and very importantly, I wanted to hear her voice.

I played 3 sessions with this group and then the campaign ended due to the DM moving.

To say that I was disappointed is an understatement. I wanted to be part of this. Shoot, I have tried to be part of this on multiple occasions and to get this close, making my first kill shot, almost getting killed and testing a story-line was catered to me . . . I was ready and then horribly let down.

Fast forward again. My friend, who is the DM for Chaos Conductors, decided that his team were going to move their campaign to Twitch and begin streaming it. From day one, I was all over it. Shadows of Zethris is such an emotional investment. It is everything I wanted to be part of. Watching Chaos Conductors and others, stream their campaigns, such as Legends of Avantris, I was brought back into a world that I thought, that I passionately thought, did not want me.

Now you’re probably wondering what is the point of this post? Why did I decide to spill my beans about this topic? It’s simple really. I freaking love the crap out of DND and everything that it involves and I wanted to share that. I love watching people build emotional attachments to their characters. I love watching DMs build these epic worlds with constant moving parts. DND compliments my love for reading and imagery. Its live action story building and I.LIVE.FOR.IT.

Dungeons and Dragons is more than a fantasy role-playing game. It is an escape and bonding experience that you didn’t know you needed. At least, that is what it is for me.