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7 Ways Playing D&D Can Improve Your Life

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Dungeons & Dragons is a tabletop RPG that’ll take up a lot of your time (but it’s really easy to get started, we promise).

It might feel like investing so much of your life into a game like D&D is a waste of time. However, there are some genuine benefits that you can get from playing Dungeons & Dragons.

Sure, having fun is a benefit, but today we’re going to look at some of the deeper, more profound ways D&D can make your life better.

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1. Make New Friends

Dungeons & Dragons is a game that requires other people to play. When you play with a group, you tend to form a bond with them, which can lead to some pretty great friendships. You and your party (and the DM) are working together to tell a story, and everyone ends up feeling more like teammates than just people at your gaming table.

I recently moved about 4 hours away from my hometown to a place where I only knew one person. We ended up both getting D&D, and we ended forming some pretty great friendships with a group from a local board game cafe. Now, we play D&D with this same group regularly, and I consider them some of the closest friends in my new city. I’m living proof that D&D can lead to new friends!

2. Improve Your Listening Comprehension

A huge part of playing Dungeons & Dragons is listening. Your DM throws information at you, and you’re expected to remember the key points. You take some notes, lock some in your memory, and do your best to recall the information when it comes up later. How many orcs were walking along the trail? What was the name of the vendor who sells magic items?

The power of listening | William Ury | TEDxSanDiego

All of this is giving your listening skills a much-needed boost. Like anything, the ability to absorb information gets better with practice, and doing it in D&D is excellent practice. You might just find that you’re able to absorb more from class or work meetings, which will almost certainly come in handy.

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3. Boost Your Creativity

Dungeons & Dragons will boost your creativity, whether you’re the dungeon master or a player. If you’re DMing, you’ll need to come up with worlds, characters, and other things for your players to enjoy. Even if you’re running a pre-written adventure, you need to get creative to make adjustments to the story and react when your players do something unexpected.

A powerful way to unleash your natural creativity | Tim Harford

As a player, you’ll be coming with backstories for your characters. For some, these can be detailed and complex, just like real people. The more characters you create, the better you’ll be at creating deep and interesting characters. And these skills will carry with you throughout everything you do. Having more creativity is never a bad thing, and D&D can be a huge help.

4. Practices Problem Solving Skills

This is another one of those skills that D&D will help you develop, whether you’re running the game as a DM or playing. The entire game is just a series of problems that the players need to solve. The DM needs to adapt and solve the problem of making things challenging for the players, and the players need to solve the DMs challenges.

These problems can be as simple as figuring out tactics for a big battle or they can be as nuanced as trying to convince someone to do something through persuasion or intimidation. Everyone spends the bulk of a D&D session working through some sort of problem, and this ability to assess a situation and react is useful in all facets of life.

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5. Work on Your Ability to Cooperate

Cooperation tends to be a bigger deal for the players in D&D, but the DM does need to work with the players a little bit to help keep the game moving and allow everyone to have a good time.

Sesame Street: Big Bird sings "That's Cooperation"

There are multiple forms of cooperation happening in a D&D game. There are actual tactical elements like flanking enemies and working together to solve role-playing encounters. But there’s also the cooperation that comes outside the game. Being respectful to the other players, not taking too long on your turns, and not hogging the spotlight are all forms of cooperation that you will use while playing D&D.

6. Develop Empathy

D&D is a role-playing game, which means you need to step into someone else’s shoes and live as that person for your time in the game. Sure, you can choose to make a character that mirrors what you’re like in real life, but for most players, they’re going to create something quite different from their usual self.

BUILDING EMPATHY: How to hack empathy and get others to care more | Jamil Zaki | TEDxMarin

In creating a new character, you’ll develop a sense of empathy, since you see the world through a different perspective. The definition of empathy is “the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.” There’s no better way to work on that than by actually living as someone else for a few hours.

7. Keep Your Basic Math Skills Sharp

Math might not be the most profound thing that D&D can improve, but the game does give you a chance to do some basic math, which is always useful. Depending on what you do for work, you might never get an opportunity to practice simple things like adding in your daily life, and D&D gives you a chance to use that part of your brain.

Sure, it’s generally just adding and some basic multiplication, but it’s more math than you’re probably using if you don’t play D&D, so it’s still something you can work on while you’re having the time of your life slaying orcs and goblins!

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