Friday, May 31, 2019

How Aspergers and Autism Ruined Dungeons and Dragons

Stop Faking Mental Illness

There are three types of people in the world:

Those that are mentally healthy.
Those with legitimate mental illnesses.
And those who fake mental illness for attention and government checks...which also makes them mentally ill.

For example, nearly every American man will date a girl who seemingly is bi-polar.  She will go hot and cold.  She will create drama.  She will rock your world in bed, and then the next day slash your tires.  At that point whether she actually has bi-polar disorder or not is moot.  "Da bitch be crazy" and effectively is mentally ill regardless and you should leave her ass immediately.

But there is a much larger segment of the population that this real-vs-faking mental illness plays out, and that is the two most popular mental illnesses to have today - Autism and Aspergers.

I need to be very clear here because there are two groups of people that are going to get their panties in a bundle and be highly offended. And the reason they're going to be highly offended, even apoplectic, is because I'm exposing their biggest hypocrisy in life. And those two groups of people are:

1.  People who fake having mental illness to garner attention, value, meaning, givemedats, and lower standards in their lives


2.  Shitty parents who did a shit job raising their children, and need to RUSH to blame their failure on a made-up mental illness their children don't have.

None of you nor your children have a mental illness.  You are lazy people who did not want to work for a living or put forth the effort to actually raise your children correctly.  You are an offense and an affront to those people who actually do suffer from legitimate cases of mental illness, and you are not fooling the rest of us that 25% of the youth today have "Aspergers," "Autism," "Social Anxiety," or "depression."

You are a sad group of people who lack the work ethic to go forth and accomplish things in life, and instead are so sad and pathetic, you will blame a made-up mental illness for your loser-performance in life because it spares your ego AND conveniently qualifies you for a world of special treatment, government hand outs, lower standards, and a life of sloth.

But, as I pointed out before, whether you have an actual mental illness or are merely faking it, the results are the same - you're mentally ill.

Now because it is "popular" (and I cannot emphasize that word enough, because it is the PRECISE word that describes people's use of mental illness) POPULAR to have a mental illness, this means a larger percent of the population are people faking mental illness who don't have it.  And these people then permeate into society, ruining it for the rest of us mentally healthy people.

Safe spaces.
Uber-nazi politically correct speech.
Irrational and pampering levels of accommodations.
Body mutilation as a substitute for meaning and agency.
Fake rape accusations.
Demanding recognition of a never-ending number of made-up genders.
You even have adults setting up play dates for their "adult" college age children.

Whatever the societal symptoms are of these mental-illness-fakers, the rest of us sane and healthy people are forced to walk around the eggshells they've laid out before society.  And if we don't, they will throw a temper tantrum. They will be offended, file reports, file complaints, drag you in front of an HR/Title IX circus court, all of which is arguably the only thing they have in life - to perceive CONSTANT offense and oppression, allowing them to masturbate and wallow in their self-created victimhood, while "fighting the evil injustices" of society, which is at the core of every pathetic SJW in existence.

Thankfully, my life is minimized to the point I no longer deal with these people.  I'm not in school.  I don't work in corporate America.  I don't watch TV.  I don't even watch the news.  I surround myself on the micro-level where weakling hypocrites who fake and co-opt mental illness to begat pity and an easier life from others are simply not in my environment.  But dare I ever leave the "Cappy Plantation" there are times I occasionally run into them.

Enter Dungeons and Dragons.

Dungeons and Dragons

In the 1980's and 1990's I was no stranger to Dungeons and Dragons.  Matter of fact it is one of my favorite pastimes that I thoroughly enjoyed, and continue to this day.  But admittedly, the caliber and character of young men it attracted to it was not exactly your most sociable or George-Clooney-esque.

RPG's like D&D attracted the nerdiest, most socially awkward boys like moths to a flame.  WITHOUT FAIL, there would ALWAYS be at a D&D game:

The fat guy who had three Mountain Dews he would drink in a 4 hour session, likely getting more.
The long haired, trench coat wearing kid wearing sunglasses indoors.
The also obese "rules" guy who knew the rules of D&D inside and out and would flaunt this "talent."
The guy who stank.
The token nerd girl of questionable attractiveness that every guy would inevitably pursue.
And a smattering miscellany of rank and file nerds.

These were no doubt the rejects of society.  They were the boys nobody wanted to hang out with.  These were the boys who would grow up to become men that would not lose their virginity till their 30's.  But for all their social flaws, psychological flaws, and hygienic flaws, there was one thing they all had in common:

They could keep it together during a game.
They could actually play the fucking game.
Even if they had a genuine mental illness, we were still able to play some fucking D&D.

And that is no longer the case today.

Meetup Groups

I winter down in Las Vegas at my "Southern Command."  I can afford to do this, not so much because I have the money, but because I have the freedom.  I have no kids.  I have no debt.  And so for some annual house maintenance, I am allowed to stay for free at a buddy's place in Las Vegas.

