By this point, you may have noticed that I’m kind of a big geek. I’m okay with being called that. It’s an accurate assessment of my personality. And I’ve experienced a lot of geeky things. But there’s one thing that I never done, and I actually kind of feel sad that I haven’t yet:
I’ve never played a single game of Dungeons & Dragons.
I’ve come close. I remember during a high school basketball game, some of my friends in the pep band disappeared into a stairwell adjacent to the gymnasium and busted out the maps and dice and had a game in between songs. When I was in college, one of my roommates bought a D&D-esque boardgame and he played it with a bunch of our friends. I actually participated in that, oddly enough as the story-telling dungeon master. And a few years ago, several of my fellow spec fic author friends who write for Enclave Publishing played the beginning of a campaign set in the Star Wars universe through a video chat party.
But the original D&D. Nope. I’ve never rolled a single die as a fantasy character.
Now the reason why I never played might surprise you. As the son of a pastor, you might think my lack of play was due to the moral panic over the game that was rampant in the ’80s. Bu it really wasn’t. Oh, sure, I heard the stories of how confused kids were being possessed by demons because they were casting spells as part of a game. I heard all about Sean Sellers, who murdered three people and became a Satanist, which his lawyers attributed to his “obsession” with the game. You’d think that I did my best to avoid D&D as a way to protect my soul.
Only that’s not it. I simply never played because none of my friends did. Or, if they did, they never invited me to join them.
And I have to be honest, this kind of bums me out. I’d love to give this a try at some point. I’m a storyteller at heart, and this seems like a great way to tell a story together.
Now I know, this might rankle some folks. After all, echoes of the ’80s panic still warble in some corners of Christendom. But this is what I’ve learned over the years: people usually overreact when they encounter something new that they don’t understand. The mere trappings of magic and sorcery in the game made people nervous and, rather than investigate it, they jumped to the wrong conclusions.
So will I ever correct this? I honestly don’t know. I still don’t know of anyone in my immediate circle of friends who are big into D&D. Maybe someday. But for now, I guess this will have to be one of my life’s regrets.Author @JohnWOtte has never played Dungeons & Dragons. And he kind of wishes he had. Click To Tweet