3 Job Skills I Gained While Playing Dungeons and Dragons

3 Job Skills I Gained While Playing Dungeons and Dragons

3 Job Skills I Gained While Playing Dungeons and Dragons

I have always enjoyed role playing and real time strategy games. As a kid, I played and replayed a number of great role-playing video games. The Legend of Zelda, Final Fantasy, and Shining Force were story-driven tales that paved and cemented my love for fantasy realms. As an adult, I have vacationed in the fictional worlds of Tolkien, Rowling, and Martin.

My experiences in Middle Earth and the Seven Kingdoms have prepared me for my most recent foray into nerddom: a bi-weekly game of Dungeon’s and Dragons. A few months ago I joined a group of co-workers who play an on-going game of D&D every Tuesday and Thursday.

During one of my weekly trips into the hidden labyrinth under the ruins of the Fortress of Bar Komthùsis, pronounced Kom-too-sis, my crew got into a discussion about how the skills players develop in D&D transfer to the business world. Now, this was not us talking about how to effectively use our lock picking skills to get into our bosses office or a bastard sword during a hostile takeover. Instead, we talked about how to effectively use the things we learned during our sessions to beef up our resumes.

The following post discusses eight important job skills you can develop while playing Dungeon’s and Dragons.


1. Research

The initial character creation is the most important part of any role playing game. To create a well-rounded character, you need to answer some very important questions. What does roll will your character fill? What is your play style? Where did your character grow up? How does your character like to dress?

These are all important questions that need answers. Some of these answers will come from within when a person creates their character. But others need to be looked up. For example, if you are playing a fighter, your backstory may directly affect you during the course of play. Were you a soldier or an adventurer, an assassin or a former slave?

To understand how each of these may eventually affect your gameplay, you will have to spend time researching. When I began playing Dungeons and Dragons a few months ago, I spent hours researching classes, races, skills, and feats. I talked to my fellow dungeoneers, as well as others who play. I read books and web pages, skimmed forums, and perused the official rule book.

In the end, I was able to craft a well-rounded character who is capable and fun to play.

The ability to effectively research is needed in the business world as well. Whether you’re looking into trends associated with your industry or on your team, those who know how to find information are the same people who can make well informed, thought-out decision.


2. Group Problem Solving

While traversing the Fortress of Bar Komthùsis, I found myself, and a small group of my compatriots, standing in front of a statue. After examining the area, we noticed that the statue was a little off. The stone dwarf stood atop a raised dais; his head raised proudly and his arms stretched out in front of him. His hands were oddly empty. On the platform where the dwarf stood, a manufactured whole was clearly visible.

What struck us about the statue was that it looked like it had moved. We noticed marks on the floor near the base of the monument. Looking at the empty hands, one of our group mentioned that it would be odd to construct a statue of a dwarf without weapons. We had recently discovered the Glaive Chaotic, a weapon of immense power, in a nearby room. And after some further inspection and heated discussion, we decided to place the glaive in the hands of the dwarven carving.

Nothing happened.

It only took us a few minutes to realize that the glaive’s handle fit perfectly in the hole at the feet of the image. As we placed the handle of the glaive in the hole, the statue made clicking sounds and moved to the side, revealing a new pathway for us to follow.

Thinking back on this experience, I can’t help but wonder how long it would have taken me to solve the puzzle of the statue by myself. I also wonder how long I spend on solving problems on my own and how much time I would save asking for another’s perspective.

Whether you work on a team or not, when you are struggling with a puzzling issue, ask someone you trust for their perspective on the issue. In my professional life, I have asked co-workers, managers, and even customers for their perspective on issues I’ve faced. With the exception of a few, each time I’ve asked for help, I’ve been able to come up with a solution that was better than anything I could have done on my own.


3. Communication

Short after figuring out the statue puzzle, my group became detained by gnomish border guards. Apparently we had wandered into their subterranean kingdom. Now, playing a hot-headed fighter, the last thing I wanted to do was admit guilt or deal with the repercussions of what that meant. So I spent the better part of our lunch game grappling and sparring with fairly peaceful gnomes who were just trying to protect their land.

Days later, I found out that these gnomes had been plagued by a floating tentacle monster and they mistook my party for that monster. Gnomes, am I right?

The takeaway from this experience is that eventually, my character stopped fighting and began talking. My group was able to offer our services in defense of the gnomes against this octopus monster.

In business, misunderstandings happen all the time. Sometimes, the gnomes we deal with are our clients; sometimes the gnomes are our co-workers. We do something akin to wandering into their territory and they get defensive. In these situations, the most important thing to remember is to talk it out.

There may be a tentacled monster that needs vanquishing before a positive can develop.

All in all, I have enjoyed my time playing Dungeons and Dragons. Not only do I feel like I better understand a cross-section of today’s American culture, I have also strengthened other workplace skills. I am more creating, better at working in teams, and my already phenomenal leadership skills have gotten that much better. So if you are looking to develop some professional skills in an unconventional way, consider joining a Dungeons and Dragons group.

Thaddaeus Brodrick
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Thaddaeus is the Quality and Education Team Lead in Boostability's Orem office, where he manages quality assurance and training. In addition to his work at Boostability, Thaddaeus is a freelance blogger who writes and manages the site GoingNerdy, which looks explores all things nerdy.