Dungeons & Dragons (D&D for short) is basically one of the cornerstones of nerdiness. Since Gary Gygax, the late patron saint of tabletop gaming, gave the world this game in 1974, people have been clustering around tables to eat Cheetos, drink soda, and yell at their twenty-sided dice for rolling way too low. D&D has built friendships and ruined them, it has been passed from elder to younger siblings and from fathers to daughters and sons. While so many aspects of popular culture have turned out to be fads, Dungeons & Dragons endures.
One theory about why Dungeons & Dragons sticks around because of the human element that you get from the gaming experience. When you peel away all of the elves and orcs, D&D is, at its core, a team-building exercise for you and your friends. Sitting down to go on a dungeon crawl teaches you about the people sitting next to you. Sometimes, what you learn is good; it’s really neat to discover that the only thing stopping your friends from being benevolent superheroes is reality. Unfortunately, sometimes you learn more about your friends than you ever wanted.
Here’s the things you learn about your friends when you play D&D with them, whether it's good or bad.
Don’t you love it when a plan comes together? Chances are one of your friends does and you are going to find out which one if you play D&D. Usually, people will be alright going through the game fighting as they come, but not everybody. Some people find that the best part of the game is scouting ahead, planning formations, and setting devious ambushes for unsuspecting opponents. They may or may not say “Just according to plan” in response to everything, even stuff they obviously didn’t plan.
Of course, with everybody saving villages and lapping up the affection of NPCs, it’s only a matter of time before somebody just wants to watch the world burn. D&D is a safe, harmless place for your mild-mannered friends to indulge in behaviors that would make the Joker blush. Evil laughter is mandatory.
Real talk: D&D has a lot of rules. Between all the different classes, books, updates, house rules, and everything else, you basically need to read a small encyclopedia of rules to even hope to play D&D right. Some people are better at this than others. Some people dive into the rules like some kind of goblin-slaying law professor and figure out the way that every rule interacts so that they can break the game. If you have one of these friends, you will recognize them by how they explain the game to the Dungeon Master. They may or may not yell "Objection!" a lot.
Another awesome thing about D&D, every group winds up with their own inside jokes. These jokes will only ever be funny to people who are part of the group. Some groups use the same inside jokes so much that they basically invent their own language that only they can speak.