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Are dungeons and dragons games really this much fun?

 
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Youtube decided I wanted to watch this.



I was feeling too lazy to get up and find a better video.

So I watched some of it.  And then I kept on watching it.  I really liked it!  4 hours later, I watched the next one.  This is so cool!

I've always liked the look of D&D games, but since (being on the extreme end of the introvert scale) I have no real-world friends, I never knew anyone who played it.  Or at least, anyone who had a game that welcomed Noobs.  They were all in very well established groups.  

But now it's getting to be rather cool to play these games.  

I was wondering if they are as fun as they look and if there are any sort of online way to play these games?  Not like a video game, but like the one in the video.  Only with zoom or something.  

I don't know.  I just feel it's a really nifty looking game and I'm in a bit of an only-child-none-of-my-friends-would-play-bord-games-with-me kind of mood, so I was wishing I could play with people as cool as those guys.  

It is probably a lot more social interaction than I'm good with, but if I could be someone else while doing it and drink lots of beer (which seems to be a big part of how those guys play), I think I would have a lot of fun.  
 
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You have entered my kingdom m'lady!

I shall send a half-goblin steward to guide you through the provinces.

--Enter the goblin--

"This my good lady is the topic of Dungeons and Dragons, and whether or not they are fun. I shall endeavor to share with you the feelings of my master the lord Johnson and his over-indulgent opinions of this game.

There are many provinces in this kingdom and each lord rules his or her domain in a different style. Each hoping to have "fun".

One very large province is the realm of hack and slash and build your character's gold, experience, reputation and other numeric indicators of power. This strokes the dopamine centers of those player's brains and they enjoy the feeling of developing their characters in that way.

Another province is the princedom of role-play and theatrics. Many of the adherents to the prince's ways don't care so much about the rules of the game and like to use it as a way to do personna play and sort of a tempered version of LARP (live action role-playing).

There are many many villages between these two kingdoms which share bits of one and bobs of the other.

My lord, the Herald of Benevolence, The ruler of Cheesedoms, and the Roller of Many Polyhedral Dice, Johnson, likes to discuss with his players how  and what they find "fun". Thus trying to create an environment where all the participants have a good time! For it is rare that everyone enjoys the exact same aspects of the game. Therefore, each ruler of each province (the person who runs the games) must work hard to ensure that everyone actually is having fun.

Thus the answer to your question is likely, "YES! No. Maybe so. It depends!!!"

--Exit the goblin--

Sorry for my indulgence. I love this topic to bits and pieces.
 
L. Johnson
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On a more concrete level.

I have played many sessions of dungeons and dragons with many different people. Most of the time I had fun because I bring fun to the table.

There are times when it can be not-fun. When things get boring and uninspired. I think those times it's probably better to play another game, because D&D needs its participants to be INTO it. It doesn't generate fun by itself, the players do.
 
r ranson
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That sounds like a lot of fun!

What I really like about the video is that sometimes they are adventuring and sometimes they are doing mundane things.  There's a lot of room to play with different aspects of that world.

The DM(? guy who guides the plot) seems to need a lot of skill and do a lot of work.  There must be a lot of love for the game to get good enough to do that job.

 
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My kids play Pathfinder which is the new dungeons and dragons because of copyright stuff, at least in the US. Two of my kids are dungeon masters aka the people in charge of creating story lines and what not. They are very creative, some of what they use is provided by a company, much of it comes from my kids imagination and creativity. Like most things in life, you get out of it what you put into it. My one kid will research for 4 hours for each hour of play, sometimes seemingly for no reason when they take a different path, but this kid is a writer, knowledge is never wasted. While it's not my thing, I don't really see any negatives. My life took a different path, not a better path.
 
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Both my sons played it and #2 Son does the DM thing and likes to fool his friends, so things get pretty loud when they get going! Yes, it takes a lot of imagination and flexibility to be a good DM. You need to understand what sort of adventure the players want, and you need to accumulate players that like the kind of adventure the DM enjoys writing.

#2 Son says that with a strong fun group the purpose is to play a game that tells a story. The rules are there to guide, but if the group decides by consensus that they don't like a particular rule, they have every right to reject or change it.

There are many different versions of the game, some of which can be very nit-picky and require a lot of mental math. Others are much simpler, so as a player, you want to find a group that's playing a version that you think you'd find fun - like the beer and pretzels type.

 
r ranson
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So questions

When I was younger, it was almost exclusively guys playing (at least in my town and the groups I knew).  I'm hoping it's more friendly towards gals?

