2017/06/27

On D&D and the Freedom of Epiphany

I've been playing tabletop roleplaying games since my age was measured in single digits. It's been an integral part of my identity for 75+% of the time I've been alive. Despite all of this, I often feel left out when it comes to people discussing their D&D Epiphanies. Those "this game is so amazing, how did I live my entire life without it" moments that people who took up the game as adults get to experience. That sense of eye-opening wonder that seems to permeate every new player post on Reddit. I never got to feel that, because I found D&D as a child who had just begun to really possess abstract thought. There was no Eureka moment. It's always just been there.

I assume this is how people with famous siblings feel. To those folks, their siblings are just their siblings. For the most part, at least. People making a big deal out of it, like "Oh my G-d, your sister is the lead singer of Muscle Wizard? That's so fucking awesome!". Yeah, I know. She also beat me up when I was 12 for listening to an N*Sync CD, so... not that awesome.

I'm exceptionally envious of people who get to experience this novelty at an age when they can appreciate it. It's actively difficult to not be dismissive when I hear stories about people in their early 30s discovering D&D. Hearing about how it's opened their eyes to a fanciful world of magic and all that. People who got to avoid the social negatives of the game. Folks who get to dodge the worry of getting beat up for carrying a weird book to school. It's self centered and ludicrous and stupid for me to feel this way, but that doesn't make me feel that way any less. The spiteful hipster gene in my blood is far, far too strong.

It's probably the same for anyone who got into a particular fandom early. Those people who watched Firefly religiously while it was live on TV. The folks who were *really* into Euro-style boardgames back in the 80s when the only way to get them was to get someone on Usenet to mail you a copy and (if you were super lucky) provide translations into your native language. Or people who traded bootleg VHS tapes of anime at swap meets and flea markets back in the 90s. Folks who pronounce the initialism of All Terrain Armored Transport "@@", because that's how the Kenner Toys commercial pronounced it back in 1981.

With all that said, I'm overjoyed that people continue to discover tabletop roleplaying games in general and D&D in specific. I'm super happy that they get to have those epiphanies. It's miraculous and wonderful and magicaltastic.

That doesn't make me any less envious, though.

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