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Role Playing (Games)

10 Business Lessons I Learned From Playing D&D 257

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the always-the-necromancer-never-the-bride dept.
Esther Schindler writes "Those hours you spent rolling dice in your youth weren't wasted according to my 10 Business Lessons I Learned from Playing Dungeons & Dragons. Playing fantasy role playing games did more than teach the rules of combat or proper behavior in a dragon's lair. D&D can instruct you in several skills that can help your career. Such as: 'One spell, used well, can be more powerful than an entire book full of spells' and 'It's better to out-smart an orc than to fight one.'" What other wisdom have you gained from your time sequestered with various RPGs?
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10 Business Lessons I Learned From Playing D&D

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  • Real Life (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sopssa (1498795) * <sopssa@email.com> on Monday July 06, 2009 @04:22PM (#28599041) Journal

    To be honest, this seems a lot like just made to work out from D&D. These are pretty much general principles in life that apply everywhere, and hence its not a surprise that they apply in *roleplaying* games aswell.

    If you take it further, the same general principles that also works in business also works with women, or for that matter, any stuff. This can be something along the lines "dont be afraid to be yourself and be convinent when saying your say, because it works a lot better". It works the same way in RPG's, real life, women, business and for that matter in everything. Its just general human philosophy.

    Like said, RPG games tend to reflect real life a lot. You just take different character. That's why the stuff is pretty much the same.

    • Re:Real Life (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Feyshtey (1523799) on Monday July 06, 2009 @04:42PM (#28599349)
      Or maybe the author was just having a little light-hearted fun for fun's sake. Kinda like when you play an RPG.

      Something I learned from D&D : Just because the NPC has 10 minutes of prepared dialogue doesn't mean that the NPC actually has anything of interest to say. Maybe he's just wasting your time. And maybe he's doing it on purpose...
      • by 2names (531755) on Monday July 06, 2009 @04:59PM (#28599621)
        I learned that you NEVER, NEVER, NEVER try to put a Portable Hole into a Bag of Holding...
        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward

          The fact that this is was modded informative says a lot about the Slashdot Community.

    • These are pretty much general principles in life that apply everywhere....

      Sure. Just like, "Everything I really needed to know about life I learned from playing Tetris [geoffreylandis.com]"

    • Re:Real Life (Score:5, Insightful)

      by prefec2 (875483) on Monday July 06, 2009 @05:34PM (#28600075)

      I would say people act braver in RPG than in real life, because most of the stuff you can do in a game is beyond your normal capabilities. And even more important: If you die you can start all over. Beside a depression that your character died, nothing of consequence happens. IRL you have to face the real consequences. If you trick your chef or a customer, this will come back to you. And all behavior patterns (protocols in certain situations) can be learned IRL even better than in RPGs. This is because RPGs are only a model of a world, which is beside some fancy features as dull as the real one, but only a model. The real thing is much more complex, and challenging, and rewarding. Think of it: You collect 1000000 of currency X in game. However, IRL using the same time to collect 100000 $/EUR/Pound would be more rewarding. And think of real relationships vs. RPG-relationships.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      So isn't it good to ***play*** and work out what Real Life holds for you ***in the future*** rather than wait until you get there and work out the rules?

      What is play for but to try out the rules of Real Life?

      And as for nizo's comment later, I gained a hot (if slightly older) girlfriend at D&D. Didn't stay, but that wasn't D&D's fault.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      Don't forget THE most important lesson: When in doubt---cast chain lightning.
    • 'It's better to out-smart an orc than to fight one.'

      If you take it further, the same general principles that also works in business also works with women...

      You must know my ex-girlfriend.

  • by nizo (81281) * on Monday July 06, 2009 @04:23PM (#28599045) Homepage Journal

    What other wisdom have you gained from your time sequestered with various RPGs?

    D&D: the more you played the less likely you were to get laid.

    (Queue up the, "but I only gamed with hot vixens back in high school!" responses)

    Oh and I also learned that playing D&D makes you sarcastic and bitter.