Is it even possible to play online?

What is the one book/video that I should watch to get an understanding of how to be a player?  
 
r ranson
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Let's try this

L. Johnson wrote:

--Exit the goblin--



Follows the goblin quietly to see what mysterious place he goes to next.
 
Stacy Witscher
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r - I will check with my kids. I know that they play with different genders, being of different genders themselves, but again we are in the US.
 
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It really sounds like improv to me, which I love and was very lucky to get to do in grade school theater classes. The Flophouse podcast recently did a very silly roleplay game mini episode that was funny and entirely without any sense of stakes or real tension. It seems fun to me but I’ve never actually played. A friend in middle school played with his very dorky but awesome family, and when I asked if I could join because I liked medieval stuff, he pointed out that as being a total dork already I probably didn’t need any more barriers to interacting with girls. I think his sentiments were well intentioned but I think most people find the people they like doing what they like to do. Anyhow, the more I learn about it, the more I like how d&d and other rpgs allow the players make of it what they will.
 
r ranson
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r ranson wrote:
I've always liked the look of D&D games, but since (being on the extreme end of the introvert scale) I have no real-world friends, I never knew anyone who played it.  Or at least, anyone who had a game that welcomed Noobs.  They were all in very well established groups.  



I always wanted to do D&D, as well as SCA. I always thought people who did D&D and/or SCA were just the coolest! I loved Role-Playing video games as a kid, but never knew people (or was social enough to ask or go to events) to play D&D.

Sadly, I am not creative in the story-telling, innovating sense. I can't even play act my kids legos with them for long, which makes me sad. So, I would be a terrible DM. And, my husband stinks at rule knowledge, so he'd make a terrible DM, even though he's great at creating stories.

I guess that, for now, this wanna-be half-elven bard will just mope under a tree, sad that she cannot play.
 
L. Johnson
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r ranson wrote:So questions

When I was younger, it was almost exclusively guys playing (at least in my town and the groups I knew).  I'm hoping it's more friendly towards gals?

Is it even possible to play online?

What is the one book/video that I should watch to get an understanding of how to be a player?  

---

Let's try this

Follows the goblin quietly to see what mysterious place he goes to next.



You follow the goblin around the street corner, only to find him gone. A busy street with carts pulled by a menagerie of creatures - faerie dragons, six legged panthers, and blink dogs. Alas, no goblin.

Turning around again you see the same small well dressed goblin before you, bowing slightly.

"You wished to ask more questions of me, my lady?

Yes, of course. There are more and more ladies such as yourself who grace the gaming tables in recent days for sure. But as are all things that gain in popularity with a wider audience. The authors, illustrators, and editors of the tomes of wisdom known as "The Core Rule books" have grown more sensible in their portrayal of the feminine. Less scantily clad maidens in distress and bare-bosomed half-human monstrosities in these days of late. Pity too, As a goblin I rather appreciated the scaly nude monsters. I suppose it helps to draw a more even crowd though.

The magic of the so called Internet is not lost on us my lady. It is certainly a medium through which "The Game" is played. It permits powerful wizards and warriors to combine their forces despite great distances, even interplanar reaches. Yet I do believe there is something lost when played through such crystal balls and scrying stones you call "screens". A sense of... togetherness and bonding perhaps. Or the shared senses of the snacks and coffee or beer and refreshments at the table. Yet all things come with trade offs, do they not?

For your last question I will guide you to the library of our great city - The Libros of Johnson."

The small, balding creature adorned in his dress tunic of lamia wool and spider silk pantaloons leads you through the mesmerizing streets to a broad columned entrance way. Looking up you see the heights of the tower reach to the clouds.

"Within are the Tomes of Wisdom and many other valuable resources. I leave you to browse at your leisure."

https://dnd.wizards.com/products/dd-core-rules-gift-set - The rules themselves in their most recent edition are well written and easy to understand, though not short. The players handbook alone is sufficient to learn and play the game, though to run it well the other two books: the dungeon master's guide and the monster manual are highly valuable.

--

I will recommend further books on request, but you said one and I already mentioned 3.
 
L. Johnson
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Ah. I forgot to mention - The Basic Rules are free. You can download them at 0 cost from wizards.com. You can certainly start playing well enough with them, especially if an experienced DM is running the game.

