What Dungeons and Dragons Can Prove To Us All
Did you witness what happened when it was leaked that Hasbro (WoTC) were intending to change D&D's Open Game License terms in January 2023?
For those that don't know, Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) is a Role Playing Game (RPG) where small groups of people come together with their self-designed characters to participate in a world where they cooperate (or not) as a group to complete a quest. Along the way, they have interactions with other characters played by the Dungeon Master (DM), collect important objects and experiences so that they can level up and take on bigger and larger quests. Side note but I actually think it can have some parallels with the coaching experience for some - get in touch if you're curious to know more.
For the fans, I've probably brutalised that summary but hopefully it makes sense to the uninitiated. Playing D&D in lockdown was actually a wonderful source of escapism for me. One of the reasons I love it is that It allows the players to be in the same fantasy land but within their own imaginations. Each person’s experience remains unique and yet also, shared. On top of that, it is a space where you can behave and imagine yourself freely, liberated from your reality’s constraints. It’s a safe space to go into and create with others and your only limit is your imagination.
And so, in this leaked document that outlined plans to charge royalties and allow a revoke in licensing amongst other things, people were understandably outraged and felt betrayed.
What Hasbro seemed to have under-estimated was the reaction from the approximate 13.7 million people who play D&D worldwide. OK not every one of them stood up in revolt but there was a volatile reaction that was strong enough to make the company worth $8.8bn to rethink.
That is to say, enough people who celebrate and enjoy D&D behind closed doors had loud enough voices to stand up to something much bigger than them. And they made a difference.
It's a reminder that 'our people' are out there. Being a part of something can be an integral part of being human. We like being part of a pack. And together we can feel like we belong. Together we can make a change.
Even if you feel different from those around you, you are unlikely to be alone.
It really made me stop and think about myself, my friends and my clients in those times when we’ve spent a lot of energy trying to fit into environments that aren’t ‘us’. What if, instead of investing energy into trying to fit in, we put that energy towards finding people who are more like us?
Looking back, there’s been moments where I’ve really noticed that I’m in the right place: joining my first theatre group, working at Big Potato Games, starting a photography course, delivering a games session and of course, coaching. It’s just internal knowledge that something clicks. I think we could all do with more of those moments.
And so, to take it back to our D&D friends - there is power and community in all that we do, even, or especially, when it is conducted with a small group of people via your imagination. We are all a part of something in our own way, we just need to find our people.
Have you found yours lately?
Not sure where to look or feeling lost? Get in touch - I’d love to work with you on finding your people and those places that make you click. Book a free chat in with me by clicking here.