View Full Version : What *is* Dungeons and Dragons to you?

Arch Lich Thoth-Amon
11-30-2009, 06:39 PM
What is Dungeons and Dragons to you?

What i want from everyone is to dig deep inside and ask yourself: What is Dungeons and Dragons to me? What unique qualities make one want to play this game for decades w/o ever getting bored of it? Is it the system, the essence, the feel it gave you when you first played it, the specific world in which its played in (this could be homebrew, which goes without saying), ...so what is it exactly? And remember, this is not a discussion whether old school or new school is better (feel free to share your approach), for when broken down to its lowest common denominator, old or new school is simply an approach that can be used with any edition. If you're not happy with that answer and verbalize it, then i will sick tesral or one of the other immortals on you!

For me, it is a great many things including the fear one feels for ones character when facing insurmountable odds with a small likelihood of surviving. It is the chill felt up ones spine when feeling around in the dark w/o having night vision once the torch goes out, always wondering whether something will will eat you or worse, you will fall into a crevasse and be lost forever. It is a basic familiararity of the world in which my characters adventures in, which for me would be Forgotten Realms, Mystara, & Greyhawk. It is knowing that a band of orcs are on your tail in the middle of the night and everyone in the party isn't sure which direction they are going in due to the storm. And, it is the knowing that there is no forgiveness for mistakes made and one could die at any time and for any reason. These are but a few examples that describes the essence Dungeons and Dragons to me.

Remember, any and all answers are correct. Feel free to share edition favorites and old school or new school approaches you choose, but remember, this is not a thread on whether old or new school is better or which edition is best. Why? Because the answer changes from person to person.

What is it about Dungeons and Dragons resonates your soul? Basically, what makes one want to play this game over a lifetime compared to... lets say, Monopoly, or Life?

Please remember these two rules with my thread:

What share you?

11-30-2009, 10:44 PM
What is Dungeons & Dragons to me? A gateway. A yellow-brick road to a world of shared imagination like none I had experienced before. When I was younger, I really enjoyed the various "Choose your own adventure" books. Something about the idea that I was in control of the main character and the direction the story would ultimately go. Success or failure hinged upon the choices I made and if I failed, I could always try something different the next time around.

Dungeons & Dragons introduced me to a world where I had even more control over the actions of my protagonist and the only limit to the story was the collective imagination of myself and the Game Master. D&D offered so much more freedom that any other medium could offer. Video games, card and board games...all felt sadly limited in comparison to the infinite possibilities of a Role Playing Game.

I have since gone on to discover and enjoy more varieties of RPGs than I can remember and D&D itself has become an object of a sort of "love/hate" relationship of mine, but if it weren't for D&D, I might never have been introduced to this amazing hobby...a hobby which continues to fascinate me after 14 years.

11-30-2009, 11:45 PM
As far back as I can remember, I was always attracted to science fiction and fantasy. I guess a lot of this had to do with my dad taking me to see Star Wars: A New Hope at the Minetto, NY drive-in when it first came out, and then it's re-release in the late 70s. Star Wars has been and always will be to me what I see as the core of Fantasy - the never ending struggle of Good vs. Evil, albeit with a high-tech backdrop. Then along comes the Rankin and Bass animated presentation of The Hobbit. That was it, I was hooked. Travel through wild, untamed lands, Orcs, goblins, giant talking eagles, horrific large spiders, elves dwarves, hobbits, magic, and best of all - DRAGONS!! I couldn't get enough. Along comes the movie Legend with Tom Cruise and the age old battle is presented superbly by Ridley Scott.

So, what is Dungeons and Dragons to me - living and experiencing the age old battle of Good vs. Evil without the moral ambiguity that exists in real everyday life. It's travel through wild, untamed lands full of danger and wonder. It's seeking and finding a dragon's hoard and the dragon who owns it. It's other races that while may look human in their own distinct physiological ways, they are psychologically and culturally diverse from the human norm. Most of all, it's the normal fellow who rises to the challenge that doesn't start out larger than life or as the hero, but evolves into and becomes something greater than everyone else. It is also very gritty, with magic present, but something feared and respected, rare, understood and practiced by a few. Best of all, I get to live albeit only in my mind's eye, exploits and travels similar to what Bilbo experienced in The Hobbit. Ironically enough, the shared comraderie with other players is last on a long list of things that Dugneons and Dragons is to me, yet it is exactly what the game promotes.

12-01-2009, 12:35 AM
<snip: awesome>
Basically this. Though my own gateway was a different game, DnD was second and a fairly consistent fixture in my gaming environment.

Also being silly with friends.

