Perhaps you’re old enough to remember how sweet it was playing Dungeons & Dragons in the 90s. The internet didn’t exist as we know it today and games were played in person. If you had a basement, you were the chosen host for weekly (or sometimes nightly) games. If you were lucky, someone creative would make treats like D&D cupcakes.
Basement D&D was fun, especially when your parents served you, because let’s be real, you didn’t have time to wait for microwave pizza. If your parents didn’t understand how important pizza bagels and corn dogs were to your game, the next best place to play was a 24-hour restaurant. Or, for older crowds, sometimes the best place was a tavern or bar.
Today, kids have turned to their mobile devices and laptops for playing games, including D&D. There are many ways to play D&D, and while online games can be fun, it’s not the same. It’s time to revive the ancient art of playing D&D in person!
1. LARP can’t be allowed to die
Although playing D&D is more of a storytelling game than a free-for-all, live action, role-playing game, anything goes. Some groups thrive on acting out everything they possibly can. Playing D&D on the computer makes live acting pointless. The only reason to play D&D on the computer is if you can’t get a good group together, or if you’re so anti-social that you can’t fathom the thought of playing with others.
When you’re sitting in front of your computer screen playing D&D online, the other players aren’t going to catch the full extent of your enthusiasm when you finally slay that giant dragon and make your way into an underground treasure house. They’ll catch what little bit can be conveyed online, but nothing amps other players up like watching people respond to the story in person.
If you don’t continue the tradition of playing D&D live, then LARP has the potential to die. Kids these days don’t understand the struggle.
2. You and your friends need to get out of the house
As more people choose to connect with friends over social media platforms like Instagram and Snapchat, they’re spending less time doing things normal people do… like grabbing a bite to eat and talk. Gaming outside of the house is almost unthinkable because how can you play a game without a laptop?
If you’re playing D&D with your friends online, you won’t feel motivated to get out of the house. Don’t extend your Wi-Fi to the basement so you can all sit around playing with strangers over the internet. Teach your friends the long-lost art of playing D&D at an all-night restaurant. It’s actually better than having your parents serve you in the basement because you won’t get in trouble for swearing. Plus, if you’re an adult, your parents shouldn’t be serving you to start with.
Denny’s has historically been the easiest place to play. They’ve got large tables, comfortable booths, and plentiful appetizers. They could probably use the business, too. If you can’t find a Denny’s nearby, find a restaurant that doesn’t need to turn over tables constantly, and don’t forget the coupons!
If you can’t find a restaurant, check with local players to find out where they play. Game stores and coffee shops often host games regularly.
3. You’ll have more fun with complex storylines
When playing complex D&D adventures, like Out of the Abyss, you’re probably not going to enjoy playing it online. Some say it’s already too complex to play in person, considering you can only comprehend the entire map by looking at both the birds-eye and cross-section illustrations. Add to that the fact that players must go through the wringer to escape: they need to get ten NPCs, bypass hanging stalactites, and kill some guards in long combat sequences before they can finally descend into the labyrinth.
However, there are people who enjoy the tedium of intense and detailed plot hooks, cues, and prompts. If your group falls under that category, you need to play in person.
4. Playing D&D in person can curb digital addiction
Nobody says it, but we all think it: nobody likes it when our friends constantly check their phones. If you get your friends together to play D&D in person, make everyone turn off their phones and toss them in a basket. After a while, they’ll become absorbed in the game and forget their phone exists. It may not last forever, but at least they’ll get a taste of what it’s like to be fully engaged and present with a non-digital game.