    • I learned that the dice were out to get me, and even when they weren't, it was a trap laid to get me to believe in them before they could take me down.

      Hence why I play poker. At least then I can blame the guy across the table and secretly plot his demise.

    • Nope, never played with any 'vixens' and the vixens I did know had no knowledge about my gaming habits. ;)
    • by sbeckstead (555647) on Monday July 06, 2009 @05:13PM (#28599791) Homepage Journal
      Not getting laid makes you sarcastic and bitter, playing D&D is just a bonus.
    • Re:What I learned (Score:5, Interesting)

      by OctaviusIII (969957) on Monday July 06, 2009 @05:20PM (#28599869) Homepage
      Can't say I ever played with vixens (at least, none that were single), but I can say that I was seduced by a D&D playing siren.

      Actually, D&D taught me how to interact with my fellow males. I'd largely forgotten in high school, and my college years were significantly richer for the extremely intelligent, down-to-earth and wise people I had around the gaming table.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by hurting now (967633)

      I also learned that playing D&D makes you sarcastic and bitter.

      Really? No shit.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by The Pirou (1551493)
      You never learned anything if you never moved from tabletop to Live Action Role-Play:

      Kill real fake monsters.

      Earn fake money.

      Make people love you with fake money.

      Attract whorecraft-esque gamer girls.

      Repeat.

      And secondly - Never assault any group with the battle-cry of 'I am the Master of Flowers! Fear my fists of fury!" Even if you can back it up you're just going to be all sweaty and nasty when it's over. 'Tis better to walk the other way and know that your enemy will probably die a painf
    • by Abreu (173023)

      My wife also plays D&D, thank you very much... in fact, it is one of our "together" activities

  • It was a hard lesson, but I realized, if I am focused on making money and running a business, I make more money that when I'm focused on killing orcs and playing games. Seriously.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by vux984 (928602)

      It was a hard lesson, but I realized, if I am focused on making money and running a business, I make more money that when I'm focused on killing orcs and playing games. Seriously.

      But are you having more fun?

      If so, then carry on.

      If not, then why are you doing it? If making more money isn't making you happier, then you are wasting your time.

      • But, if I don't make enough money to pay my ISP, how can I play my online games?

        • by vux984 (928602)

          But, if I don't make enough money to pay my ISP, how can I play my online games?

          Then you aren't having "more fun" and that's clearly not a good strategy either.

          The point is you need to work enough to maximize your fun. Working more than that lowers your quality of life. As does working less.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Feyshtey (1523799)
      Let us know when you figure out that if your life is all focused on running a business and making money, it eventually occurs to you that you havent really lived life at all.
    • by Thuktun (221615)

      It was a hard lesson, but I realized, if I am focused on making money and running a business, I make more money that when I'm focused on killing orcs and playing games. Seriously.

      And trying to rush blindly into either of these without a balance of wisdom, intelligence, strength, dexterity, and charisma is a bad idea.

  • by elrous0 (869638) * on Monday July 06, 2009 @04:29PM (#28599143)
    Well, I didn't spend all those years playing Dungeons and Dragons and not learn a little something about courage.
    • What I learned is that when your small, not terribly dangerous character happens to be the only one standing up on the ridgeline this turn taking a shot at that humongous monster (while everybody else is recharging their spells or reloading their weapons)... you die.
    • Well, I didn't spend all those years playing Dungeons and Dragons and not learn a little something about courage.

      Best X-Files episode ever.

  • by rgviza (1303161) on Monday July 06, 2009 @04:30PM (#28599159)

    Always try to work with people you already know.
    Playing as a team works better than being out for yourself.

