It came to my attention over the weekend that a teacher at a school in Wyoming wanted to start a D&D/board game club for the students at his school. Upon reaching out for donations for dice, rulebooks, and games, the club was harassed on social media by people claiming that “Dungeons & Dragons is not a teaching or learning skill” and “saying that they’ll stay off [their] phone and socialize… they may be off [their] phone(s) and hang out with the one or two kids that play and get beat up with them. You are simply helping set them up for failure.”
Disregarding the irony in the poor sentence structure of these comments, this reflects a horribly regressive mindset. The claim that it cannot be used as a teaching or learning skill is ridiculous to anyone that has actually played any tabletop RPG before. Ignoring just the practice of basic arithmetic that is exercised in any game, the amount of critical thinking and problem-solving skills alone make it a viable method for teaching. It may not be sitting in a class and memorizing facts, solving complex equations, or deconstructing the theme of a novel, but the on the spot strategy and teamwork that is required to overcome challenges is essential to playing Dungeons & Dragons. Whether that be figuring out ways to trick a giant into following an illusion away from a town by having two spellcasters make illusions of another giant (one the top half and the other the bottom half/shuffling trees) running in a certain direction, cutting a 6 month travel time down to about a day by asking around to find teleportation circles, using context clues to uncover a secret cult, or just figuring out what you can use in one turn of combat to completely maximize your damage on the boss. Dungeons & Dragons is a game about thinking outside the box and working with each other, a skill that is too often neglected in school systems today and is essential to making it in the real world. The real world isn’t like sitting in a classroom, memorizing lessons, and answering questions. The real world is a D&D campaign, where you have to use what resources you have at your disposal and work with your allies to overcome obstacles and take on challenges. Not only that, but the writing and creative skills that Dungeons & Dragons promotes is something that will have a long-lasting positive effect on kids for several years. Creative storytelling is something that has to be practiced extensively and D&D is a wonderful setting for growing minds to develop that ability while interacting with their peers. Especially for those who would not typically go out of their way to do so otherwise.
The insinuation that kids who play D&D will be “40yr old virgins living in their mom’s basement” is so hilariously wrong that I will simply list notable public figures who played D&D as kids, and weren’t afraid to say it: Chester Bennington, Stephen Colbert, Anderson Cooper, Falicia Day, Vin Diesel, Tim Duncan, Jon Favreau, James Franco, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Mart Groening, Chris Hardwick, Dan Harmon, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Stephen King, Joe Manganiello, Marilyn Manson, George R.R. Martin, Tom Morello, Elon Musk, Mike Myers, Patton Oswalt, Trey Parker, Kevin Smith, Stephen Spielberg, Karl Urban, Gerard Way, Robin Williams, and Andrew Yang.
The problem is not encouraging kids to play D&D, the problem is the people that decide to mock and harass them. Everything about it is something we at D20 Collective stand against. We want to see the tabletop community grow and thrive, with new and young players welcomed with open arms. We send our love and full support to the kids over at Riverside High School and wish them the best.
Here is the link I was sent: https://www.facebook.com/2281608915431338/posts/2540886786170215/
Show them some support in their endeavors!
And as an extra thank you for reading, use RIVERSIDE5 to get 5% off your next purchase and gift gold points to the folks at Riverside!