In fact there are tremendous amounts of resources for playing the game for free. Thousands of players have written and published their own adventures, campaigns, rules, copycat games. Many of them published them for free. The core rules themselves are licensed with an Open Game License that makes publishing fairly friendly if you avoid the TMs. These are all reasons I like D&D, besides the fact that it is the great grandmother of table top role-playing games.
 
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I don't have a lot of experience, but it's pretty fun. I play in a group of four women and two guys. (Three of our party also happen to be clergy in real life, and a couple of those are also theater people, including the DM.)

For me, the drawback is the length of the sessions. I'm an introvert. After a few hours of high social engagement with a group of people, I'm fricking DONE. It's so hard to slog through that last hour or more, because my brain is just shutting down and trying to make me fall asleep. It's also hard to line up the schedules of six busy adults.

There are a couple of other RPGs I want to try, that should work fine for two players (me and my spouse) in shorter chunks of time, Wanderhome and Coyote & Crow. We have the books for both and started working on characters for Wanderhome, but haven't started playing either of them yet.

Wanderhome:
https://possumcreekgames.com/pages/wanderhome
and a trailer for it:
https://youtu.be/L_FSqgbp5zc

Coyote & Crow:
https://coyoteandcrow.net
and a trailer for it:
https://youtu.be/LLLmHw9jABk

(Coyote & Crow is new, so we have a pdf of the book but will get the actual book in the mail sometime next month.)

 
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Im the only girl in my group and I remember the first few sessions were a bit awkward as I found my place in the group. After 5 years now thou we are pretty established and D&D is something I look forward to every weekend! Our Palladian joins us thru the zooms since Covid started and he says it doesn't have the same feel. There's no snacks to share and he can get a bit behind when we switch to the maps. But he still comes every weekend hes able and seems to have alot of fun. We play cheaply and share our groups hoard of books and mostly use "theater of the mind" instead of props. The maps broken out thou for when we have a big group that weekend (sometimes up to 13 people our poor DM) or if there's new players. We are in a small town so we are one of the few groups who plays regularly. If you can find an experienced group whos friendly, most are happy to bring new players into the fold and work hard to include awkward new players. My group happily puts up with my bad math and inability to keep to do anything musical despite being a bard lol. We have 5 active campaigns as we make sure to rotate so noone gets burnt out on DMing and so new people like me can try DMing. We play everything from your classic high fantasy to space and time travel and even some pop culture spinoffs like avengers or welcome to night vale. Each DM has different rules and it keeps things interesting. D&D is something iv learned to love and if you can find the right group is a blast. Most of our group is introverts from ages 20-45 so we completely understand when after 3 hours someone needs a break or to be done for the day. Id personally try a couple groups and talk about it in the real world. There's a surprising amount of players in the most unexpected places. Including permies forms lol!
 
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I started playing D&D and similar back in the '80s and it is a TON of fun! I haven't played recently but I recommend Pathfinder. Unless it's changed in the last couple years, Pathfinder had the right mix of skills/abilities that allowed players to develop in different ways, and you don't have to keep buying new sets of rule books when the game changes the way they do with standard D&D. In college my groups were an even mix of men and women, as we were all in the SCA as well. I still have some of the little miniatures I painted that we would use to help organize the fights, to know who was where when the swords started swinging. You can definitely play online via a Zoom session, there are digital dice rollers where you click the button and it generates the random number used to see if you succeed at something and everyone can see it. So you can totally play remotely these days.

The DM (dungeon master/game manager) definitely has more work to prepare, but there are a bunch of pre-made modules out there where you read through a couple pages of what the story is about, and then you can sit down and run through it in an evening. Usually the toughest thing is getting everyone together for a couple hours without distractions. I had a bunch of those modules back then, and I liked making a little kingdom with various events and then as the group was travelling they might encounter one of those modules along the way. But I also wrote up custom stories and events, and the world would change based on what the group did. Sometimes the group wanted to just get lots of treasure, and once they got back to town the word got out that they were rich and the thieves trying to rob them and/or the corrupt baron was trying to over-tax them, and that became the next adventure. Or they decided not to help a village with the local monsters, and the village falls, and maybe the survivors spread the bad word, and it affects them in other ways.

