back to the bad old times


I just thought I'd share this with everyone:

I was shocked to discover, a few weeks ago, that the DM in my newly founded D&D group actually HIDES the fact that he's playing D&D from his girlfriend.
I mean, come on! The guy's in his twenties and they've been togoether for over a year. How can this be?
He'd rather tell her he's "hanging out with friends" or studying or even visiting a female friend of his rather than she knew he's playing with us...

He says she "won't approve" and "hates D&D".
First, I think her attitude's a bitch.
Second, I don't want to consider what this says about their relaionship.

Has anypne else run into something like this in recent years? are the social stigmas making a comeback?

Yotam, i hope you're reading this...

Making a comeback? They've never gone away.

When I was in college, I belonged to a very "cool" coed "frat." I didn't exactly conceal my gaming habits, but I certainly didn't advertise them.

After college, I decided not to care if anyone disliked my hobby. I'm happy with my decision. None of my girlfriends had ever been gamers, and that had caused problems here and there. I resolved not to date anyone who wasn't a gamer, or -- at the very least -- anyone who wasn't willing at least to give gaming a try.

My wife never gamed before she met me. She's played in about 80% of my campaigns, but she dislikes D&D pretty intensely. After her last experience with it, she told me she'd rather stick to the heavy RP and problem-solving of Call of Cthulhu. She's never liked class- or level-based systems, for whatever that is worth.

As for your friend, I'd say: hey, zip, that's really his business. It's always healthier to be totally honest with your significant others, because sooner or later the secret's going to be outed. But how to deal with that can only be the decision of the person in the relationship.

In discussing with a friend of mine the social leprosy that is gaming, I drew an analogy to being gay (man, I sure hope this doesn't offend anyone -- please bear in mind that it's just an analogy):

The gay guys I know who are "out" seem a lot happier than the gay guys I know who are "closeted." But that doesn't mean they don't have to deal with the consequences of being "out" -- homophobia does exist, and people will accuse you of all kinds of silly shit (or even physically assault you!) just because your lifestyle makes them feel uncomfortable. In the end, nobody should be "outed" by someone else. If someone's ready to "come out," that person will come out and deal with the repercussions of being open about his/her life. If that person is not ready to come out, I feel very strongly that the decision to remain "closeted" is nobody else's bloody business.

I feel exactly the same about gaming. I'm not gonna change the world, and I'm not gonna try. I've felt much happier and healthier since I stopped trying to be a "closet gamer," but I have encountered the stigma of it now and again. Do I think the stigma is silly, shitty, and unfair? Sure I do. But it's there. I'm not going to go on a crusade against it. I'm just going to live my life and be myself. I think, in the end, that's the only decision that matters.

First, you have a point. I'm definitely not going to "out" him, or anyone else for that matter.
Second, do you think someday there will be a Gaming Parade or somesuch?
Third, now that you mention it, i really don't envy gay gamers...too many closets.

oh, BTW, i made the mistake of bringing my GF to a gaming session on our 5th date or so... i don't think she's fully recovered yet :)

At least she let me "play along with the boys"..

I'm more open with my gaming habits than I used to be...but, it's not something that I flaunt. I work with a bunch of guys who simply wouldn't get it so I just don't bring it up.

When I first met my wife, she told her mom that I played D&D...and then I had to sorta explain that it doesn't control my life, that I don't actually think I'm that guy, that Jack Chick is a fool, etc.

I think there are times to be open about it and there are times that it's more trouble than it's worth. Hiding it from a girlfriend or wife doesn't seem like the way to go...

...but I can't say that I don't understand the logic behind it. I don't really agree with it...but I think I understand the reasons behind it.

Alas, my attempts to bring women to the gaming table...something I've done here and there for some 15 years...have always failed miserably.

My current gaming group is 33% female. If you run good stories, sooner or later you'll get women players and keep them at the table. I think it's well worth it.

It might be worth it...I just haven't tasted that "success."

I'm not sure running games with good stories is the cornerstone, tho -- my group does that already, but the women aren't flocking to our doorsteps. Essential, sure...but there's something more to it than just that.

Networking is another obvious factor -- our core group of guys...4-6 (depending on work schedules, vacations, and such) in number...don't really keep contact with any other gamers.

I'm not sure running games with good stories is the cornerstone, tho -- my group does that already, but the women aren't flocking to our doorsteps.

I swear to you, there's nothing more important. Networking might lure women gamers to your table, but (in my experience) only a good story will keep them there.

Nope. The social stigma attached to roleplaying games (all of which are 'Dungeons and Dragons' to non-gamers) has never gone away. In fact it might be even worse now - MMORPG players can at least claim the relative 'coolness' of playing 'computer games'. The advent of on-line gaming has created one more reason NOT to mess about with funny dice and rulebooks in the minds of the uninitiated - thus making it even weirder.

I don't let on that I play D&D at work. I've been working for the same company for 9 years and never once mentioned it to anyone.

Something I DO admit to fairly openly is my involvement with Historical Re-enactment. Because -

a) It's historical, therefore a bit respectable

b) It involves actually tooling up in metal armour and fighting full-contact with (non-sharp but still heavy) metal weapons. People don't feel very inclined to take the piss out of someone who does that (not to their face anyway).

