Thomas Middleditch gives the perfect explanation for the allure of D&D

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Yeah, trying to explain the epic hilarity of “Fix my broken hip, you drone!!” won’t go over well to anyone who wasn’t there.


“Show me on the hobbit where the bad man touched you.”
We actually save our crazy quotes and recall them every year at the birthday party of a member of our gaming group.


One of my favorite things: Hearing/recounting epic RPG adventures WITH members of the gaming group.
One of my least favorite things: Hearing about someone else’s epic adventures from a group I was not a part of.

It’s like Thomas says, it’s like someone recounting a dream. You REALLY have to be there.


it’s crazy to me that there are people who can’t understand the appeal of playing D&D.


“So there we were at 2:30 in the morning; I was beginning to wish
I had never come to cadet training school. To the south lay water –
there was no way we could cross that. To the east and west two armies
squeezed us in a pincer. The only way was north; I had to go for it
and pray the Gods were smiling on me. I picked up the dice and threw
two sixes. Caldecott couldn’t believe it. My go again; another two


“What happens in the gnoll brothel stays in the gnoll brothel.”


Until your paladin condescendingly asks what smells like wet dog.


My SO decided that instead of following the narrative of the adventure I was laying out for her, her wizard wanted to pickpocket drunks in the tavern by distracting them with the illusion of an exotic dancer and then fondle them a magic hand when they caught her in the act in order to distract them while she escaped. It’s going to be interesting to see what she comes up with when she gets more powerful spells.


I think this is also why I can’t get into most RPG media (like Critical Role). I really WANT to like these shows, but most of them just come off feeling like something I want to be doing, not watching someone else do.


I actually feel the same about sports. I’d rather be playing a sports video game than watching the Super Bowl.


What a lovely description of RPGs. I’ve been talking with one of my oldest friends about getting the old group together and doing a remote Traveller adventure. This has inspired me to push a little more on it, although if it happens I’ll likely be GM instead of a player.



just kidding… played heaps of D&D years ago

This explanation of the allure of D&D is why I regularly use the phrase ‘collaborative storytelling’ to describe the pen and paper role playing experience.


Well, I do understand the appeal, but I’m incapable of playing them, which I think, for a subset of people, is the reason for the lack of appeal. In the early nineties, my friends were into GURP and I tried to join them, but my lack of imagination just made it frustrating. I was born without belief/non-rationalty and I think that’s part of the reason.
However, I have learned that just because I don’t like/understand/can do something, doesn’t mean it’s bad, my brain’s just not wired for that particular thing. This is a lesson it would be good to learn, for those that hate on what they don’t understand.
I do like the concept though and good discriptions too. The D&D episode from Community is very good, for example. I also like boardgames, especially if turned into drinking games (how I spend most of my student days).
I’m a listener, not a singer, a watcher, not an actor, a reader, not a writer… sadly.

See now? I DO enjoy hearing about other people’s campaigns.

Some of my old Ren Fair buddies started playing again remotely this past year. It’s been a real highlight of the Plague Times.

(Edited to add:…)

But I don’t entirely agree that tales of the table-top are only interesting if you were there. I have a couple of friends, fellow DMs, and we often recount our gaming episodes to each other. It’s a great way to see how other DMs solved a gaming problem, or expanded their story, or just to share a neat idea.



don’t sell yourself short – i’m sure you totally do have the imagination skills to play. human beings imagine all the time, we just don’t realize it. you’re probably far more imaginative and creative than you realize.

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Back when I got the first D&D video game for my Intellivision console I had some fun playing it but I realized what I really liked about D&D was the shared experience of sitting around with my friends laughing like crazy over medieval polearms. We built friendships around paper-covered tables and the games we played enriched our lives outside the game.

An added bonus is that RPGs were the closest I got to acting in a school that didn’t have anything even vaguely resembling a theater department.


Appreciate the sentiment, however it’s wrong :slight_smile:
I do have imagination, daydream all the time, but only as me. I read a lot and love to imagine myself into the books, but again, only as I would act in that situation. It’s also why the quickest way for me to hate a piece of fiction, is if the protagonist acts in a stupid manner (ie. in a way I wouldn’t act).
I cannot imagine being anyone else than me (and I cannot imagine, however crap my life might be, why you would want to be anyone else). Maybe I have midling empathy (though I do suffer from sympathy).