Dungeons & Dragons: A path back to reality

Wizards of the coast & DND: Escaping the real world to find a path back to reality

As a child, the real world was a pretty frightening place to me. With little confidence and admittedly a ‘late developer’ in academic terms, I struggled to fit in. My progression was slow, i had few friends and didn’t have the drive to become more. This picture is neither unique or even uncommon and so it is for many young people today. There are many younger children and young adults that are filled with fear and their way of dealing with the world and others is to lash out.

Sometimes escaping this world is a great way of not only giving things a new perspective but to also deal with some of the problems you face and find others with similar interests and outlooks. 

Dungeons & Dragons was for me this outlet. Being introduced when I was 12 years old, back in the early eighties, this allowed me to imagine a world without the dirty, cold pavements where I lived, the life of little hope or enjoyment, but of a world where anything was possible. Filled with incredible landscapes, the highest mountains and the deepest dungeons,  characters, both noble and evil with backgrounds and histories of their own, all within reach via a series of books. My appetite for reading increased dramatically, the range and type of books also. My ability to work out and calculate, my basic maths reasoning, saw a similar increase and change in my desire to learn. Most importantly it began to put me in touch with other children with similar outlooks, giving me new friendship circles, confidence in social situations, an ability to express myself via the roleplay elements.

This is why a game such as this is so valuable nowadays and why it not only continues to be relevant but is more popular than ever. There are more children than ever before with social and emotional issues that cannot be dealt with via electronic means and a need for activities and interests that brings them back into the real world with hunger, desire and self belief are needed more than ever. 

We use the game at a range of different organisations and venues to attempt to give some of the children there this outlook. We look to empower them against the social constraints they find themselves within and give them a means to deal with moral issues, their anxieties and relationships through the game and its world.

A great example of this are within many of the secure care centres and young offender institutes where we work. Most if not all found there are not bad people, just individuals that have made mistakes and continue to do so. Not only have we got some of the children involved in the game but also have them volunteering to stay after school to play the game with us, something which for the staff at these venues seems unimaginable. Staying to take part in an activity away from phones and pads, highly social, involving teamwork and critical thinking skills and most importantly laughing and leaving their troubles behind for a while. 

Through Wizards of the Coast’s program of supporting activities such as this we were able to have books sent to the school so that these activities can continue without us and they can be used on an ongoing basis to give the young people and outlet for their imaginations. 

If you have any thoughts or questions about how we use the game, or if we could come in to your school or organisation, please contact us at nigel@imaginationgaming.co.uk

We would love to hear from you…..thank you and don’t underestimate what games such as these can do to help nowadays.

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