Dungeons and Disappointment

Tod Goldberg wrote a sweet article for today’s LA Times about going back to play Dungeons and Dragons after twenty-five years’ pretending to be too cool. Although the classic role-playing game, with its elves and spells and twenty-sided dice, is typically dismissed as irredeemably nerdy, Goldberg casts it as a storytelling outlet for a frustrated young writer:

As a child, I played for a very specific reason: I loved to tell stories, but because of my severe dyslexia I couldn’t do it very well on the page. Every time I sat down to write, my thoughts would overwhelm my pen, and when I was done scribbling my story out, huge sections would be missing.

It wasn’t until high school that I was actually able to write. But I spent years — first with Army men, later with “Star Wars” action figures and later still, with these role-playing games — creating stories.

On returning to the land of imaginary swashbuckling he finds it less enchanting than he remembered. The game collapses as the dungeon master wanders off to put his son to bed, a reminder that stories fare best with just one author.


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