But once the work is done, or the golf courses golfed, the sun sets and I have to figure out something to do in the evening.  And a couple years back I decided to go dust off my dice, buy the 5th edition rule book for D&D, and attend several of the many Dungeons and Dragons games being offered on Meetup.

It had been a while since I played in person and was getting kind of excited about playing D&D in person again.  There would be intellectual banter, some sharp joshing, an intriguing story, some clever strategizing, and good old fashion getting my geek on.  Yes, I'm sure there would be the Mountain Dew guy, the Stink Guy, Rules Guy, and the token 4 on a scale of 1-10 girl, but that is what made D&D endearing and I would expect nothing less.  But what manifested in actuality can be summed up in one word:


The first D&D game I played indeed did have the retinue of Rules Guy, Stink Man, Mountain Dew Guy, and Marginally Attractive Girl.  I was almost excited to see these stereotypical, classical D&D characters that I saw in the late 80's.  But when we started to play the game, it quickly became apparent these were not the same people that played some 30 years ago.

Instead of playing the game, everybody placed their role and themselves above the game itself.  Rules Guy did not care about the game, as much as he cared about singling people out on their technical errors and mistakes.  This made for a start and stop, lethargically slow and jarring pace to the game. Every decision, every dice roll, every perception check was went over by this anal retentive creature with a fine tooth comb.  The Token Girl was married to a rank and file nerd, but they forced their cute little inside jokes on the game and the players.  Trench Coat guy and his equally scrawny friend would just do the dumbest shit imaginable in the game, making any kind of team work impossible.  And Mountain Dew guy had to make a joke out of every fucking thing possible that was not funny.  It became quickly apparent that "we" were there to play D&D, but "we" were there to showcase our shitty talents through a D&D catalyst because we had no real other talents in the real world.  This was a stage, not a game.  And the play fucking sucked.

Figuring it could have just been a bad batch of people, I tried another D&D meetup at the other end of town.  This was even more of a shit show than the previous one as NOBODY was actually playing the game, but cracking inside jokes about the previous campaigns they had played.  The dungeon master (referee) had no control of the players, people were spending more time talking about "crazy" moves they could make rather than sitting down and strategizing legitimate ones, the number of potty and food breaks (cheesy nachos of course) slowed the game to a snail's pace, and the only progress that was made in the game was when we left the tavern.  It had gotten so bad that when it came to my turn and the token "Rules Guy" started to open his mouth I looked at him and said "Shut your god damn mouth," and then turned to the dungeon master and said "You, roll your dice and tell me if I hit."  The table went silent not because I went stern, but because I was the only one who insisted on playing the game.

If you didn't think it could get any worse it did.  And this time I was back at home in Minnesota.  Hoping it was something to do with Vegas, I quickly found out it was not when I tried my third and final time at a physical D&D game.  This time it was at a comic shop in the Twin Cities suburb.  Dice bag, rules book, and character sheet in hand, I found the table advertised on Meetup and sat down.  Immediately, I was beset by one of the regular players who was saying I had to sign up online to register a slot so I could get assigned a seat so I could draw from the pool to get put on a list, until the dungeon master pulled him aside and said, "I should be able to get you into this game."

I was kind of hoping this dungeon master had control of the game, but it quickly became apparent it was more of a baby sitting operation.  Across from me was the 7th grader who weighed 80 pounds and had his headphones in.  To my right was the high school kid who wanted to talk instead of play the game.  To my left was one guy who might have actually seen a vagina and had his own apartment.  But then there was the 27 year old who was on the verge of tears because we didn't let him cast his spell first.

The game was a complete and total disaster.

The DM, rightly, let these "kids" play the game to see if they could figure out team work on their own.  They simply could not.  A logical course of action was recommended and each person would nitpick every possible detail as if they were all "Rules Guy."  Outlandish, irrational course of action were recommended which only begat further laughter and mockery of such ideas, rather than sitting down and playing the game.  Spells were being cast which had no bear on the game, simply because somebody wanted to cast the spell.  And meanwhile the DM had been hinting very clearly at a course of action that should be taken.

Running out of patience I simply took command and said, I'm going this way, I don't care if anybody else comes with.  People came with, but nobody wanted to get with a game plan or do what I recommended.  Every possible permutation and possibility of the course of EACH of our individual actions were hemmed and hawed over.  Irrational question that had no bearing in reality were posed.  And what would have only take about 2 minutes in the real world (had the game been played out in reality), took 90 minutes just to knock on a door and find out that, yes, indeed "thar be monsters."

I left more pissed off than when I walked in.  And when I realized that attending physical D&D games was not making me happier or more relaxed, but angrier and desiring nothing more than to physically beat people, I decided I would never attend a physical game of D&D ever again.  Life is too short to NOT to play D&D.

