Confessions of a Former D&D Snob

Hello. My name is Chase, and I am a recovering Dungeons & Dragons snob.

I used to be one of the folks who would pooh-pooh any mention of D&D, avoid people who played the game, and bought in to the many stereotypes that dog the hobby.

I guess you could say my problem started about 15 years ago, right after I graduated high school. I hadn’t really heard of D&D or any other tabletop games growing up. I lived a very sheltered life on a farm with no real access to the internet… or malls… or friends. But I digress.

Anyway, as I started my college life I gravitated naturally to the D&D groups and individuals on campus. But there was something rubbing me the wrong way – they weren’t too accepting of “newbies,” folks like me who didn’t know a d20 from a hole in the ground.

In one session I was fairly overwhelmed by terminology, explanations and rather rude dismissals of my questions. Those that weren’t excluding me were examples of your stereotypical D&D player – living off pizza and soda, playing all day, all week long, to the detriment of their social and work lives.

I was effectively scared off of D&D and from that point on if discussion steered towards the game, I shut myself off. “If this is how D&D players are, I want none of it, thank you very much.”

Even my cats, Belle and Nate, love dice now!

Fast forward in my timeline to about this time last year. My husband has been a D&D fan from a very early age. And since the time we started dating, he’d insisted I give the game another try. I tried every excuse in the book. Too busy, too confused. I won’t fit in; they won’t like what I would do. Etc., Etc., Etc.

Finally, on this one September weekend, I broke down. “Fine,” I said. “Tell me how to get started.”

He took me through the process of making traditional rolls for a new character. Strangely enough, my wheels started turning. “What kind of backstory can he have?” I asked.

“Anything you want, really.”

I explained my idea: I’d overheard that in their campaign, he and his friends were fighting this crime family that had stolen his character’s recipes for potions. What if, I suggested, my character had been abducted and turned into a test subject for these potions?

We brought it to our DM and with a few modifications to the idea, it passed muster. From there, it was as if a faucet had been turned on – I knew exactly what my backstory would entail, and I started writing. An hour later, I had a four page monologue ready to go on my debut game session.

I was later told by my fellow players that I had gotten some of them in the gut – there had been some emotion I pulled out from my character’s story. And as each game session progressed, I found myself pulled in to their stories.

The wall had come down; I finally understood what this game is all about. And all my perceptions and misconceptions about the game dissolved. And I’ve been having fun playing almost every weekend for a year now, with many more years ahead of me.

I hope more people who dismiss TTRPG players just set those notions aside and play – or even just watch – they’re sure to get something out of it.

Chase is a writer and D&D fanatic that turned his first character into the subject of a new book series: Abel Mondragon. Other geeky obsessions include obscure TV history, cooking, painting (walls) and finding an appropriate Simpsons quote for any situation.

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