    • by prefec2 (875483)

      Oh I learned the same thing IRL. Including the following:
      Don't kill your neighbor.
      Drive safely.
      Be nice to your teammates, but do not become an apple-polisher or teams idiot it won't help you and the team.
      A yes and, a team goes through different phases:
      a) You meet them the first time.
      b) You start working
      c) You start fighting
      d) hopefully you work it out
      e) you work perfectly with your colleges
      f) you release in time
      And don't push people. Their performance will suck. Its better when they want it or at least acce

  • Here is a good list of everything you will learn from RPGs: http://serpent231.tripod.com/cliche.shtml [tripod.com]
  • by Clueless Moron (548336) on Monday July 06, 2009 @04:32PM (#28599195)
    Stepping on a d4 hurts a hell of a lot more than stepping on a d20.
  • by rts008 (812749) on Monday July 06, 2009 @04:32PM (#28599199) Journal

    What other wisdom have you gained from your time sequestered with various RPGs?

    Always loot the corpse!

  • Wisdom (Score:3, Funny)

    by lavaforge (245529) on Monday July 06, 2009 @04:33PM (#28599223)

    What other wisdom have you gained from your time sequestered with various RPGs?

    No matter how clever the idea sounds, livestock never fixes anything.

  • by dmomo (256005) on Monday July 06, 2009 @04:37PM (#28599277) Homepage

    In a dungeon, I just wanna pull out my Dwarf's Double Blade Axe, lop the head off a goblin and escape with the gold. At work, I just wanna go into the php file, remove the fucking ampersand, roll it out and go home. Either one however, requires sign-off and verification from multiple parties.

    They'll try telling you that you "can't do that without creating a subversion branch first". Or "You can't do that without a level 6 Ring of Hurt".

    Either way, you're better off just going to Home Depot, buying a real axe and running down all the goblins that stand in your way.

    • Maybe there needs to be a rule 11.

      "When all you have is a Double Blade Axe, everything looks like a goblin"

  • In games you have a simplified version of reality, but the people behind them are real, so some interactions with them. Games rich enough where you have commerce, in fact a whole economy, politics, things that you can play with, but if you are involved enough in the game you must learn to do it well, with rules that work even in the real world.
    • by h2oliu (38090)

      To follow up on this, looking at problems from a variety of perspectives will help you understand it better.

      Walk through the problem as others might. It will help you produce a more useful solution.

  • I learned that Rust Monsters are as annoying as fuck.

    If I see one of those around my neighborhood, I am totally going to be ready for them. Eat Kevlar, motherfucker!

    Don't get me started about the Gelatinous Cubes.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      I learned that Rust Monsters are as annoying as fuck.

      That would teach you both about the importance of a maintenance schedule and the futilty of all work. Everything that we do will eventually wear out and crumble to dust.

      Or, put more poetically, "in spite of us, Nature wins."

  • Shopping for the right equiptment may take as much time as using it does, but it is well worth the effort.
  • What did I learn? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by mraudigy (1193551)
    Don't piss off the DM. Best life lesson ever.
  • Nothing new (Score:3, Insightful)

    by OrangeMonkey11 (1553753) on Monday July 06, 2009 @04:50PM (#28599499)
    These are all things that can be trace back to books written hundreds of years before our time. for example The Book of Five Rings and The Art of War, these two books have pretty much the blue print on problem solving. You can pretty much apply them to business, school, games, women, etc..
    • Re:Nothing new (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Ironica (124657) <`pixel' `at' `boondock.org'> on Monday July 06, 2009 @06:01PM (#28600379) Journal

      These are all things that can be trace back to books written hundreds of years before our time. for example The Book of Five Rings and The Art of War, these two books have pretty much the blue print on problem solving. You can pretty much apply them to business, school, games, women, etc..

      So what *you* learned from D&D is, pay attention to the lore... the answer is already there.

  • .. doesn't have a "save" feature like most CRPG's do. Think before you act. And, by the way, "talking" is acting...
  • In game, I found that it is best to: Always take the head. Merely because it looks dead doesn't mean it is.

    But in real life, I found that to be rather bad advice. Things that look dead generally are either dead or helpless - whether it is a creature or a company.