Aspergers and Autism - Faked or Not - Ruined D&D

Just as my psycho-ex may or may not have had bi-polar disorder, it doesn't matter.  Her behavior was unacceptable

And just as modern day physical players of D&D may have a mental illness, are faking it, or were just raised really shittily by really shitty parents.  It doesn't matter, their behavior is unacceptable.

Because whether you have a mental illness or are faking it, you can't play Dungeons and Dragons, let alone any other strategy RPG.  Because if you actually DO have a mental illness, well then it's obvious you're not going to be able to play a social game effectively since you are indeed mentally impaired.  But if you're faking mental illness for attention, you're also not capable of playing Dungeons and Dragons (let alone anything else) because playing a strategy game requires team work and selflessness.  And people who fake mental illness are 100%, completely self-absorbed, weak hypocrites, incapable of team work because they value themselves above all others.  It's why everybody at modern D&D games are "on stage."  It's why they're always trying to impress other people with shitty jokes or antics.  It's why Rules Guy tries to lord his supremacy of the rules over you.  It's why some players obsess about their "non-binary" gender of their characters over the game.  And it's why some dipshit players will do the dumbest things possible in the game.

It's all to garner attention.
It has NOTHING to do with the game.

Alas, if you're a mentally healthy individual, and you would like to play Dungeons and Dragons, there is really only one place for you to play D&D - the internet.  You can choose who you play with.  You can choose people who have jobs.  You can choose people who are there to play.  And you can choose people without Aspergers or Autism, faked or not.  It will result in an enjoyable game and a lot less stress than if you show up in person.

But sadly, gone are the days of physically showing up with your Tahitian Treat, dice bag, character sheet, and rule book.  Gone are the days of creating a character and sparring with others.  The world of D&D is filled with dysfunctional people who abuse the game for their own self aggrandizement.  Please do not be one of them.
Check out Aaron's other cool stuff below!


Mike said...

Fandom-as-means-to-establish-social-dominance is such a pain. It happens in every hobby to some degree.
Glock lovers telling you that there's only one handgun ever worth using.
AR-platform lovers acting like there's nothing else on the planet worth owning.
Car aficionados who act like you shouldn't be allowed to enjoy a car unless you dump $40k into a factory restoration and make a car into a trailer queen rather than just being able to turn wrenches on a 40-year-old vehicle that you're into on a Saturday morning.
People who get pissed off when you say that you enjoyed this Marvel movie or that DC movie, because you didn't have unlimited funds to buy every single comic book for the past 40 years and get to know the ins and outs of every storyline, writer, and comic book artist throughout a character's entire history.

There comes a point where fandoms actually start hurting the thing they love by pulling this crap of "you're only a fan if you have the encyclopedic knowledge of this thing that I have, and if you like everything I like for the same reasons."

Pro-tip: if your group can't just enjoy a book, watch a movie, have a range day, like a tv show, twist a wrench, or build a model with a complete noob once in a while, you've crossed the line. If you have some sort of purity test for who you consider a real fan, you've crossed the line. And if you get so wrapped up in your social interaction that you don't actually DO THE THING AT ALL, you've crossed the line.

I want to learn more about D&D next year when I'm done with my IT school. I know a few guys between 35 and 55 that are interested. I'm going to try to get them together at my place with the promise of free food and make it a regular thing. It will be casual enough for a noob to be comfortable, yet serious enough to actually DO THE THING.

Anthony Pacheco said...

Man, I feel bad for you. There's been a considerable spike in the number of players in D&D, so take the player and DM problems of yesteryear and magnify them by the entitlement bullshit everywhere. So, unless you actively shored up your player social group starting around 2012, you're left with sifting through the dregs.

Are you going to be around Indy during GenCon? My designer/writer partner in crime, and I will be there a day early. I'd be happy to run for you, in person, one of our modules. With expert players.

Paul, Dammit! said...

I'm friendly online with author Nick Cole, who was just at a celebrity D&D tournament. I'm curious as to the after action report.

I can unfortunately agree with the sentiment of this article completely. One angle that I don't hear mentioned as to why so many people just suck at life in general is where their mothering happened... we can mostly all agree that single motherhood and divorce have created two generations of emotional hysterics, but I do believe we don't assign enough blame to parents from intact nuclear families who farm their kids out to daycare and ignore their emotional growth, simply because no one spent enough time with it.
I would bet that plenty of these little rats who get hooked on Adderall and gibs were raised by nice but deeply stupid daycare workers, going home to chicken patties and frozen vegetables microwaved by a parent still in their work clothes. Eat, clean, shower, bed.
Kids need their parents for more than 45 minutes of contact per day. 2 generations of middle class WASP eunuch boys and masculine girls shows that well enough, let alone the dumpster fire that happens when poor people on the .gov teat reproduce.

William said...

Good games to try are Magic The Gathering or Cards Against Humanity. Just get a starter pack of cards, have some friends over and you're good to go.

Anonymous said...

