From now on, if anybody–especially a young person–asks me to introduce them to Dungeon & Dragons (and related tabletop games), they must promise me three things:
- Know when to put the rulebook down.
- Have a life outside the game.
- Study the Periodic Table of Elements.
Dungeons & Dragons can be wonderful for one’s education. Your vocabulary increases, so does your mathematics. It teaches social interaction and group problem solving. You get to tell interactive stories with your friends and acquaintances.
The downside: Those old Satanic Panic folks were right–you can get lost in the game. The fantasy doesn’t necessarily become reality, but I’ve known too many intelligent people make D&D a priority over other pursuits (myself included). D&D is full of wish fulfillment which can never be fulfilled. As you get older a certain amount of jadedness sets it, the magic of the game fades, and yet you continue playing out of sense of dogma or duty, like a religion. It doesn’t matter how many rulebooks and accessories you by, it never enough. You eat and eat but are always hungry.
Putting down the rulebook and having a life outside the game puts things in perspective, and can help you appreciate the game even more.
Or to put another way: The average RPG rulebook costs between $30 and $50. The cost of 6 rulebooks can equate to a plane ticket to somewhere special away from the tabletop.
And if you really want to learn real magic and perform real miracles, learn and apply the knowledge from the Periodic Table of Elements.