The day after the election, E and I walked to work, and for most of the two miles we talked about D&D. When we saw our coworkers later, E joked that we were coping by “literally escaping into a fantasy world.” I have since made this joke to countless other friends and acquaintances so apologies if you’ve heard it from me already.
Here’s the thing though: D&D is a great coping mechanism, and I highly recommend it. E and I have a game we’ve been playing every few weeks for several months with my brother and his partner, RJ. They live in Vancouver so we play via skype, and it’s a fun way to keep in touch, make jokes, and tell stories together.
Back in July, RJ posted on their tumblr about how satisfying it is “to work on a thing that is just like, a neat present for myself and my closest friends.” They went on to say they’d like to read a thinkpiece about “the resurgence of tabletop gaming among millennials and capitalism and productivity and value and surveillance and branding and public/private life.”
RJ’s thoughts resonated and stayed with me and they’ve been bouncing around my head this week. A storytelling game played with your closest friends is not a commodity. It doesn’t have inherent value to be exploited. It can’t be taken away from you. It is just for you because you like it and it’s fun and it’s not hurting anyone and that is self-care.
We can create worlds to play in that have none of the structural inequalities that exist in our society. Or we can create worlds to play in that reflect our lived experiences and allow us a safe space to process. I feel like there’s something subversive about giving ourselves permission to play. Obviously there’s work to be done in the real world, but there’s work to be done in our fantasy worlds as well. It’s the work of being good to one another.