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For Some D&D Players, Tabletop Roleplaying Is More Than Dice and Magic – It’s a ‘Sanity Saving’ Mental Health Boost

0 2 years ago

Those familiar with tabletop roleplaying games like Dungeons and Dragons may see it as nothing more than a carefree game based on living out dreams of being a wizard, or collecting every set of dice under the sun.

But for some players, D&D goes beyond fun battles with make-believe dragons, becoming an invaluable mental health tool: one that allows them to fight or flee from their problems for a few hours, brings them closer to people they may never talk to otherwise, and can even serve as a lifeline during hard times.

While D&D on its own isn’t a replacement for psychotherapy with a licensed professional, it does provide a social, creative and emotional outlet that some players find invaluable for their mental health.

For Aabria Iyengar, a tabletop roleplay gamer who plays in and runs storylines on several popular D&D-based podcasts and live streams, books and movies are fun, but “there’s nothing quite like being inside the adventure.”

Being inside the adventure is the goal of Dungeons & Dragons, which boils down to a fantasy-themed choose your own adventure story, with a group of players acting as the characters, and one “Dungeon Master” acting as the referee. One roll of the 20-sided dice can determine how a player’s decision impacts the story, and what happens as a result.

Iyengar started playing D&D in 2015 or 2016. Since then, the characters she’s created, for different games on livestreams and outside them, have helped her learn more about herself, and provided an outlet for connection and distraction in times when both things were hard to come by.

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