12-01-2009, 07:24 AM
I've always been a huge fan of fantastic stories with heroes and dragons. Just like Webhead I wanted a way to take part in the story, not just read about what the heroes did. Instead of the Choose Your Own Adventure books I went with video games. The original Ultima games and the Elder Scrolls series filled a lot of my time.

They felt limiting though. The heroes always could do way more than the video games allowed, and they always had a party, or at least a sidekick, and the games were all single player back then.

Enter D&D, which cleared up both of those problems. By design you're playing with a group and the options are limited by your own imagination.

We started with mostly action, the excitement of battle and exploring deep dark caves and eerie crypts. Its evolved since then back to the stories that got me started in the fantasy genre. I see the game as group story telling, everyone adds bits and pieces to the narrative as the adventure unfolds. Sometimes the story is action packed with ogres and trolls, other times its quieter with the party discussing their quest and figuring out parts of the larger story that's being told.

12-01-2009, 03:01 PM
Growing up, not many kids my age wanted to hang out with me. I guess you could call me the "ugly duckling" of my age group. when I first got into D&D, (this was around 3.0. I was a late bloomer, I know) I found an escape. An escape from my dull normal life. I could go to a place where none of my problems mattered, a place where all I had to worry about was the next battle or the next obstacle some unruly mage would throw at me.

at first, that's what it was: just a panacea against the problems I was having with my self image and self worth. I had always had held a GREAT respect and interest in anything dealing with fantasy, magic, and swords. D&D, it seemed, was made for guys like me. I played through 3.0, moving to 3.5. After a few years, I had a very big falling out with a lot of my then "best friends". I not only lost the friendship of people I cared about, I also lost my escape. I fell into a deep depression, having no way to vent my unneeded emotions.

However, that changed not so long ago. About a month and some change ago, I met someone (on this site, no less!) who got me back into D&D. I have to say that it has helped me greatly, both emotionally and in feeding my love for fantasy. I now play 4.0 ( NO BASHING!!), and in my opinion, 4.0 has brought me even deeper into the realms of Dungeons and Dragons with its ease of play.

So, what does D&D mean to me? It is both a cure for my hermit like tendencies of the past, as well as a great way to make friends with a better understanding of things and a maturity level that is more my range. :D:D:D

12-01-2009, 03:25 PM
to me D&D is the best F-en RPG ever produced.

Thanks Gary Gygax.

Every D&D player out there should give Gary Gygax a toast.:violin:

12-01-2009, 03:44 PM
To me, it's pure escapism from this depressing world we live in. You are free to play a role that is impossible to do in this world. Thankfully, there has been an ever improving amount of support for the D&D genre. There has never been as many different systems out there either for people to
choose from. :high5:

I for one am glad it's still around and it looks like there will be lots more dungeon delving & combat for the foreseeable future. :fencing:

12-01-2009, 06:35 PM
There was always this awesome tribal aspect to AD&D. Setting down and tapping into that primordial bit of imagination that went back to when we were warriors, mighty and unstoppable. It was fused with communal storytelling that elevated everyone around the table we were not very dice driven in our games and it was a collective form of storytelling where everyone got their say in what part of the heroic journey they got to play. We never really got to those heroic heights with say... Kult or the myriad of White Wolf games we played later although we had an epic Werewolf game it still wasn't as fine as our adventures through the mostly Greyhawk environment we trod upon. We were mighty, we were giants, but we never forgot our humility on our adventures either.

12-10-2009, 07:37 PM
Thirty three years of a wonderful hobby and fun.

12-10-2009, 07:50 PM
For me, simply put, the perfect game - combining my love of board games, maps, fantasy fiction, fantasy art, problem-solving, story-telling, monsters, and a whole lot of fun and great memories with friends spanning more than two decades.

12-29-2009, 01:07 PM
It's something I wanted to try and have no regrets.

12-29-2009, 05:33 PM
Having an enjoyable time with fellow gamers while we travel through a fantasy world, solving problems, fighting creatures, and finding treasure.

12-31-2009, 12:18 PM
D&D to me is group story creation: we're all writing the same story together, and none of us knows exactly how it is going to turn out. We're only limited by our imagination.

I also agree with many of the above sentiments.

01-01-2010, 06:15 PM
d&d was an escape from the realities of the problems i faced growing up. it was a place i could control as dm and a place to release the aggression and other emotions i needed to release is a safe manner. even now i still use it to that effect at times (after about 30 yrs of playing) but now it is a social experience of meeting new people who have similar interests as well.

01-01-2010, 06:46 PM
The Monsters, its the one reason I keep playing D&D at all over the years. Even from the beginning I was more interested in the Monsters and their ecology than my character or the story.

01-10-2010, 11:12 AM
D&D to me is the ultimate escape. After a totally crappy day, I can vent my spleen and kill and maim and rape and kill again - and nobody gets hurt. After a GOOD day, it only gets better.