  • by Animats (122034) on Monday July 06, 2009 @05:01PM (#28599647) Homepage
    1. The little people are expendable. If you have to kill or lose a few thousand orcs or zombies, no prob. It's the major characters that matter.
    2. When in doubt, kill it. There are no noncombatants.
    3. The purpose of life is to acquire power. Self-explanatory.
    4. Having a thief around to steal from the little people is a useful asset. Grinding is for losers.
    5. The most aggressive player runs things. Just like high school.

    This is a losing strategy in real life, or even real war. (Roman saying: "The legion is not composed of heroes. Heroes are what the legion kills.")

  • by rubycodez (864176) on Monday July 06, 2009 @05:04PM (#28599681)

    "Family. Religion. Friendship. These are the three demons you must slay if you wish to succeed in business" -- Mr. Burns, The Simpsons

  • by Krishnoid (984597) * on Monday July 06, 2009 @05:06PM (#28599713) Journal
    Alignment [d20srd.org] has worked as a good first pass on identifying the behavior of myself and coworkers. It helped me separate the axes of
    • good vs. evil
    • law -- e.g., bureaucrat/corporate citizen vs. disorder -- bending or violating the rules
    • neutrality -- just don't make waves, I don't care, or it's not important

    and gave me a starting point on 'measuring' motivations and tendencies. This in turn helped me predict behavior for various people in the workplace. If nothing else, it makes it obvious that people have motivations and tendencies along more than one axis; I then added on a 'radius' from true neutral and a 'strength/weakness' axis and it still serves me (albeit simplistically) in learning how to work with other people to get results.

    If absolutely nothing else, it gives me a common language and a starting point for identifying good and evil behavior that I can use in discussions with D&D-familiar wage slaves -- otherwise it sounds weird to use the word 'evil' to describe behavior in a world of moral relativism. Being able to back it up with a clear description helps. (Read from here [giantitp.com] on for the next 210 strips for a version with pictures).

  • ... it's easier to find a new DM than a new boss. Though unlike a boss, the Tinpot Dictator model of DM - the kind who doesn't listen to the players, who's "my way or the highway" with the rules, who tells you can always find another game if you don't like how he does things - is more likely to eventually change his tune if his players are unhappy.

  • How to Barter ! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by cbelt3 (741637) <cbelt AT yahoo DOT com> on Monday July 06, 2009 @05:13PM (#28599785) Journal

    Seriously. Growing up in the US suburbs, the concept of 'bartering' is foreign, and considered impolite at best, and offensive at worst, to the point where you will be banned from a shop for it. Fast forward a decade after my D&D experience and I found myself alone for half a year in a middle eastern country. And shopping in the bazaar for supplies. Almost immediately the bartering skillset I had learned playing D&D for the better part of five years raced to the forefront. While spells and armor were not available (but automatic weapons were) , I still made out just fine, and never had to roll the D20 I kept in my pocket. Yes, I still have that talisman some 30 years later, it's a useful decision making tool.

  • by Krishnoid (984597) * on Monday July 06, 2009 @05:15PM (#28599815) Journal

    What other wisdom have you gained from your time sequestered with various RPGs?

    For one thing, that wisdom is different than intelligence. I'm still not sure what the difference is, but at the time I read the rules, I assumed that someone wiser (or is that smarter) than me had written them, so he probably knew what he was talking about.

    • Wisdom is the sum of all the facts, tidbits, trivia, and other things you remember. How many factoids have you got in the tank? The physical analog would be constitution, sort of.

      Intelligence is how quickly you can react to a situation mentally and use the parts of the problem against itself to come up with a solution. Mental dexterity, if you will.

      So yes, IQ tests and puzzle questions check your wisdom -- not your intelligence -- since they bascially test "have you seen this problem before?"

      • Wisdom is the sum of all the facts, tidbits, trivia, and other things you remember. How many factoids have you got in the tank?

