The Gassy Gnoll: Where would you be without gaming?

The Gassy Gnoll is not always a pessimistic ogre. Sometimes he’s downright cheerful. When you ask? Usually when he’s gaming!

It’s funny how even after 30 years, gaming still brings a smile to my face. Playing a role-playing game pulls numerous qualities together all at once – creativity and imagination, friends and fun, plus the combination of books, dice, and maps. Somehow this set of factors results in a perfect storm that 9 times out of 10 makes me happy. Go figure.

After three decades (or near enough, will be 30 years this fall), I thought it might be fun to look back to see all of the qualities that I attribute to my love of gaming… The list turned out to be longer than I expected. But when my list is done, I want to hear what your list looks like!

So here’s the list:

  • Though I had a love for reading long before I started gaming in the 7th grade, reading all those RPG books like Deities and Demigods, the Dungeon Master’s Guide, Monster Manual, Fiend Folio and others… These tomes led me to fantasy fiction, mythology, anthropology, history, and much more. I’m still exploring these disciplines today!
  • I’m a software developer during the day and recently started to use character development and role-playing as a tool to help with designing products. It’s a technique known as “persona-based development” and we’re using it to good effect to help us get inside the heads of some of our potential users. It gets us out of our own headspace where we already know how the tools work so we can use them with a fresh perspective and find issues before our customers do. I’m even giving a presentation at a conference about it in a couple of weeks and will mention D&D as an inspiring factor!
  • Then there’s the art of improvisation (which I don’t use nearly enough in my everyday life), the appreciation for a good story, and even the social skills that came out of gaming nearly every weekend for a few years…
  • There was the exploration of competition and conflict resolution in a safe environment as well as seeing the benefits of teamwork and collaboration… All of these skills have helped me in multiple aspects of my adult life.
  • And the appreciation for art in all its forms… black and white or color, computer-generated or hand-drawn, written, spoken, or performed… I may not have the talent to create much more than stick figures, but I can appreciate art I like when I see it. I’m hoping that my daughters, who both love to create, can continue to explore that love in the future.

Ultimately I’m ecstatic to have a hobby I love even after all this time. And now that I my kids are old enough to read and appreciate stories, I’m sharing my love for gaming with them. So far we’ve had a few sessions and they have enjoyed clearing out a couple of small dungeons of vermin… It will only get better with time. Building the next generation of geeks one session at a time!

So now it falls to you guys… What do you think you’ve achieved with a little help from gaming? I owe a lot to gaming and continue to use it to refresh my creative batteries. I don’t want to comprehend what I’d do without!

Share your thoughts in the comments!

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3 comments to The Gassy Gnoll: Where would you be without gaming?

  • Emily Vitori


    My love of model painting, my desire to draw and subsequential freelance illustration career, my dabbling in fantasy fiction writing, 80% of the friends I’ve had since high school, my relationship with my brother, finally getting to visit New Orleans, my love of Egyptian and Norse mythology… all of those things were because of gaming in one way or another.

    Without gaming I’d probablly also be seeing a therapist, as I use gaming as a safe way to handle my anger issues.

    • Fitz

      @Emily Vitori – Awesome. Love these kinds of stories. And I’m with you on the anger issues. Better to spend that $$ on game books than therapists. 🙂 Thanks for sharing!!

  • Emily Vitori

    Oh… and when I was a daycare teacher I used D&D as a tool to help other troubled kids express themselves too. I had a particularly rough group of kids that took to the game and used it as a way to express themselves creatively via monsters and maps, and (like myself) used it as a safe way to appease those violent tendencies.

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