High school. Nowhere else in the world will you find four years of pimples, awkward moments and a sham of a “coolness” hierarchy that means almost everything to the average student. Many of you will recall walking into the cafeteria as a freshman and pause to gaze over the ocean of axe body spray and hormones. If you were fortunate you started out your first year of high school with a cadre of friends but if not it was in this moment that you had to choose where to sit. Each high school is broken in the main groups: the cowboys, the jock/cheer leaders, the artsy kids so on and so forth until your eyes fall upon “the nerd table.” Admit it, each school has one.
My nerd table, unfortunately was avoided by me because they played “that game.” This small group played many games but the one I am implying is Dungeons and Dragons. Little did I know that I will look back and wish I had spent a few lunches with this welcoming fun group.
Weather or not you play a Role Playing Game (or RPG) you have some sort of prejudgment of the participants or the game itself, we all did at one point. As for my view of the players check out the YouTube video “An 8 Bit Reenactment of Dungeons and Dragons” (hilarious video below). It pretty much fit everything I thought of the players.
Nowadays games like D&D, Pathfinder, and Shadowrun are not seen with the same stigma as they were in the 80’s. Since Gugax sold the first book, Dungeons and Dragons has seen over 20 million players who have spent over a billion dollars, so it is safe to say that not only nerds play. When you sit at the table to play feel comforted that people like Vin Diesel, Mike Myers, Stephen King and the Rock Dwayne Johnson are playing somewhere in the world.
RPG games have evolved and perhaps mutated quite a bit since the early days. What truly is amazing is the lack of how many commercials and billboards you see advertizing RPG’s. Truth is I have never seen any (I am not saying that there never has been). This game sells itself with the tried and true marketing campaign “word of mouth.” Its how I got started.
So why do I wish I had joined the nerds in creating character sheets during lunch and meeting up on weekends to play D&D? I wish I had because perhaps back then I would have seen that I have a love for storytelling and critical thinking. I just finished writing my first novel and wish that I had started a decade ago. Sitting in the Dungeon Master’s chair and my writer’s chair feel so similar (perhaps because they are the same chair) that why shouldn’t I write? No where else have I met so many jolly welcoming people that just want to have a good time and are willing to accept you. I submit that if we invite more people to play more people will see the importance of working together and overcoming differences in personality. I challenge you to find a group (I know I need one) or invite someone to join you. They might thank you for it one day.