        I think you're confusing wisdom with experience. You can memorize any number of facts and still be an insufferable know-it-all. I've always looked at it like this: Intelligence is the ability to figure thinks out and think quickly. Experience/skill is what you know, and wisdom is knowing when to (or more often not to) do something, behave in a certain way, etc. It is easy to con

    • by ais523 (1172701)
      In D&D at least, and quite possibly in real life, Wisdom implies being a good judge of character and good at noticing things, whereas Intelligence is more about memory and working things out.
  • by Propaganda13 (312548) on Monday July 06, 2009 @05:21PM (#28599893)

    Cheat, cheat, cheat then stick to your story if you get caught.

  • That all my fellow troubleshooters coworkers are all expendable. To spy on everyone. Use information to turn in communists. Keep your laser(pointer) ready.
  • *I* know what a gazebo [brunchma.com] is.

  • I got most of my financial knowledge from "Corporate Shadowfiles": put options, selling short, commercial paper, hostile takeovers, the works.

    And I still have to acquire a multinational corp to put that into practice :-(

  • That if I could trade a piece of my soul for the newest hardware, I would.....
  • Poster claims she and her husband were hired by a DM in one D&D game they played a few months in.

    Never in all my D&D and role play games career, did I ever get offered a job. Sure I did a lot of problem solving and followed the same business advice in the original article. I even listed role play games as a hobby on my resume. I got my jobs by hard work at other jobs and building up a good reputation by writing reliable source code that optimized memory and ran faster than other programmers, plus I

  • by tyroneking (258793) on Monday July 06, 2009 @06:03PM (#28600405)

    ... were my group's main games - so we learnt all about being an expendable clone (gives you the right attitude when working in an consultancy firm), living (and dying) at the inexplicable whim of the Computer (got me used to designing and developing big-iron ERP software) or power crazed Ultra Violets (helped me understand the motives of consultancy managers - i.e. they don't have motives, they are actually mad with power and fresh coffee).
    We also learnt a lot about unspeakable horror (which has helped me cope with the inevitable fallout when what a customer originally told you they want turns out to be something so wildly different and pointless that it makes grown men cry), inevitable loss of sanity (which usually happens when I find out what BAs and developers are actually doing), strange incantations that will raise you-know-who from his icy palace in the North Pole (I use a similar technique to get senior management to tell BAs and developers off for whatever they were doing) and all manner of spells and chants to excise minor minions of you-know-who in return for a minor loss of sanity (which I use to rid clients of big-5 leeches in return for never getting work from them again).
    So yeah, I learnt a lot.
    Also, I have nightmares (huge insect-like creatures with flashing beacons for heads, floating drums with tentacles, Thor, people dressed up in coloured overalls waving guns in my direction, a big eye in my PC monitor, and of course, a really weird dream where I take over a library by producing a small card voucher).

  • - The right shoes can be a weapon if you have the appropriate melee skill.

    - Rockerboys are mostly just good for "creating a distraction."

    - You may have come up with a great narrative, but you need the numbers to back it up. (I'm a grant writer for a living; I can write up a great proposal, but if the budget doesn't work, it's irrelevant. When I tried my hand as a GM the first time, I had a good storyline, but hadn't actually specced out my NPCs at all, so combat fell apart.)

  • that the rules of business are much like the rules of an RPG simulation. Some can be bent, others can be broken.

    Oh shit, no. Sorry, I learned that watching The Matrix.

  • Better than the lessons I learned playing Diplomacy... How to lie, cheat, and swindle your best friends to their face, then band with my enemy to crush them and take their lands... So I might be that much stronger when I go for my true enemies...

    Though the lessons one learns LARPing also throws in how to tread softly, gain confidence and outtalk your enemies, to make friends, how to fix 'Anything' with duct tape, that you are not paranoid if everyone really is out to get you, and adds a good amount of runn
  • We were playing "Grim", where the PCs are children transported into a dark fairytale world. (Just about the first thing that happened to us was that Hansel and Gretel tried to eat us.) This is a world full of Big Bad Wolves, evil princesses etc, and we were just children. I very quickly developed an aphorism which proved very useful:

    "A problem run away from is a problem solved."

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