Other times the party wanted to build their own town, and after clearing out the evil monsters that were terrorizing an area they would become local celebrities and they could hire the people needed to build houses, shops, castle and walls with the treasure they gathered from the monsters. Villagers would move back into the area once they were protected, and there's plenty of stories you can create around your own village/town/city as it grows. Ever wanted to rewrite that last season of Game of Thrones, or expand on the new series The Wheel of Time (great series of books btw)? It feels like that at times, and I found being a DM was a lot of creative writing and had as much fun doing that as I did running the group through the adventures. You can go into as much detail or as little as you like, describing the locations or the people, developing relationships between the group and non-player characters (NPC) which help propel the story and provide the backdrop for the group to develop. Some people will create riddles or logic-like puzzles, and victory doesn't always involve killing monsters. Maybe two towns are at odds and it's starting to come to blows- can the group find a way to resolve the conflict without bloodshed? Normally defeating a monster gives experience points to level the characters, but "defeating" them might mean foiling their plot without killing them. Maybe you discover that those towns are being manipulated by a merchant hoping to profit from war, and you expose the scheme and the merchant is banished from the area? Full experience for vanquishing the threat! Or maybe the group never liked that other town, and then join one side to make it a lopsided battle. Or maybe the group aren't good guys, and they started it all! There's a lot of options, although I prefer being the good guys.
 
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I forgot to mention, while these games have lots of rule books and expansions, a new group can start with just the minimal basics to learn the game mechanics. After you get used to it, then I would introduce more options that allows for greater variety in characters and game mechanics. And if anyone is looking for another player I'd be happy to join!  
 
r ranson
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L. Johnson wrote:...
...
"Within are the Tomes of Wisdom and many other valuable resources. I leave you to browse at your leisure."

https://dnd.wizards.com/products/dd-core-rules-gift-set - The rules themselves in their most recent edition are well written and easy to understand, though not short. The players handbook alone is sufficient to learn and play the game, though to run it well the other two books: the dungeon master's guide and the monster manual are highly valuable.

--

I will recommend further books on request, but you said one and I already mentioned 3.




Thanks the goblin steward and asks his name.  (then worries because I don't know much about goblins and it might not be a him.  Fingers crossed)

Enters the library and with hand hovering over the spine of the books on the shelf as I walk along.  Is it just me or does this look a lot like my home library, but different?  Is it true what the stories say that every library is a portal to every other and every book ever written and ever will be written?  That only a librarian can know the truth of navigating the knowledge?  Nah.  

And yet...no, it couldn't be.

After much dazelment, I locate The Player's Handbook and take it to the librarian.  I'm told that two others have requested it before me, but I am welcome to return in the new year once the Holiday snow has melted.  With a giant feather from a bird larger than I've ever seen before, they mark my name on the list so that they will contact me when the book is available.
 
L. Johnson
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Did you really find it at your library? My dream as a kid was to be able to check out D&D books from the library. For years I wished that. They never carried any game rule books. I carried the dream with me to Japan, but here you can barely find rule books in book stores! They're only in very niche stores here. I even started stocking my own Japanese translation TRPG rulebook library shelf for the board game cafe I was running before covid...

le sigh. But good for you!
 
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L. Johnson wrote:Did you really find it at your library?

That got me curious, so I engaged the portal into my regional book tower. My goodness, look what I found:
Dungeons & dragons. Dungeon master's guide : roleplaying game core rules / James Wyatt
Three copies in fact - one waiting for the portal to open, one already through a portal into a borrower's hands, and one available to whomever requests it.

I genuinely believe I've got the nicest regional book tower anyone could want - it's sort of like permies in that the goodness of people using it seems to encourage more goodness in the books available. I bow my head in gratitude to both.
 
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I loved playing. The problem being that our group was destroyed as every couple but us was divorced. So yay my marriage survived. lol It had nothing to do with the game. Anyway, haven't ever been able to find a new dungeon master and play mates so haven't played in years. Tears!!!
 
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I used to play D&D in high school and college. I don't want to sound negative, but a lot of it comes down to who you're playing with. I was the DM for a couple different groups. The first group would engage with the game a lot, ask questions about the environment they were in, read the books to try and understand the rules and build their characters, and were generally fun. The second group would just sit back and wait for me to give them a plot hook, and they barely understood the rules so I was constantly explaining things to them.

One thing these groups had in common is that they were with people I enjoyed hanging out with. If you wouldn't otherwise enjoy the company of the people you're playing with, then you won't have fun.

