12 Most Advantageous Life Lessons from Playing Dungeons & Dragons

12 Most Advantageous Life Lessons from Playing Dungeons & Dragons

I have only been playing Dungeons & Dragons for a short time. My learning was greatly accelerated by a family member who owns 1st editions books.

Once you learn the basic rules then you can feel free to jump into any imaginary world. There is a great deal to learn from games of this type where the focus is on cooperation and not competition. The following is how I have applied those lessons to my life.

1. Teamwork

This is the hallmark of the game; working as a team to accomplish a goal. Our motley crew has to work together to make it to the end. It is paramount that we find ways to use differences to press our advantage.

2. Looks are deceiving

Innocent looking creatures are sometimes powerful combatants. Never look down on someone who seems to have a disadvantage. They may have put their points into a different skill set.

3. Conflict is not a bad thing

If you have played D&D then you know characters have goals that do not always align within the group. We need to realize that we have different motivations, but can still get together to do something for the greater good.

4. Random chance is real

When I joined the 12 Most tribe I found out that one member went to college with my cousin, a random happenstance. They say that 6 degrees of separation are now 5 because of technology. Who knows what you have in common with a fellow employee? Ask!

5. More numbers than 10

Spinal Tap told us that their amps went to 11. I have seen dice with 100 sides. There is a great diversity out there in the world to embrace.

6. Everything has a use

Much of the humor in a campaign comes from awkward uses of everyday items. In a pinch, a cold spell and a bag of holding become a refrigerator. Mundane objects are sometimes the most extraordinary when we apply some creative thinking.

7. Sometimes failing is entertaining

Popular websites Failblog and FML almost prove this statement. I once played a game where three characters rolled 1, a critical failure, in a row. We almost died in-game. It is one of my favorite stories to tell because our mutual failure bonded us as a group.

8. It only takes one good roll

The luckiest role in D&D is called a “Natural (NAT) 20.” This is an instance when it becomes impossible to fail and your character truly does something epic. Similarly, one good idea is all it takes to start a movement.

9. Stupid can be brilliant

Twice I have played characters that were impetuous. Each one took a risk that made them the most powerful character in the party. The next time someone tells you that you made the wrong decision tell them to wait and see what happens.

10. Charisma helps

Charisma is one of the most important character traits in-game. It governs abilities like diplomacy, bluffing, and anything to do with social skills. You don’t need a perfect multiplier to get by in life, but it doesn’t hurt to spread a little cheer where ever you go.

11. Leadership is a skill

Literally in D&D, leadership is a skill that you can acquire. It is never too late in life to work on building this trait. You can take classes and learn how to bring out your skills and improve.

12. Games are not just for kids

I truly believe that games like D&D help round out our social skills and encourage creativity. David Gray has trained those in business to use games for the same reasons. He calls it “gamestorming,” derived from his observations of how creative people work.

What games do you play and what is your favorite? Do you play them with your children?

Featured image courtesy of scott swigart licensed via Creative Commons.

Susan Silver


Susan is a copywriter who crafts content strategies that rank. She is also the community manager for Gygax Magazine. She shares information on business, social media, and writing.

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Great article. As a long time gamer who knows the many possibilities for learning and growth associated with role playing games, I started a nonprofit company that develops educational live action role playing games for education: http://seekersunlimited.com/

My favorite game is Chaosium's Call of Cthulhu, which has had a much bigger impact not just on the games I enjoy but on my life in general, than I could have ever imagined. 


Great article! I especially love #12. I've been trying to get folks around me to see that exact point. Many do, but goodness, others just really won't be convinced. 


I am always wondering to myself about the success of our group of expats in Poland - everyone from somewhere else, a different background and a different native language using the international language to communicate. Not everyone is a geek or even a Dungeons & Dragons "hobbyist." Most people are just plain, well... normal. You would see them in the supermarket, pass them and never connect role-playing games stereotypes to them. But, they are not lonely people because they are part of our group. We have had two engagements and one marriage (this past month) happen in the group. Saturday we are going to the movies (again). Last weekend, 4 couples went away together. We play D&D, which brings us together and in the darkness binds us... ehr, but we do other things together. Perhaps using the role-playing to test out how others behave or react in a given circumstance or, maybe, testing ourselves through the process. When the game session ends, everyone is back to their normal, safe, façade. But some of that wall, that social barrier we put up around strangers, is removed. And, not surprisingly, when the barrier is down we connect.


A bunch of great lessons indeed. I love them all.  Wonderful article!


I definitely appreciate that Teamwork was #1. I also love the fact that looks can be deceiving. Finally, I'm a big fan of "constructive conflict". Not getting issues out in the open allows those issues to fester and poison an environment. Seek conflict that is immediately followed by resolution...even if there is compromise involved.


LOVE these. I just started a game up with my 11 year old daughter. At the end of our first game, she turned to me with widened eyes..."Daddy, this is gonna SO help me write my books!" Awesome on so many levels. Thank you for sharing this!


I love the idea in #12. I'm off to read more about David Gray and gamestorming! 

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In high school, my friends loved to play D&D. I never really got into RPGs, but I would watch them play - which I guess makes me a D&D groupie. With that being said, I loved how you combined some great life lesson with D&D - so very creative. From watching my friends, I would also say that I learned that the journey was more fun then the actual outcome of the game. The trial and tribulations make you laugh, frustrate you but you learn a lot along the way.