D20 for Valentine’s Day: In defense of Dungeons and Dragons

This Valentine’s Day, cut the crap. Flowers die. Poems—let’s be honest—suck. If you think you can write a poem, chances are very high that you can’t. Candy makes you super fat—and let’s not even get started on the diseases! No, this Valentine’s Day, get your special someone a set of D20s and an erasable map for a Dungeons and Dragons campaign!

Think of the nerdiest thing you can think of. You just thought of Dungeons and Dragons. Don’t lie. There are no exceptions. And because of this, I think the game has gotten an unjustifiably bad rap. Which is unfortunate, because until you’ve tried it, you don’t actually know how great of a game it is.

And don’t take my word for it (Reading Raiiiiiinbow). Read this excerpt about D and D from Vin Diesel, or he’ll kick your ass:

…okay, turns out I can’t find this excerpt online. But I’ll describe it to you – the gist is that this guy loves D and D so much, and has been such an avid player for more than 20 years, that he wrote the forward to a thirty year anniversary Dungeons and Dragons book. If Vin Diesel loves it, then so should you. It’s science.

Doesn't need to roll"Bad-Ass" check. Auto-pass.
Doesn’t need to roll”Bad-Ass” check. Auto-pass.

Want to know something else amazing? People you know play D and D. A lot of them. You would be surprised who, and you wouldn’t really know it until you yourself try it. It’s like D and Ders release a pheromone that alerts the others to their coolness.

I started playing D and D about a year and a half ago, admittedly after some trepidation. It felt like I was plunging off the deep end of geekdom, to which there was no going back. Don’t get me wrong – I’m fine with and embrace being a nerd, but my concern stemmed more out of a “this will suck all my time away,” rather than a worry about how I would be perceived.

But that’s the thing I soon realized – unlike a lot of time sinks, D and D is great because, at its core, you’re just getting together with friends and hanging out in a structured, extremely creative setting. Our campaign currently is engaging, and our Dungeon Master is fun and lenient, encouraging exploration of the game’s limits without letting us completely break the game. Most importantly, however, the sessions are hilarious. More than “winning,” the games are about having a good time and making jokes as we experience “our own story.”

I think it says something that Borderland 2's D and D spoof was some of the game's most enjoyable content.
I think it says something that Borderland 2’s D and D spoof was some of the game’s most enjoyable content.

And that might be my favorite part about the game – it’s “creative storytelling” masked as a game. You make the decisions. You can roleplay your character (as much or as little as you want), which leads to some great moments. As a (self-proclaimed) writer, I actually take notes about our campaign, because sometimes people’s reactions are really surprising, genuine, and spectacular—and not anything I would have been able to conjure up myself.

The game is fun, and although we’ve spent cumulative weeks on our campaign so far, I consider it time well spent. It’s both a great creative source AND outlet, and if you get a good group of friends together, it’s a great way to hang out and get some good laughs.

So, for this Valentine’s Day, get your girlfriend or boyfriend to join a campaign, even if they don’t seem like the type to like it. You might be surprised how much they enjoy it.

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