My wife is not a gamer and is faintly disapproving of the whole thing but has come to accept it. I think she realises that she's quite lucky not to be married to some football-mad bloke who dominates the tv viewing, gets in a strop when his team loses and goes out getting plastered with the lads every friday night.

Unless there is some kind of 'retro fad' for pen & paper RPG that comes out of nowhere and sweeps the youth of the world in a mad craze for some kind of doubtless watered-down low-content but vaguely RPG-like game, I'm afraid that tabletop gaming will remain the province of a relatively small, generally smarter-than-average slice of the populace regarded as eccentric by the majority. A bit like morris dancing.

but, dude, historical reenacment is so much nerdier than D&D ;)

Sez you.


I do quite a bit of tabletop roleplay with my housemates, but its one of those things that we recognise that not everyone will be interested in it. We have a couple of unwritten rules:

1) Don't have a roleplay discussion if non-players are in the room.
2) Don't talk to a non-player about it unless they ask.

The fact that we roleplay isn't a hidden one, and all our friends know about it, and we respect that many of them don't want to hear about it.

I remember having a girlfriend who hated D&D, many years ago, when having sex seemed more impossible then killing a dragon one-on-one, at first level, with no magical items or dragon-slaying stuff to be had. She was hot (or at that time she was simply a chick who might get naked with me if our parents would be fooled into allowing us alone-time long enough for me to figure out how to smooth-talk her). The day she found out I was a role-player she sorta laughed and tried the game with us...It sucked for two reasons.

1-she was ready to hate the game the second it started, and that led to her being quite and unattached throughout the entire session (6 hours of play time)

2-6 hours of play time coulda been used for me loosing my virginity instead of trying to get her to like my game, my friends, my dice, my story and my monsters...

Time passed, girlfriends came and went, I matured (not really) and found a girlfriend who became addicted to D&D once we introduced her to it. That was also many years ago, and me and her have been seperated for over 10 years now but she still plays with us and loves it.

These days I hide nothing from nothing. My girlfriend (wife to be?)is a gorgeous woman with a bright future and bright mind. She is not the gamer-type, and she thinks that Uno is the greatest game in the world (prolly cus she is spanish and that gives her the advantage...what a cheater), but she dosnt belittle or snicker at me for playing in the realms of our imagination, with our fictious swords and our mentally fabricated monsters...She knows I love the game, am going to play forever, and that it brings me and my friends great joy. So she smiles as I talk about our last adventures, or explain to her how one player was cuaght cheating on die-rolls, etc etc. I doubt she files these conversations in her brain as 'important', but she takes the time and energy to listen and talk with me about our games. I love her for that.

So, as far as I can see- those who have to hide a hobby from a hubby, wife, girlfriend or boyfriend, is really just hiding themselvs from thier loved ones. If they pulled out the books and said "Honey, im a nerd, i fight dragons" then perhaps he/she would understand and the relationship would be more pure, without lies. Or perhaps the girl/boy would join the game, or even worse- leave you..but then you will have the freedom to find the one to love that will love you even though you love a game as dorky as D&D.

I wouldnt trade my game for anyone in this world...and no one who loves me would trade me in becuase I'm in love with a game of dice, dragons and dorks.

Sorry for my errors, grammar, and lack of the proper use of english. I'm not here to sound perfect or write an essay.

I've always tried to be as open as possible about my gaming addiction. I had a girlfriend once that tried to get me to quit gaming cause she was super-christian and felt that I was channeling demons. What a schnook I was to even be with that girl in the first place, y'know?

Luckily, the best player I have ever had in any group agreed to marry me. I can get a good game on any time I want by saying, "hey, let's roleplay tonight"...but you should see the looks we get from people that overhear these conversations! I'm sure they are thinking of a different kind of roleplaying all together ;)

The biggest stigma I've had to overcome was with other DJs...try having some headlining DJ from the UK over to your house for steak before a show, and they see the mammoth shelf of RPG material in your living room and sneer. No biggie though...I have a few friends across the world that are famous DJs and also play D&D (or at least used to when time was not an issue for them). Most of the guys I know feel that me being a DJ cancels out the nerdiness of roleplaying, and I acheive a happy medium of "almost real cool".

unfortunately, all I have to "cancel out" my D&D-induced nerdiness is "being an electrical engineer"...which doesn't really cut it :)

Think you'll find it amplifies it!

Though aren't you in the forces? Doesn't that trump RPG-nerdism?

I WAS... I'm just a measly reserve dude now :)

The biggest stigma I've had to overcome was with other DJs...try having some headlining DJ from the UK over to your house for steak before a show, and they see the mammoth shelf of RPG material in your living room and sneer.

Yes. I'm afraid that in the UK admitting to being a roleplayer (of the Pen'n'Paper or LARP variety) is only marginally better for your social standing than, say, it would have been to admit to being a practising homosexual in the 19th century. It's the kind of thing you never want to admit to in a job interview (unless you see a d20 lying on the interviewer's desk). And of course, as DJ's in the UK perceive themselves as being the high priests of street cool, it's de rigeur for such an individual to take the piss out of the hobby whenever they encounter it.

Having said that, there are a surprisingly large number of people who actually play RPGs on the's kind of like the Bondage/S&M scene in that respect I guess.