Creativity in Dungeons & Dragons
A little less than a year ago, I joined my first Dungeons and Dragons group. Up until that time, I’d never been interested, but some friends asked me to play, and I thought, why not, I can always stop if I don’t like it.
After setting up my first character, Nala, and getting hooked into my DM’s fascinating world, things escalated quite quickly. I went from being in one play-by-post game (wherein the game is played in text form), to being in four. Then I created a fifth character for some one-shot style live games. He fell into some trouble, so I ended up with a sixth to play while he got out of a Dread Realm with his compatriots. I had the opportunity to DM and started building my own campaign in my own world; that got put on the back burner due to time constraints, but I still had the energy to say yes when a player-versus-player gladiator death-match game was proposed. Empyrean, my seventh character, didn’t win the match, but that’s okay, I have higher hopes for my eighth character–Lind–in the second round.
Needless to say, I clearly like it. In fact, I fell in love with it, and can safely say some of my favorite memories have already been created while playing. So why did it hook me? Besides the amazing friends, I truly think that I am addicted to the game because of one main thing: the creativity.
My usual creative outlets are single-person: knitting, sewing, writing, painting, even gardening. They rely on only what I can pull out of my own imagination. In Dungeons and Dragons, the world and the characters are built and explored collaboratively, with everyone pooling their imagination to come up with solutions to new problems the DM has thrown our way, or playing off of each other’s characters in a way you can’t recreate on your own. Add in the element of luck with the rolling of dice and you have a recipe for unexpected twists and turns, like, say, a bear-shifter proficient in athletics failing three times to climb over a waist high fence–I have never laughed so hard in my life about a damn fence.
It occurs to me that the last time I had any collaborative creative outlets, I was in middle school, working on a team project, or maybe it was playing games of imagination with my friends as we ran wild around our neighborhood in our younger years. Dungeons and Dragons let me experience that again, and I have to say, it makes me want more. I am soaking up the creative time with creative people, and in the back of my mind, a little voice is saying, now, how do we make this happen at other times.
I’ve got a couple ideas–collaborative writing exercises, or sending a free form art piece around to a group of friends–that I’m hoping to try, but I think the one I’m most excited for is returning to the world I was building to run my own campaign, and see where my players take me.