Dear Aaron,

This subject really struck home; been playing D&D for over 10 years (started at 3rd ed) and I agree with you mostly. However, one thing I would say is that some people with Aspergers can work well in a D&D team (and, indeed, in a real life work team) as long as either they or their team both a. Realise they have the issue in first place and/or b. Work with it to make the team work. Genuine Aspies (myself included) are often hyper-focused on tasks and can be great at solving problems; what works well with us is a good team and manager/DM who can help us find a good niche in the team and game.

I completely agree, However, that anyone faking mental illness can't do D&D or life in general; Personally, if anyone says they have Aspergers/BPD etc my first question is how'd you learn to fit in, because I learned to even before I got diagnosed? If they say they don't or it's hard they're either full of it or not trying so why should I or anyone else waste time trying with then?

Sorry to ramble but just had to chime in; completely agree and hate fakers, but if an Aspie or Aspie-like person wants to game just help them find their niche; it might take some experimenting but, once they get it, you'll have a good gaming buddy for a long time.

Kind regards

Kristophr said...

A D&D session is only as good as the DM.

Find one that will not put up with crap from retards.

sassed1 2many said...

I grew up long before D&D came on the scene, and I always thought such games were pointless, but your story did tell a story that I can relate to. This story is being played out everywhere. Sanity is the new...

Jethan said...

Where are the munchkins just there to loot the monsters when you need them? At least that's playing the game.

daniel_ream said...

I'm a bit surprised by this because the experience you've described here was literally every D&D game I played in high school and university twenty-five years ago. Nothing's actually changed. People were every bit as dysfunctional back then as these people are today. Like, in 1995 I actually had a standing table rule against working out your sexual or identity issues in game because it was so

I think some of this is you were meeting D&D players on Meetup. See, there's a rule amongst tabletop RPG geeks about finding a good group: don't play D&D with strangers and try to make them your friends, teach your existing friends to play D&D. That's because these broken personalities are legion in this hobby, and if they're trying to find other D&D players on Meetup it's because *they* have no friends to play with because they're completely dysfunctional.

Alternately, try board games or skirmish miniatures wargames. There are fatbeards, but they're fewer and farther between.

Jay Currie said...

My kids (18 and 15) play Magic The Gathering every week. Good group of people, nerd quotient about 11, but people with actual lives.

DnD, which I played a hundred years ago and didn't take to, seems to attract a range of highly dysfunctional man/boys. It is a safe space, I guess.

Try Magic.

heresolong said...

I started in the late seventies (2nd Ed), been playing on and off ever since with different groups and have recently moved up to 5th Ed. A couple suggestions.

1) When you go to one of those meetups figure out who the cool cats are and recruit them for a regular, non-open-to-the-public game. The two or three of you hit another meetup together and poach another person. Pretty soon you got a good group playing at your house instead of at some tavern.

2) When someone wants to join your group have a couple of you meet them at a bar to have a beer and chat a bit. See if they come across as sane and check out their attitude towards the game.

3) If you are going to get any younger folk involved, set up a game where you are the DM (or someone you know and trust) and actually teach them how to play. I sponsor the D&D club at the high school at which I teach. The kids have no idea how to work as a team in that setting and have to be taught. It's not enough to just throw stuff at them until they die and then make them roll a new character. I had a girl sitting at the table playing a druid and the party was attacked by plants. She pulled out her dagger and hacked at them until everyone had a chance to run away. It never actually occurred to her to use magic that affected plants, presumably because she didn't really know what druids were.

The game I'm in right now started on meetup and was in person. It was great but then most of the group moved away and it became an internet campaign using Fantasy Grounds and Discord. I enjoy it but not as much. Maybe I'm old school but I like sitting around the table with dice instead of talking through headphones and looking at a computer screen. I'm hoping to get a campaign of my own going but I'm going to be following my own rules and recruiting carefully.

Anonymous said...

Start your own DnD group. "No tards, no autisms, no spergs, no virgins, must shower. 30 and up." Also no "Adventure League" bullshit. It's the only way.

Brian Rene Morrissette said...

“The Caves of Janxrathra”. If you like old school D&D games, really hard intellectual puzzles, more easter eggs than ‘Ready Player One’, and an intricate story I suggest you take a look. I don’t make a dime off it. It’s just my message in a bottle. Read the goddamn manual first; I didn’t make it easy.


Anonymous said...


rsj said...

Waitressing. That was my way to crack the code. Short interactions with immediate feedback. Tip/no tip. Go/no go. Helped store scripts in my head and learn when to use them. That helped with non-work life and now I can blend in and I love it. As to D&D I played in high school and yes, I was the nerdy marginally attractive girl, but we PLAYED. My son plays D&D now with his friends and from his stories it seems it is a mix of what Cappy has dealt with recently and what play was like when I played. I think I would find it frustrating.

Russ said...