Re: Pathfinder vs. D&D, the split between the two came about because of the direction WotC (Wizards of the Coast - they publish D&D) decided to take it. The 3.5 edition of D&D (which I played) had a ton of different rules and mechanics that could be brought into the game - making it highly customizable but also rather dense. WotC simplified the rules a lot to make it more accessible and easier to understand, which naturally angered people who enjoyed the complexity. Thus, Pathfinder became a thing, for people who enjoy reading rule books. I used to just read through all the various sourcebooks for fun - it's a good way to get creative ideas.

As for playing online, Roll20 is a popular platform for playing tabletop games online. I personally have never used it, nor have I played D&D online before. There's just something about gathering around a table and drawing maps onto a whiteboard that appeals to me more.
 
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I've played it and other tabletop games at different points in my life. It's basically group story telling where a lot of the fun relates to you each playing in character, which is great fun with the right group and DM. I've had great groups and... Not so great.

As others have said, there are break ups and scheduling difficulties. You can have people with no imagination or inexperienced or unimaginative DMs. Or people who think it's funny to play "in character" in ways that constantly get the group in trouble. One super annoying person can destroy a group (or in one case, destroy the world... Yes I'm still annoyed 20+ years later hah).

We always had a mix of male and female players but it IS more commonly appealing to males. I would play now sometimes if I had a group. The most recent tabletop game I played was Fate:
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fate_(role-playing_game_system)

Very easy to play a complete game in a few hours, over the top skill sets (think mission impossible) and easy to understand the rules and get a group of strangers together and just jump in. I was part of a meet up group that did it and it was successful for a long time.
 
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Thank you for the Roll20 link Malek, I will check that out.
 
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L. Johnson wrote:Did you really find it at your library?



My library has two factors that make it awesome.

It's huge into getting youth to read more so there's a lot o funding to buy books they actually want to read - even Manga (and English manga - we have a huge Japanese and anglo-Japanese population so keeping the kids reading and speaking Japanese has a lot of funding), and comic books.  So long as it gets the kids reading books, they are happy to get it in.

The other thing that makes the library here awesome is how user-influenced they are.  If they don't have a book, and someone suggests it, they often get it in.  When I started using the library, they had maybe a handful of books on textiles.  Now they have hundreds.  

 
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I've been playing D&D for over 35 years now, and my kids (who are 9 and 10) are getting into it too. It's an amazing game which can be made to fit any world you like. And there are so many more different types of role playing game, from spy games (think James Bond for a group instead of an individual), futuristic cyberpunk games, and everything in between. You can be anyone, and within the rules structure, you can do anything. And the rules are often broad enough that you can do almost anything you want - and the Dungeon Master (DM) has a lot of latitude to run it the way they want and can bend the rules to increase the fun.

The pandemic has brought it's own challenges, but it's also elevated websites like Roll20 which allow you to play over the internet, sharing maps, sounds and the dice rolling system with the other players. A friend of mine had a stroke over a year ago now, and me and my other friends have been playing a game over Roll20 and recording it for him so he has something to watch and entertain him during his recovery. We've just finished session 19, and each session is over 3 hours long. We've only just got into the game too, so there's plenty of content for my friend to watch. And we posted them as secret links on YouTube so he can go back and re-watch them whenever he likes.

I take it to the next level and go LARPing (Live Action Role Playing) as well, which funnily enough I'm going to combine with my love of permaculture to create a site to play on, and live at.

And before you think this is just for nerds (like me), the likes of Vin Diesel and Terry Crews play on a regular basis too. I'm told Robin Williams used to play RPGs.
 
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Andrew Pritchard wrote:I'm going to combine with my love of permaculture to create a site to play on, and live at.



I look forward to pics and stories!
 
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L. Johnson wrote:

Andrew Pritchard wrote:I'm going to combine with my love of permaculture to create a site to play on, and live at.



I look forward to pics and stories!



It's a five year plan to get where I need to be, so you'll be waiting a while. But once we are there is will be posting and vlogging about our adventures. I'm hoping to build a bit of a community there, but that's a whole other story
 
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These guys are pretty cool too:
https://www.youtube.com/c/criticalrole
 
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r ranson wrote:So questions

When I was younger, it was almost exclusively guys playing (at least in my town and the groups I knew).  I'm hoping it's more friendly towards gals?

Is it even possible to play online?

What is the one book/video that I should watch to get an understanding of how to be a player?  



Hi! The DND scene has definitely gotten a lot more inclusive than it used to be.

Websites like https://roll20.net/ and https://www.dndbeyond.com/ have made it much easier to play online. I run a campaign over Discord, and we use roll20 whenever I have a battle that needs a map. But it's just as easy to have everything done "theater of the mind" style.

