Hello!

I'm Austin Gragg. I write stuff.
This is my blog. Here I like to talk about writing, geeky stuff, and otherwise spill my brain juices all over the interwebs.

Sometimes it's NSFW.

Sharing Dungeons & Dragons

Sharing Dungeons & Dragons

This is short, and I'm not sure it really says anything, but it has me excited and wanting to share.

 Little Jack was eager to DM the players into an early grave. I hadn't even gotten the screen up yet.

Little Jack was eager to DM the players into an early grave. I hadn't even gotten the screen up yet.

A neat thing happened this last Sunday night. I finally got to introduce my little brothers, properly, to Dungeons and Dragons. Furthermore, what I really got to share was the magic of collaborative storytelling one experiences through almost any tabletop RPG. And it was wonderful.

I've waited quite a while for my brothers to grow up enough so I could share the game with them at an age at which they could understand it, and appreciate it. My wife and I had been talking about how we needed to spend more time with my brothers, and suddenly it dawned on me that they might just be the right age (16 & 10) to understand and enjoy D&D.

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My little brothers watched my friends and I play--from a distance--while I was in high school. In high school, I started a game group with some friends. And almost every Saturday, for about five years, (meaning through most of HS and a little more than a year after) with roughly the same people, more or less, coming and going as life willed, we played. We played at my parent's house, my friend's, at the local game shop, and sometimes more than one location as we put in hours and hours and hours on the weekend.

In those years that I DM'd I learned a lot about people, and a lot about myself through the stories we told together. We fought hordes of undead, we battled mythical Fey, we saved the world a few times, and the universe dozens--or should I say, the party did those things. Yes, the party, the adventurers--players, did those things. I had the best seat in the house, and the honor--and sometimes nightmare--of narrating those stories.

D&D means a lot to me. Even though I haven't seriously played it--until just a few days ago--for several years. It informed quite a bit of who I am as a person, and showed me what I love to do most in this world. I love to tell stories. It was also a training ground for my imagination. But, most importantly, through those stories we told together, we got to explore who we are as people, and who we want to be. We got to have deep discussions on what is morally right and wrong. We talked a lot about death, what it means to live a meaningful life. We got to live through great moral conundrums, moments of victory and loss, and grow as people.

It all sounds pretty deep for a game, I know. But it's more than a game. It's storytelling. And it's more than just storytelling, it's storytelling in a way that's more interactive and immersive, and powerful, than most any other method could be. And its all that because you share it with other people around a table.

This kind of experience in storytelling is a lot like reading a book that could change your life.

So, getting to finally share this game with my brothers was awesome. No, you don't have life changing experiences after playing for just a few hours. But, you have great moments. You have the thrill of being ambushed by goblins, needing to rely on each other's skill and wit to survive. You have spooky moments, where you know there's danger around the corner and there's nothing to face it with you, but your friends. These small moments build, and grow, and take shape into larger meaning over time.

It was really neat to see my youngest brother's eyes light up as he really started to get it, understanding that this was his story to tell. This wasn't a video game where you're stuck on a rail and guided through a plot while you play a character you're detached from. This was getting to be there in the moment. Sent by a king to investigate the strange happenings in a small town, every decision in the story was theirs to make.

I think I might have found something we can all do and enjoy together, despite our age gaps, and that's pretty cool.

When the creative well runs dry...

When the creative well runs dry...

If you don't start running... a follow up, of sorts...

If you don't start running... a follow up, of sorts...