Echoing what daniel_ream said, the best route is to convince people you are already good friends with to play (if possible). Otherwise, yes, my experience has been exactly the same -- you will end up in groups of very typical nerd stock who have insufferable personalities. Dungeons & Dragons is the most renown tabletop RPG, so it's going to attract hordes of these people. Even if no one in your friend group is particularly creative, the games will always be far more enjoyable with people you actually like. And if they aren't into classic fantasy there is a roleplaying game for any genre or setting, and it's not hard to find one that is better than D&D.

Anonymous said...

Lol wait so you don’t have a job and mooch off of your friend? And you’re bitching about people having fun with one another during a GAME? And criticizing people who could very well have their life more together than you?

I have depression. I also have a job, a home I pay for, and I’m married.
But somehow I’M not qualified to play your little game? �� �� ��

You’re making a mentally ill person feel bad for you.

Also my Asperger’s stricken sister is way more socially adept than you, pal.

May wanna look in a mirror.

J.A.M. said...

Damn fuckin' right, man! I've been DMing for 15 years, and this new edition brought in the most insulting generation of gamers I've ever met. Some of them are good. Some. Very few. The vast majority don't actually want to play D&D though, they just want to play "make believe" like a bunch of infants. And, sure, imagination and creativity are fundamental to the game, but it is still a GAME!! A FUCKING GAME! All of the problem players of the past were a problem because they were selfish, egocentric knobs. That still stands true today. There's just way more of them now.

Anonymous said...

It can be frustrating believe me; I've taken a break because of it. However, quick rule of thumb I use in life as well as D&D; when a problem comes up, who makes the problem about them and who tries to fix the problem? Avoid group one (unless extenuating circumstances such as personal involvement in the issue) and embrace group two!

Hope your lad enjoys gaming but a good way to avoid frustration is to be the DM; come up with your own adventure with problems that require the players work together; if they daily, both you and they will quickly filter out who messed up and why (group one and two as above). The people Cappy wrote this article about want to be the centre of attention but cannot take blame for their actions when their narcissism (and drawing attention to your flaws rather than working with them is exactly that) causes the team to fail, so often leave. Games mastering is almost management training, so I'd recommend everyone try it at least once if only to learn how to try and encpurage a smooth-running team from a lot of jagged parts.

Anonymous said...

Actually the guys from HS I played D&D with in the 80s all went on to become pillar of society types. The guy who introduced us was a pastor's kid who went on to be valedictorian and an engineer. Some of us were jocks, some not, but we all enjoyed playing D&D with the rank humour that went with it.

I still have a picture from May 1987 of the last time we were all together right before HS graduation to finally finish a gruelling campaign the lasted 2 years. Great guys. All went on to lead and start their own careers and families. One of them died suddenly 2 years ago.

Good memories.

Anonymous said...

This is one of the fucking dumbest things I've ever read. You're not some fucking arbiter who gets to choose who can and cannot play the game, the people you mentioned in your story were having fun, which is what they were there to do. If you don't like that, you will eventually find a group of individuals that do cater to your play style. But you can do that without giving abuse to people with mental illnesses or those who struggle with gender identity (how does that affect you anyway).

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure where your knowledge on autism, asperger's or other mental anomalies/deficiencies is laying at, but:

1 - There is literally no 'image' of what a certain deficiency defines. There's patterns, but everyone has an entirely different set of symptoms, struggles or capabilities while they all fall under the same diagnosis. From what I have read it seems your blog lacks actual research on this aspect and more bias about your local and/or affected surroundings.
2 - Diagnostics of autism/aspergers have never lacked the capability of strategy at all. Au contraire, people with this even plan VERY ahead, further than often even necessary. People with autism don't lack the capability to strategize, it's tactics that they struggle with. Micromanagement that requires spontaneous or instantaneous response, because confrontation with these matters is what they lack. This comes from personal experiences on many, many cases I've seen personally in my life.
3 - People with autism often struggle to socialize. Yes, this is true, but no, this is not in its entirity, nor is it permanently. Only a portion (see: 'vocal majority effect') of it, which is the most notable trait of identifying autism/aspergers. But this also does not mean it cannot be overcome. To this portion of people, personal confrontation that is literally just social contact, comes over like a phobia. They're afraid something might happen (even when nothing is at bay), and so evade any progress on learning to for a long while. It's the longest bridge to overcome in comparison to others, but definetly not permanently.
4 - Who the fuck ever demanded you that you only play a certain version of Dungeons and Dragons? Plenty of people still play 3.5e or pathfinder, and there's nothing wrong with that.

I have a very deep pity of the samples that have been present in your modern day surroundings, that shape this image of autism that you're trying to portray here. It lacks facts or research, and shows more bias because like you said, what you experience is spoiled by fakes. It indeed is sad that people do effort to fake this, but that does not mean the actual group is like that at all. I suggest you to get out of your 'black and white' world, do some more research in what autism and asperger's actually involves and limits you to, before finding a scapegoat for your personal distaste of development on an unrelated matter just because it doesn't appeal to you (anymore).

