The Stigma


photo credit to and Zero Charisma

Tabletop role playing has been cast in such a dark light, depending on what generation you’re a part of. In its early days, it didn’t have the same amount of high fantasy elements that we see in today’s games, and thus resorted to taking mythological aspects of the real world to help create a fantasy one. In the 70’s, the fact that your child could play a game where he/she could make a character that worships Satan was horrifying.

As modern role players, it is our job, our duty, to eradicate this stigma that surrounds our beloved hobby. Usually when I describe tabletop role playing as my hobby, people are familiar with the title of Dungeons and Dragons. Then they promptly explain how they have no idea what the game is or anything about it, just that weird and creepy nerds to it in their mothers’ basements. It almost makes me angry, considering I, and everyone I know that plays, am/are functioning adults with successful careers that simply do this as a creative outlet. When explaining what this hobby is to people, I use the phrase “group story telling,” because that’s essentially what it is, isn’t it? You have the person that is the “author,” the creator and controller of the setting. The non-major characters, antagonists and setting. Then you have  the people that are the characters, the main antagonists of the story. Then, the author presents the basic plot that he/she has in mind for the protagonists, and they react as they see fit to shape the direction of the story.

That leads me to the most hated nerd stereotype: that we are incapable of social interaction. This whole game relies on social ties! You can’t play a tabletop role playing game by yourself, you just can’t. You have your close group of friends that you meet with every week (hopefully) and work on this magnificent story you’re creating together. In fact, I have read multiple articles that entail psychological studies that tabletop role playing is actually good social behavior and helps you relate to other people. Science is always the answer. However, I would totally being lying if I said that sort of thing was my forte, that’s more of my girlfriend’s territory. But regardless, the facts! They are there! Everybody who plays an RPG knows that it’s make believe, we all know that it’s not real and there’s no way it could be. We do it for the love of story telling, for the sake of being social and hanging out with friends. So please, before you jump to conclusions, understand the people being the DM screen.

Stay Metal \m/

One Comment on “The Stigma

  1. Yes hello it’s science girlfriend!

    Interestingly enough, there have not been many studies on D&D/tabletop games specifically since the 90’s and “does this cause deviancy in kiddos or not” back and forth between the Christian Right scientists and Everybody Else.

    However, D&D was the basis for online MMORPGs and there have been a TON of studies on those and their impact on identity and socialization. If interested & you have access to scientific journals through uni/research institution (otherwise, don’t bother with the paywall, science should be free to all, dammit), read:

    Gabbadini, M., Mari, S., Volpato, C. & Monaci, M. G. (2014). Identification processes in online groups: identity motives in the virtual realm of MMORPGs. Journal of Media Psychology, 26(3), 141-152. DOI: 10.1027/1864-1105/a000119


    Sarbu, G. (2011). MMORPG: Learning to “live” in a synthetic world. 7th International Scientific Conference eLearning and Software for Education presentation.

    More food for thought without a paywall:


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