For the past few months, I’ve managed to stick with running a Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition (D&D 5e, or dnd 5e) game. It wasn’t easy switching editions from 3.5 to 5e*, but I’ve finally learned to let go of a previous broken edition for whatever the game is now. Worse, I’ve managed to get some enjoyment out of it.
Much of this has to do with my college friends who have managed to put up with me over the past many years. I’ve had to lean on their memory of good times when my own conveniently forgot them. They’ve also persisted in putting up with me when I’ve been unable to run a game or disappear for months on end.
Tabletop games have always been more than just a bunch of people sitting around a table rolling bits of plastic. The experiences vary based on the philosophies of everyone involved. Sit at a competitive table, and you’ll see people trying to outdo each other at every turn. Cooperative tables tend to foster groups who build things greater than the sums of their parts. Based on these descriptions, it should be easy to tell which one I lean towards.
The game itself is one part of the experience, though online it tends to dominate. Back when I played in person with my friends, we could all sit around a table and hang out. I used to cook food on occasion, though I wasn’t as good at it back then as I am now. People could enjoy all of this stuff together.
I hope that I’m able to foster at least a little of that feeling when I run my game now. It’s hard to tell sometimes, since my perfectionism reminds me that it’s something I can always practice and never master. At those times, I have to remind myself that the process will always have ups and downs. People will forgive the latter in the hopes of embracing the former. I might not understand why, but I am grateful to know people who do.
*One might wonder if there was a fourth edition at some point. We don’t talk about it, except in being happy that it’s gone.