Raging Owlbear said...

Congratulations on writing the dumpster-fire shit-post of the year. “Asshole Consulting” couldn’t be more appropriately named.

Anonymous said...


The Phantom said...

"But there is a much larger segment of the population that this real-vs-faking mental illness plays out, and that is the two most popular mental illnesses to have today - Autism and Aspergers."

First of all, Aspergers IS autism. Just the high functioning version.

Second, Aspergers/autism is not a mental -illness-. Those people are perfectly healthy, and their minds work differently from "Normal."

Third, people with Aspergers can indeed be quite annoying due to being blind to social cues. They're not fucking with you, they just don't see the signals you are making. Like, at all. Blind people can also be annoying, with the stumbling and the not seeing the street signs and the traffic lights that are right there as plain as day.

Fourth, and finally, you think Rules Guy -wants- to be like that? Not likely. He just -is- like that, whether he likes it or not, and whether he goes to therapy for it or not. That's how his brain works. Maybe cut the guy some slack, eh?

People with Aspergers put up with a lot of crap from Normals. At school, at work, at home, it never really stops. There's always some fucker up in our face saying "what is wrong with you?!" It makes us kinda hostile, usually. There's nothing wrong with us, this is how we are.

We also invent most of the shit that runs the modern world, so there's that. said...

Wow... sounds like you got the short end of the stick. I've played a fair amount of d&d and not once had an experience with anyone you're claiming is ruining the game. I disagree with the majority of what you said about mental illness, however I do agree with the sentiment of mental illness being faked is a problem. And even then, d&d drew those people who were considered "outcasts" to it. It still does, but the so called "outcasts" have changed.

Also, "Whatever the societal symptoms are of these mental-illness-fakers, the rest of us sane and healthy people are forced to walk around the eggshells they've laid out before society. And if we don't, they will throw a temper tantrum. They will be offended, file reports, file complaints, drag you in front of an HR/Title IX circus court, all of which is arguably the only thing they have in life - to perceive CONSTANT offense and oppression, allowing them to masturbate and wallow in their self-created victimhood, while "fighting the evil injustices" of society, which is at the core of every pathetic SJW in existence."

While yes there are shitty people who do this, you spin it like you even say hello and they go in 100% of the time without fail. Theres an old adage, "bad news sells" and it really does. Dont like whoever you like, but dont say that some people you've encountered - key word some - are ruining an entire game. That's like saying that everyone who leans right is a nazi or that everyone who leans left is antifa. I'm not saying that people cant ruin d&d for others, I'm just saying that you cant blame an entire group for the actions of a few members.

Anonymous said...

Ah yes, NERDS. The one bullied, harassed, beaten up, cajoled, insulted, tread upon, pitied, and disenfranchised group of people that today's victimization culture of defeat left behind.

And we're better for it!

Anonymous said...

Take a shower, dude.

Autoguy said...

Celebrity D&D is part of the problem. I was shocked to hear my very-long-time friends/gaming buddies talk with enthusiasm about watching OTHER people play D&D on youtube. Every gamer in the world wants that gig, and it's part of the reason for the decline in RPG's - everyone is practicing for it. As somebody commented above, teach your friends to RPG, don't look for random gamers to become friends with.

Anonymous said...

Re people faking mental illness, don't forget the role that educational accommodations laws of the last 25 years have had in incentivizing this sort of sophistry by people since their formative years. Stories are legion about parents of unruly kids using false ADD and ADHD diagnoses to take their kids out of the discipline track at school and put them into a protected status whereby the child's anti-social and disruptive behavior is cast as a symptom of a larger mental issue and entitles the child and parent to special treatment (i.e., spending of $$$ resources) by the local school. Once a special case, always a special case, particularly if it gets you a more lenient set of standards in life with which you have to comply.

Second, Aaron, there's really no excuse for playing D&D, even if you are the smartest person in the room and can see all the foibles of your fellow participants. The fact that you are (or see yourself as) the outlier of the group should tell you something about the group in general. Take up hiking or another worthwhile hobby that doesn't have the social stigma of being the redoubt of geeks and castoffs.

Anonymous said...

Look, I've been playing FRP games like D&D since the early 1970s... When my first DM received his 1st edition copy of "Greyhawk" air mail from Lake Geneva, WI a few sessions into our first campaign. And it has *always* been the case that the game lives and dies by the chemistry between the players and the DM. A chemistry that generally takes time (often years) to develop....and is best started not around the game, but between friends of shared backgrounds, interests, worldviews, and beliefs. Pickup games are *exceptionally* problematic....because you are relying upon random strangers to be compatible with your vision of open-ended storytelling. While that kind of lightning can happen, it's nothing that I would bet upon. In the nearly 50 years I've been doing this, I can count the number of good pickup games that I've been involved in on the fingers of one hand... And the best involved a game designer (DM: Dave Hargrave - Arduin Grimore, etc.) at a national gaming convention with some pretty experienced self-selected participants with shared interests.

