I’ve been playing Dungeons and Dragons for a few years now, and one of the things I’ve noticed is that there are so many real-life lessons that can be found while rolling dice, creating characters, hunting dragons and casting spells. Here are just five of the life lessons you can pick up by playing D&D.
Sometimes, opposites do attract
Teamwork is a huge part of Dungeons and Dragons. Most parties feature a quirky band of misfits from different backgrounds and each with their own unique skills. A peaceful druid might need to work alongside an aggressive fighter, and a studious wizard might need to ask help from a stealthy rogue. In D&D, players work together to make the most of their strengths, share knowledge, and make decisions. Being able to work with others, particularly those with different skills and backgrounds from you is hugely useful in real life too.
Everyone is fighting their own battles
In D&D every character has their own story, their own player behind them, and as you play the game, you realise that to work together with this eclectic bunch of barbarians, warlocks, and druids, that you need empathy to get along. Every character probably has their own tragic backstory, their own strengths, weaknesses, and drives, and understanding that is the key to working together. This is absolutely true in real life too. Everyone has their own things going on behind the scenes, and by having empathy, we can better understand where people are coming from and how we can best work together. This might sound similar to my first point, but being able to work with different people and being able to understand and empathise with those you’re working with are two very different things.
Sometimes, it’s about the journey
Now, I know this is horribly cliche, even for me, but I think this is so true. You may end a D&D campaign by taking down an immensely powerful dragon, but the best moments were probably the ones you found along the way. Players often start a game in search of one goal, and by the end, find that what they really want is something else entirely. The best moments in D&D are the unexpected ones that nobody planned for, and these are often the ones that have the biggest impact on the characters in the game.
It’s your flaws and oddities that make you powerful
Another thing I’ve learnt after playing D&D for a couple of years now is that the things that really make the characters are their flaws and the little details that make them unique. My last druid’s personality was shaped by her upbringing amongst the forest animals, and while this made her awkward around humans, it also gave her an outlook that none of the other party members had. My old fighter was teased for being soft by the other orcs, but it was exactly his soft heart that made him a beloved member of a group of adventurers. The best characters are always flawed, and they’re never simply a stereotype. D&D would be no fun if everyone was the same perfect character, and I feel the same way about life.
Don’t judge a book by its cover
In D&D it’s easy to fall into the trap of judging a book based on its cover. There are plenty of stereotypes and assumptions tied to the races and classes in D&D, and one of my favourite things is turning these stereotypes on their heads. Characters have fallen into trouble plenty of times by assuming the “fair maiden” is harmless, or the “ugly orc” means them harm. The toughest fighter might be the kindest, and the most charming bard might be the most deadly. The most beautiful, magical shield might be cursed, and power always comes with a cost. All that glitters is not gold, and I think this is pretty relevant to real life too.
I’ve had so much fun playing Dungeons and Dragons over the last few years, and I really believe that it has value as much more than just a bit of fun. It’s escapism, exploration, acting, storytelling, and problem-solving, all wrapped up into one, and it’s such a unique experience that can’t be replicated any other way. There’s also a wonderful community surrounding the game, and D&D has introduced me to some wonderful people. There’s more to this game than just rolling dice, so if you’ve always wanted to play but never had the chance, it’s time to get out there. If you’re like me, you’ll never look back.