Dungeons & Dragons: For the majority of the American public this live action role playing game says everything about the people that partake in its magical adventures. Geeks, dweebs, nerds, virgins . . . the list of insults are seemingly endless. And prior to becoming a weekly D&D barbarian half-orc named Lord Thorg, I would have absolutely agreed with many of the insults. However, I soon found many of the elements of D&D overlapping into my other favorite fantasy obsession, which is football.
Fantasy football and Dungeons and Dragons are similar in too many ways for me to ignore. The first main similarity is determining the draft order. In fantasy football, being the first pick and the 9th pick can be the difference between Adrian Peterson and DeAngelo Williams . . . Drew Brees and *shivers* Kyle Orton. Getting that first or mid round pick is essential to being successful. Similar to the draft, D&D players roll a 20 sided die to determine who will fight first during a battle. “Rolling for initiative” is like rolling for life or death. Every position has its advantages and disadvantages. Both are games of extreme chance, luck and passion.
Take for instance this clip from FX’s “The League”. If you’re in a diehard fantasy league, there is absolutely no denying that they were on par with this commercial:
While thinking about your fantasy lineup during sex is way different than having sex (something foreign to the honest majority of the D&D realm), it is guaranteed that they will only think of pleasuring their princess while in the bed.
The drafting of players is no different than busting out the old D&D character sheet. During the fantasy draft every player has their own strategy, targeted players, and a relative sense on how their distribution of points will work. Similarly, when rolling for your D&D character it is important to take into consideration their class, race, gender, religion, and overall skills. Giving monstrous barbarian half-orc extra points towards a sneak skill is like drafting from the New England clusterfuck of running backs. You know what you’re getting into, but it’s all essentially useless.
While talking shit to Team Ronnie Brown-noise and Steve McNair Speedholes has become quite a weekly occurrence in my fantasy league, I know there is absolutely nothing I can do to help the onslaught they will likely bring during the weekend. While Drew Brees might be capable of putting up 40 points, my running backs are hit-or-miss while they boast All Day and MJD. As most fantasy owners will tell you, we have absolutely no control over our players destinies in the realm of fantasy football. However, in D&D I can talk shit AND back it up. If Grizzly Nova, the blasphemous ninja monk with a badass fists of fury runs his mouth to me . . . it’s a simple barbarian rage and a gash in the chest with my +3 flaming sword of swiftness. That’ll shut him up while giving me instant pleasure out of the agonizing screams by his character. Of course, it’s all in my head . . . which is no different than fantasy. Yelling “I’m going to burn you with Drew Brees this week” or “I’m going to break Chris Cooley’s ankle” just doesn’t have the same feel. As fucking VIN DIESEL tells it, having full reign over your character is what makes D&D so badass.
The Dungeon Master
The Dungeon Master makes all the rules. He tells you what you can and can’t do, determines your fate, vetoes actions between players, penalizes characters, gives them rewards, etc. Sound familiar? While your commish might not look like the man to the right, it’s guaranteed he takes just as much pleasure out of putting hard work into the league. The DM has to determine story lines, maps, quests, treasures, monsters, friends, foes, layouts of towns, and the list goes on. Preparing for a weekly campaign requires hours of hard work from the DM alone to make it successful.
What’s the difference between sitting around a table all day watching football and playing in a RPG session? One action is simply observing while the other is controlling. While Team First & Visante Shiancoe may be sitting on the couch bragging about a touchdown, Prince Hammerclaw can likewise brag about leveling his character up or finding a magical item during a raid.
Despite the vast differences between the two games, they are utterly alike. I just wanted to point out to the millions of fellow jocks in America that live for the fantasy football weekend that we are no different than those who play RPGs. Even worse, they tend to get off their asses and actually play their game every once and a while.