There is a permanent feature on my desk. It’s a red velvet bag filled with multicoloured polyhedral dice. I use the dice regularly in the game of Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) I play with my friends – they represent a weekly connection of laughter, silly voices and storytelling. But a few days ago, they began to represent something else.
I’ve worked in the field of wellbeing for nearly two years now. I never thought that D&D could tie into that – and yet my research over the last week has shown otherwise.
The project began when I rejoined Twitter after a small break. I made a whole new Twitter handle, and focussed on following people with the same interests as me – wellbeing, writing, storytelling, and Dungeons and Dragons. This led me to discovering a whole community that combined all those things!
I quickly found myself digging deeper and deeper into a rich vein of resources that I didn’t even know existed.
My exploration led me to:
Unconventional – “The first inaugural UnConventional Gaming Convention promises to be a welcoming environment for everyone, of all ages to play games of all kinds.”
Clinical Roll – A group of therapists who are all actively involved in the D&D therapy community in the USA, who meet up occasionally and stream their D&D sessions!
RPG Research – A website dedicated to researching RPGs and their effects on participants (I spent a long time trawling this website)
Aspiring Halfling – Mysty Vander writes some cracking blog posts about inclusivity in tabletop role-playing games that really get you thinking.
… There is more which I will probably write about later.
After reading up on as many things as I could, I realised that this was something I needed to be involved in. I am not a clinically trained therapist, and I’m not planning to set up a D&D therapy institute here in the UK, but I am a writer, I am interested in wellbeing, I am a researcher and I regularly play D&D. Surely I could do something around that?
A D&D and wellbeing project forms…
For me to stay focussed, this project needed to be personal. It needed to take aspects of my own journey into consideration. It needed to have some of my heart in it. But I was anxious – how could I even offer anything to this community that I know nothing about?
That was when it hit me: I could research EXACTLY THAT!
Anxiety is something that has stopped many of my projects in the past. I’ve never started them, or I’ve abandoned them halfway through. What if I could turn it on its head and research anxiety – focussing on my own experience – and see if role-playing games could help me overcome or manage it?
Learning about anxiety, storytelling and D&D seems like a really exciting idea. Is there a way I can harness my own D&D time to help manage my anxiety? Am I barking up the wrong tree? What is anxiety? How can telling a story help with any of this?
These are the questions I’ve started with. I’m taking tentative steps into my own brand new quest.
Who knows what the future holds? …Excuse me while I go and buy some books.
Are you interested in Dungeons and Dragons? Wellbeing? Ice Cream? Why not leave a comment below?