My wife of almost 18 years LOVES it when I game, because I am just so calm and NICE afterward. Her only rule is that I don't come to bed within two hours after breaking up a session, as I am VERY restless as my mind sorts through everything that happened.

I have also found that I have a very addictive personality - and if it weren't for D&D, I would be a hardcore alcoholic, that is, if I hadn't opted for harder drugs. And I'm not even coming close to joking about this one. D&D is my big, bad pressure release valve.

01-15-2010, 03:26 AM
I may be somewhat new to D&D (been playing it for 6 months now), but I find it to be a game you can never get tired of because there is so much room for expansion and creativity. You could overhaul all the races and replace with woodland animals. You could play it forever and never get bored, I think.

Also, it is a great way to spend your Sunday. (And your Tuesday and Saturday too.)

01-15-2010, 10:10 AM
As long as one is not constrained by the published material. I've been at it 34 years and plan to be at it 34 more.

01-15-2010, 10:55 AM
To me its the best video game ever made. you can play anyone you want, anyway you want, with your friends best way to hang with your friends and all come together and kill things......Like Final Fantasy that doesn't end that you play with your friends.

01-16-2010, 01:13 AM
Before I played the game, all I thought the game was, was evil, at least thats what my great grandmother told me all her life, and to this day.

I met a friend, he said to try it out, and I was nice and said okay. Thinking I was going to just watch, wich mostly I did for half the time. I saw the game as wonderful and it quenched my thirst for my huge imagination. All I remember was grabing my friend Caleans dice, and rolling it. I don't remember if I hit, but I didn't care. I was having fun, and I was hooked.

My first character, Azar, a 15th level half-elven fighter/wizard from 2nd Ed was awsome. He slung spells and used his trusty longbow. I now have moved on to 3.5 and Pathfinder, I even find myself in some 4e. But my roots are in 2nd Ed.

I knew that everyone who told me D&D was evil was wrong that very first time I played. It's fun, and I knew I never fit in with other people. But here, I could be normal. I was at home.

Thinking back now, if I never met up with my friend, what would I be like, I really can't picture myself without D&D in my life. It made me who I am today... a nerd X D. And I have been loving every minute of it.

03-01-2010, 02:48 AM
Great question!

I think I can answer this simply. For me, playing D&D is a way to have fun with a group of friends while exploring our collective imaginations and simultaneously providing an escape from the "stuff" of everyday real life for a few hours.
--- Merged from Double Post ---
Here's to Gary Gygax! {Raises glass and drinks in his honor} Thanks for an awesome game!

03-01-2010, 08:18 AM
Let us not forget Dan Arnson. Many people do.

The Magic King
03-03-2010, 05:03 AM
I think they mainly forget Arnson because Gygax has a much cooler name.

Anyway, to me D&D is a wonderful tool for entering a world which is filled with adventure which is sorely lacking in most peoples lives.

03-05-2010, 09:52 AM
D&D to me always brings forth memories of the wonderment and the joy of first discoveries and playing with friends.

Coming home and being proud and telling my mom of defeating a dragon. I was 8 or so. :D

03-05-2010, 09:55 AM
True. I did, and for that I apologize.

{Raising a glass to Dan Arnson and another to Gary Gygax}
--- Merged from Double Post ---
That was a great post, Timelesstyrant.

I think you mentioned something important here as well. "Maturity level." One of the things that makes D&D great (at least in my humble opinion) is that it can be structured to nearly every maturity level. I have gamed with serious gamers and those who simply looked for a laugh at every turn. I've also played campaigns with serious and somewhat mature themes, but every now and again, we'd switch it up and run a very lighthearted session, just for laughs or to break the tension in the campaign. That's important. Really afterall isn't D&D about getting together with a few people to have a great time? I think so. With D&D it's easy to do.

03-05-2010, 09:18 PM
I was 12 or 13. My best friend (at the time) showed me this Red Box he had gotten for a birthday present. He wanted to try and play. In a couple of days we had 3 other kids in the neighborhood hooked, and I had spent every dime I had saved on the Blue, Turquoise, and Black Boxes. :D

D&D has been the hobby of hobbies for me for over 20 years. I love sci-fi/fantasy, and D&D was a way to "live" the fantasy stuff I had seen on TV or read in a novel.

Some of the closest friends I have had over the years were fellow gamers. You get to know a gamer very well when you sit across the table from him/her during many many sessions. I've got good friends that aren't gamers, but I can't think of any of them that I could say I know better than some of the gamer friends I have had over the years.

I can't think of a better escape from daily stresses than gathering around the table for an evening of D&D. I love losing myself in the heroic tales I've helped spin in a good D&D session.