In a previous post, I had mentioned how playing Dungeons and Dragons, as well as other Tabletop RPGs, has taught me to embrace new opportunities which inspired me to discover my Ikigai. So what is an RPG? As stated in Wikipedia, “A role-playing game is a game in which players assume the roles of characters in a fictional setting. Players take responsibility for acting out these roles within a narrative, either through literal acting or through a process of structured decision-making regarding character development.”
D&D, in particular, has been incredibly influential since I have played in many different campaigns. There have been several editions since it was first published in 1974, but fifth edition is best suited for new players. While we are discussing Tabletop RPGs, allow me to elaborate on exactly why they have been such a prominent force in positively influencing my life.
What you think, you become. What you feel, you attract. What you imagine, you create.Buddha
Several years ago, I was experiencing some loss and uncertainty in my life. Although nothing in particular was terribly wrong at the time, I just wasn’t feeling very inspired or fulfilled. I had this overwhelming sense of unfulfillment and doubt that was beginning to swell and spill over. I didn’t know what to do or how to alleviate the emptiness within. My internal compass was spinning out of control. I had somehow lost my way and desperately needed an outlet to find myself again.
During this time, my husband and our best friend began throwing around the idea of us playing D&D online together through Roll20. Before then, I had never really known much about the game other than the stereotypical ignorance associated with the topic. It’s a shame that preconceived notions nearly prevented me from welcoming one of the best opportunities of my life.
I almost told them that I wasn’t interested, but they were convincing enough to pique my curiosity. Their enthusiasm made me want to give it a shot. I had always enjoyed games where your choices had an impact on the narrative. The fantasy genre combined with puzzles and mystery was also intriguing. I figured if people who I cared about were this passionate and interested in something that they wanted me to be a part of their story, why not try to embrace new opportunities?
Some things need to pass through fire before they can flourish. Sometimes, breaking is making.Patrick Rothfuss
Saying yes to playing this new Tabletop RPG was one of the best choices I have ever made. My life was forever changed for the better. This outlet of creative expression helped me to rediscover myself and happiness that I never even knew existed before. Nothing else even remotely compares to the pure, uplifting, and unparalleled feeling that I have encountered through genuinely raw and unexpected moments of storytelling within D&D. It can be strangely and beautifully therapeutic.
When it comes down to it, this game isn’t about dungeons, dice, or dragons — it is so much more. D&D allows you to use your imagination while exploring beyond what you may think is even possible. It is easily accessible and relatable for all ages and walks of life. You are free to express any thoughts and ideas including the unique story that you want to tell. The game itself serves as an allegory of your own life.
Within D&D, you challenge yourself to embrace new opportunities while confronting the obstacles that you aspire to overcome — both literally and metaphorically. Not only that, but you have the support of an incredible team on your journey. Exploring the online community of like-minded individuals has opened up the realm of possibility and friendships that otherwise would have never formed if not for this incredible game.
I could go on indefinitely about how much this amazing, one-of-a-kind adventure manifested by D&D has positively impacted my life, but I’m sure you would have much more fun experiencing it for yourself. Think of it as trying out improvisation without the pressure of having to worry about being criticized or judged. Saying those two simple words, “yes, and…” could very well change your life.
I think the world is shaping you into something important, and I want to make sure that you get to wherever you need to be.Taliesin Jaffe
Where do I begin? If you have never heard of it before, I would highly recommend checking out Critical Role. They are one of the biggest reasons that D&D has monumentally grown in popularity. As if being one of the most influential web series in history isn’t enough, these individuals have accomplished more in the past eight years than most could dream of in a lifetime. Their passion has manifested into something truly unique and authentic.
Critical Role is a phenomenally talented group of voice actors and friends who have created their own company from humble beginnings. They live-stream their D&D games together every week. Forming strong stories and bonds over several years, they are now into their second campaign. Their Kickstarter for “The Legend of Vox Machina” animated series based off of their first campaign was enormously successful. It ended up breaking a new world record as they raised 11.3 million from over 88,000 contributors in 2019.
Watching their journey from the beginning has been incredibly heartwarming and cathartic. Whenever they play, they are sharing positivity and love with all who enjoy their continuously evolving narrative story. It is deeply humbling for everyone involved knowing that they have in turn inspired millions of lives. They now have an entire community of supportive and talented fans. That being said, the members of Critical Role have not only successfully attained their Ikigai, but in doing so they have inspired countless other individuals to embrace new opportunities and discover themselves as well.
The best example I can provide for anyone who might be interested in learning more about D&D is checking out a 30-minute video: D&Diesel. Enjoy watching Matthew Mercer (the Dungeon Master for Critical Role) along with some of the cast members play a short game with Vin Diesel. I highly suggest you watch it, if not only to see the pure enjoyment of a famous actor’s character journey as he plays Dungeons and Dragons for the first time.
Finding yourself completely immersed in a story is a joy unlike any other. Remember, life is always more enjoyable when you keep an open mind and allow yourself to try something different. Do not be afraid to embrace new opportunities in your life. You may discover a new realm of happiness you had never even imagined was possible.