I believe Critical Role has already been mentioned here as a great resource, and the third campaign is less than ten episodes in, so you can catch up without feeling overwhelmed by the sheer amount of hours these amazing people have produced. My other favorite Dnd show is Dimension20. These people are all amazing improvers. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p-eY2tDgXsY&list=PLhOoxQxz2yFOcJoLoPRyYzjqCbddeOjP4
 
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There's a lot to say about D&D and roleplaying and fantasy in general.

As background I started playing D&D when I was 11-12 back in late 80's and played it consistently until everyone got married and got 'lives'.  

I bided my time until I had kids and now that my oldest daughter is 10 I've started introducing it (we have talked about it for years but they're starting to get the necessary focus to play now).

Education:

Role playing games can be immensely useful for education.  We teach our own kids and I believe in learning not education.  I define education as something that is done to you while learning is something you do yourself.  Role playing games can be very useful to promote reading and writing practice, learn mental math skills, use imagination and hone your ability to focus and visualize.  Alot of this can be lead by someone in the group or the DM by focusing on prompting and by doing these things yourself.  Even as a player you can prompt for increasing visual descriptions and enhance the overall imagination and concept of a scene like a good writer writing a well done description of a scene in a book.

This process is made easier than a solo writer in that you can bounce ideas around from other players and the DM, so instead of having to tell a story yourself as a creative writer, you can collaboratively create scenes and ideas.

In addition Role Playing games can be used to prompt increased interest in other things that can be directed to learning, things like politics, social issues, science, engineering.  If you are creative as a DM you can use history and its lessons or science or knowledge to prompt an interest in others to learn more themselves.  Things like swiping plots from books or useful articles you read or plots from movies can be used.  

One of the best uses for fiction (including role playing) is to create a safe medium to explore philosophies and issues, social or otherwise, the ramifications of new and potentially dangerous technologies, how people react to terror and fear, how prosperity can affect a social landscape.  As an avid reader over the years I've learned an immense amount and been directed to learn about things from many fiction authors I've read.  Reading Robert Heinlein works has been like reading prophecy about issues occurring in the modern day, even from things he wrote in 1939 having a direct reflection on current social issues.  Role playing games allow you to share these insights and explore them.  Many people won't sit around for a dry documentary on history yet will sit in rapt attention at a movie about conditions in WW2.  The stories don't have to be exactly non-fictional.  Watching a few episodes of 'Lovecraft Country' this last year was very interesting just to learn about how recent some of the Jim Crow social issues were active in places in the USA.  Its a totally fluff fictional story but you can learn some things or be prompted to learn them from such fluff.

Offgrid:  

I've been accumulating resources for a few years, we are likely moving offgrid soon, I've been offgrid previously for a few years, the one main casualty of easy unlimited power is electronic entertainment.  For this reason roleplaying games are the gift that keeps on giving, they can keep you entertained and have something to do on those long winter months when its not practical to spend all your time out of doors.  Even if the grid disappears some day or we change our ways of life entirely, books and the written word will survive.  In researching the rise and fall of civilizations the conclusion that is most often reached about the degree of continuity and progress we make as a race is often attributed to the written word and its preservation over time.  Not just empirical facts and science but also the story of people and civilization and society.  If we wind up in a future where things are collapsing these kinds of games allow us to continue a story of times much different than our own, to give us a greater perspective than our local.

Social Skills:

Role playing games also promote social interaction, important even for introverts as long as its a safe space.  While I enjoy electronics (I've worked in the computer field for about 20 years and started in computers at 10 years old) it doesn't do much to promote healthy social skills and confidence.  Role playing games can help you learn that most important of human social skills, the ability to create a persona to interact confidently with others.  In creating persona's you can also learn about what fits you.  Its similar to trying on boots, you will never learn what fits until you try some on and walk awhile to break them in.  Learning about who you are and how to be comfortable can be very useful in learning to interact in society with others.

