This is a response to three things:
- #1: To question a (former) friend once asked me 15 years ago.
- #2: To any gamer out there wondering why people quit D&D and tabletop games all together.
- #3: To a question left in a response to Part 1
As popular as D&D and tabletop games have become, there are still plenty of people who don’t play. Not playing is more popular than playing. Why?
Because they’ve got other stuff to do. You can have many reasons not play D&D (or quit), all you need is one… and the world burning to a cinder seems to me like a pretty damn good one.
Socialization, problem solving, leadership, mathematics… yes, you can learn these skills and more by playing D&D, but its not a replacement for real-world experience. At some point, you have to leave that safe space and put out some fires.
The main problem is that the marketing powers-that-be want to keep you in that safe space as long as possible, keep you hooked, get you to buy the next product.
The result was (and is) a phenomenon Arthur Collins, a regular contributor to Dragon magazine, cautioned us against way back in 1995:
No longer do we find many gamers for whom the rules and game constructs provide a magic key to enter the worlds they have longed for all their lives. The result is that they either become bores, or they burn out on gaming quickly. I meet far more who know only the games themselves. They run through all the neat stuff published, and it’s just not enough. They eat and eat, but are still hungry. They cannot see the legendary being the monster stats represent, but only more and more stats.–Arthur Collins, The Auld Alliance, Dragon 215, April 1995, page 72.
15 years ago, when I threatened to quit D&D (and wargames), a friend (who is no longer a friend) smugly asked me: what else would you do with your time?
I said nothing, because didn’t know what to say. And, for awhile, I was forced to almost quit because of my job schedule in retail. I didn’t know what to do.
So I read a lot of (non-gaming) books. Wrote some of the worst fiction and poetry possible which will never see the light of day. Questioned a lot. And when it was time, I went back to school to finish two undergraduate degrees and a graduate degree.
Along the way I put out quite a few of my own personal fires.
Now its time to give back, help put out some of these other fires before everything goes to cinders.