Generally, if I wanted to do "pickup" gaming, I'd stick to closed-end rules set gaming....not generally FRP. And if if I'm really being cynical, I'd first choose a cooperative board game, where the players try to win against the game system (rather than head-to-head competition) like Eldritch Horror, Pandemic, Dead of Winter, or Burgle Bros.... Because if a group can't work together and have fun beating an abstract game system, rarely can they successfully have fun doing open-ended gaming.

Helpy the Helping Stick said...


You need to look elsewhere - here in Austin, there's no shortage of good gaming going on.

JRH, esq. said...

Laughing at the "well I never" crowd chiming in with their "you clearly don't understand X because of this stuff." He's sharing a personal experience and formulating a theory as to why it was so. That's interesting and all you dorks can do is try to make him stop being interesting because "muh knowledge, let me show you it." Seriously, wander off somewhere else and let the functional folks talk about stuff.

Also, you excuse-making folks are literally proving Aaron's point: "Being ill" is a path to power in today's society that has rendered a significant number of people unable to function with others. Whether the illness in question is legitimate, learned behavior, or faked is IRRELEVANT. That means disputing the specifics of Aaron's knowledge regarding any one of these three factors as if it's determinative and/or makes you "win" is similarly pointless.

DeepThought said...

Some people are butt hurt by truth.

Pulp Herb said...


Also, get into a gamr run at someone's home. I only play at a store to try out people for a home game anymore.

David Gudeman said...

I'd like to suggest some alternative causes of the problem that you might want to consider:

* The bad players were always around; you just didn't run into them because you were lucky.
* The proportion of bad players is higher today because there are so many on-line video games and shows that compete with the adventure-seeking audience, so RPGs filter for the socially needy much more than before.
* You are less impatient with the bad players now than before because you have more options, and because you are less patient, you notice the bad behavior more.
* You were the jerk, not the other players, because you had a particular image of what a D&D game should look like, and they had a different image, and their images is just as valid as yours.

DaremoKamen said...

My youngest sister, who got a degree in social work and worked as first a school counselor and then a hospital counselor has told me that nowadays I would be diagnosed as 'autism spectrum' in school. I mentioned this to a woman I work a convention with who is about ten years younger than me and she told me I was lucky that I was old enough that they hadn't done that. That they had diagnosed her as that in school and started 'treating' her with drugs and that she was way more f'd up on the drugs than she was before, and it was years before she got back to being even as good as she was before they started 'helping' her.

Luke said...

I still play D. & D. 2nd Edition. I do so almost entirely solo, because I work 1000 miles from home on oil rigs. For about 5 years back in the 1980s, I DMed campaigns that played at least once a week, generally getting up to about 21st level characters before starting over @ 1st level; every Thursday night was our usual. It was a group of over 90% guys (the females never lasted, being clearly there for the guys), most of whom had/went on to get STEM degrees, mostly M.S. level. (I have Geology B.S. and M.S. degrees myself.)

Among the achievements I was mildly proud of was I came up with at least 7 new character classes, that were well-balanced and reasonably popular, while the original classes were still widely played.

Oh, and I'm married with four children, and had a double-digit # of women during my wild days.

Make Itso said...

The problem is you went to a meetup group. They're usually the people that have been kicked out of the more serious DnD groups. The goal at the meetup is to socialize/have fun/show off and not necessarily play the game. D&D is just the excuse.
You might have more luck at one of the Cons that have a DnD session. The DM's that usually volunteer for those tend to be of higher caliber and, with the time crunch, move the game along. From there you should get leads on groups that are serious about DnD. Or find out who is managing the DnD session and ask them where to find good groups. A lot of them are organizers for the regional DnD. (My kid has volunteered to help run these sessions at one of the larger Cons)
My adult kids have found groups that they play with regularly and seem to make the game play v. socializing work for them. And some of the players "leave" when they piss off the group too much or can't deal with another's life choices/politics.
Personally, I get more of a kick out of politics as the range of characters is "Fascinating".

prof_x said...

I think these people had something else, not autism or Asperger's. Perhaps narcissism. Maybe with a side helping of depression or something. But it may also be that they just have not learned, or been taught, or care, to have basic manners and consideration for others.

So, narcissists, or just brats? Or is there a difference?

I do think you are definitely on the right track about the popularity of mental illnesses. Every other mixed-up person you met used to have depression, then it was being bipolar, then it was ADD/ADHD. Now anyone who is deeply unhappy is supposed to wonder whether they are some flavor of trans, or a/a. Some other trendy mental problem will come along in 5-10 years, I'm sure, leaving people with actual autism, Asperger's, or gender dysphoria to deal with their problems without the hype.

I hope those people you met do better at handling their real lives than they do at playing D&D.

SMSgt Mac said...