Conclusion:

I believe role playing games are one of our greatest creations.  I feel certain one of mans greatest gifts is his ability to imagine.  To dream of a world that can be, to imagine things different than his current reality and explore the possibilities that exist there, it allows us to prepare in advance for situations that we would be otherwise unprepared to handle.  We create a projection in our minds of our situation and interact with what we perceive to be reality which is in fact just our imagining of such.  Role playing games allow us to practice actively controlling our projection rather than being subject to the projection of others.  To 'think for ourselves' and to 'control our narrative' our fantasy may be more or less accurate than others but the purpose of our imagining is less about some objective absolute truth and more about what allows us to progress to a future that we see.  We invent a hope of possibilities that we want to make real and work towards them.  Role playing games stretch the muscles in a fun and enjoyable way, enriching and sharing our imagination with others in a safe way, teaching us to use our imagination and mind and exploring ourselves at the same time.

____

addendum,

For people interested in learning how to play and DM, this guy has a good youtube series, its long and winding but he really covers learning to DM in a pretty easy and practical way.  

https://www.youtube.com/user/mcolville
 
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Beautifully written Sean.

I will second the recommendation for Matt Colville. He has tremendous insight into what makes D&D fun.
 
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Although I'm still waiting for the book from the Library, I've read around online and I want to learn to play this game.

Online is best for me.
My attention span is about 2 hours, so 2 hours once a week would be about the most I could do.

Right now I'm not in a place where I can invest money in this.  A free online platform would be awesome.  

The biggest barrier is my shyness.  

That and finding the path from wanting to doing.  I can see the pieces, but I don't know.  I'm a much better follower than I am a do-er.  
 
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r ranson wrote:Although I'm still waiting for the book from the Library, I've read around online and I want to learn to play this game.

Online is best for me.
My attention span is about 2 hours, so 2 hours once a week would be about the most I could do.

Right now I'm not in a place where I can invest money in this.  A free online platform would be awesome.  

The biggest barrier is my shyness.  

That and finding the path from wanting to doing.  I can see the pieces, but I don't know.  I'm a much better follower than I am a do-er.  



Roll20.net would be a great place to start then. Bear in mind there are literally dozens of different role playing game with a huge variety of games - a rather bewildering number TBH. Stick to 5th edition (aka 5e) and you'll do just fine. You can also search for groups to play online there. It's free to join, and typically only the DM will pay for additional features though they don't have to. I run games with kids on Roll20 and I don't have a paid for account. Another game I'm playing*, the DM is paying for additional features - and the game is better for it but it's not really necessary to run the game and enjoy it.

The biggest impediment to playing in a game, I have found, is finding a time slot which works for the group of players. Typically you'll find a game of 5 people (4 players and 1 DM, but the party can be literally any size) - but the bigger the group the harder it is to find a time slot that works for everyone. The great thing about Roll20 is you can search for groups based on the game you want to play, if they accept new players, etc.


* A friend of mine who I've known for over 30 years primarily because of games like D&D, had a stroke early last year. Strokes are massively debilitating and it's unlikely he'll ever practise as a lawyer again. During his recovery, rehabilition and therapy, my friends and I who were in high school with him, we've been playing D&D and recording it, to post on line so he can watch/rewatch it to his hearts content. Next weekend with our 20th session at approximately 3 hours per session.
 
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Should I take a class or something so I can at least get good enough to be a beginner?

Who wants to carry a stranger that has never played before?  

I made an account on Roll20, but joining in a game seems so far away.  
 
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r ranson wrote:Should I take a class or something so I can at least get good enough to be a beginner?

Who wants to carry a stranger that has never played before?  

I made an account on Roll20, but joining in a game seems so far away.  



Watch a few sessions on YouTube so you get a hang of how you play the game. When you search for a game, there is a check box to tick if you're a new player. Trust me, there are plenty of people who want you to play. They wouldn't put that option there if there weren't. And it does rule out the DMs who would prefer not to have new players.

Bear in mind, as with so many things in life, you learn by doing.
 
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Some first time info for new players I just came across, which might help get your feet wet and could help with understanding what people are doing in a play-along video:

https://www.dndbeyond.com/sources - rule books that might have all the info you need to start for free
https://www.dndbeyond.com/how-to-play-dnd - and their new player starter guide

https://dndduet.com/how-to-play-dnd/ - has some tips for first starting as a player

https://dnd.wizards.com/get-started - the official "now that you know it exists, buy all the things!" link

 
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Little things like do i make the character before joining a game or is that something done with the dm?

I don't want to join a group without doing my homework.   That wouldn't be fair to the others.
 
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I think it's a good idea to consider a few kinds of characters you might be interested in playing before talking to the group, and make final decisions after seeing what the other people are playing, what the DM might recommend, etc.

Definitely read about those characters abilities before joining the group. It takes a long time to read about character abilities...
 
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