Ehh. To be fair, D&D deserved it for what it did to real commercial wargames.

Time was, I could walk into a game store and and there'd be:

The old fat (balding, with a ponytail) guy with a coffee thermos who knew every bit of weapons trivia from the Roman era through WW2.
The short-haired ROTC kid.
The also obese "rules" guy who knew the rules of (insert game here) inside and out and would flaunt this "talent."(just reading the rules drove 90% of potential customers to just buy Risk or Battleship and walk out--reality is hard to model)
The guy who stank ran the store.
No token nerd girl of any measure of attractiveness.
And a smattering miscellany of rank and file history buffs, of which from time to time a smattering of those were very fine-looking females.

Let's not even get into how the rise in D&D contributed to the demise the SF book section, and gave rise to Fantasy/SF as mongrel genre.

Unknown said...

Rude isn't a disability.
Pervasive Developmental Delay--Autism is.

A child in my family actually has autism. She's 15, wears diapers, communicates through limited sign language, and generally has the mentally of a three-year-old.
You'll never have to worry about her playing D&D, and she's certainly better company than the antisocial individuals you had the misfortune to encounter.

Jacob Matthew said...

Man, do yourself a favor and don't Google "X Card" or "Lines and Veils". You haven't even scratched the surface of how bad the hobby has gotten and how much it caters to the special snowflakes. But it makes sense though. D&D is a game for ten-year-olds. Adventure gaming like D&D was supposed to be the stepping stone into actual roleplaying games, in the same way that teeball is the stepping stone into baseball, and Harry Potter is a stepping stone into fantasy literature.
The problem is, most people get onto the stepping stone and then aren't capable of growing up enough to take the next step. All of these things cater to the Lowest Common Denominator in order to drive sales and people mistake popularity for quality.

Joe Richards said...

enjoyed your post as always. I might have gone along with ADHD as a fake illness, but not sure I can accept that for autism. (not going to comment on aspergers as I know nothing.) would have been better as two posts. one on fake illnesses, one on the D&D scene.

I have played in a lot of gaming groups, and there are always some socially awkward people. I think they are even more concentrated in the D&D world. they are attracted to the make believe perhaps because they are unhappy with their reality. my experience with socially awkward people is that if they become part of a group for an extended time, they can become less awkward as the group applies pressure on the most awkward behavoirs and because these people do ultimately want to fit into the group, they stop or limit the things they are doing that are annoying. But I agree this would not be worth it for a pick up D&D game.

On to D&D. I can't imagine a pick up game of D&D would ever be that much fun in the first place as it takes a while multiple sessions for everything to gel. Anyway, I played in the late '70's. I have the rules in little paper back booklets, so I am guessing 1st edition. (yes I am freaking ancient) No one had books, we didn't use figures, the DM had a table or two but it was all just talk and the occassional dice roll. The DM made it all up as it went. We had quite a bit of fun with that, and since we had no rules, we didn't have a rules lawyer, though often some clever reasoning with the DM before he made a final decisions. So, I didn't really like the direction with the multiple editions, supplements and all that as a money making venture, and I suspect it sapped all the imagination out of it as well. I have not played much since the olden days, but suspect I would prefer playing the way it used to be done.

Anonymous said...

Attractive people are seldom on Tinder, good gamers are seldom wandering around doing meetups.

Vader999 said...

The main point of games like Dungeons and Dragons is not to play pretend as if they were dumb weeaboo cosplayers in an anime convention, but to work together. One guy will be good with melee attacks. Another will be good at healing or casting spells. Yet another will be good with the bow, and another player would be good at stealth and unlocking things. Why? Because each player is a key part of the team and is good at one thing, and he/she will have to help the other teammates when the time comes for them to use their skills. The melee guy will protect the team when the bad guys bum-rush them, the bowman will snipe enemies with long range attacks, the spellcaster will cast healing spells to heal the team or offensive spells to weaken the enemy, and the stealth/thief character will open doors and chests for the team or use their sneak to assassinate key targets. It's a cooperative game, not a game where you just play pretend. The fact that many wannabe RPG-players forget this fact is what bothers me.

Kris said...

Dude, you sound like the worst kind of asshole to try to play D&D with.

Anonymous said...

This dude obviously was going to groups where people there all knew each other and had a good time, and he was the one who made it awkward because he felt sad and left out. No idea what that has to do with autism.

I'd love to read a blog post from one of the "rank and file nerds" who had this insufferable old fart from out of town crash their D&D game.

Anonymous said...

I have ADHD. I was diagnosed when I was 2 1/2 years old, according to my mom. I really have most if not all the symptom, and I really stick out like a sore thumb. I have lapses in depression, yet I have managed to play in DnD Adventurer's League groups for a year. It's certainly possible to have good fun with decent people offline. Perhaps you so happened to have bad luck in meeting players who didn't gel well with your personality. I hope you can give DnD another chance in the future.