The Definitive List of Super Valuable Real Life Lessons Learned at the Role Playing Table.

edited April 2018 in Make Stuff!
Let’s make this!

I’ll get the ball rolling:

Life lesson #1. When you encounter an obstacle on the path, stab it. And keep stabbing it until it pukes up gold!!!


  • edited April 2018
    Life lesson #2: Choices well made in life aren’t the ones that make you richer, they are the ones that make life itself richer.
  • Life lesson #3: The more fit you are, the less attractive you are. But that's fine because nobody wants to be attractive. F*#% charisma.
  • Life lesson #3: Before entering a dragon's lair, make sure your DM is well fed.
  • edited April 2018
    Life lesson #4: When traveling, don’t trust the bartender, no matter how buxom. She is almost certainly in the employ of an evil wizard or part of a secret cult under the sway of a drow prince or an Ilithid.
  • Life lesson #6: Don’t judge a murder hobo just because her battle axe drips with the blood of your townspeople. She may well have a thinly sketched backstory that justifies her horrendous actions.
  • edited April 2018
    Life lesson #7: Never reach into a giant cube shaped jello, no matter how enticing the Mithral chain mail embedded in it...
  • edited April 2018
    Life lesson #7.5: You don’t get to choose your campaign.
  • Life lesson #9: What doesn’t kill you gives you experience points.
  • Life lesson #10: Never go anywhere without 7 days of food and 50 feet of rope in your backpack.
  • edited April 2018
    Life lesson #11: Beauty may indeed be in the eye of the Beholder, but for The love of Lolth, don’t look!!!!
  • Life Lesson #12: be a fan of all the PCs in your life. Find something to appreciate, praise, encourage, admire in all of the tremendously and fascinatingly flawed people you encounter in the role playing game called Life.
  • Life Lesson #13: Explore.
  • Life Lesson #14: “listen, incorporate, build, listen more. Do what feels right, spontaneously. ” (from Play With Intent by Holter and Care Boss)
  • You are going to need some basic math skills to level up.
  • Life lesson #16: having the right equipment for an encounter is important, but havimg the wherewithal to change the entire narrative to suit your toolset can be far more effective!
  • Life “hack” #17: If you bring a knife to a gunfight, remember to have another character in your party in position with their sniper rifle!
  • The difference between old and new school D&D can be summed up in a 10’ pole.
  • bosses give more XP than minions but it's more satisfactory to kill a bunch of the later.
  • Jeff, that's deep! Nice.
  • #20: Communicate about the relevant factors before committing to an action.
  • #21: Play to find out!
  • I like that, davey.
  • #22: Don't bemoan your failures. Tragedy makes for an interesting backstory, hypocrisies and mistakes give you an opportunity to learn and grow. When you roll snake eyes, don't worry about it too much: it might suck in the moment, but it's an opportunity for you to mark Experience.

  • #23: Don't touch other people's dice without permission.
  • #24 If you want to teach your kids basic accounting, planning, and history. Have the King tell them to design and build a castle. :-)
  • edited January 2019
    #25 When faced with a fast developing situation and incomplete information that it is better to make a bad decision than make no decision at all.

    #26 Frequently there is no perfect solution, so make your decision and be prepared to deal with the consequences.
  • #26 bugs the heck out of some.
  • "Realism" in roleplaying games leads usually to frustrating real arguments, and only rarely to realistic fiction.
  • Hi @Lisa Padol!
    #26 bugs the heck out of some.
    I'm not sure I understand. I thought this was a list of "Super Valuable Real Life Lessons Learned at the Role Playing Table." This was a Real Life Lesson that I learned and applied very successfully in my life. Why would something that I learned and employed in my Real Life bug other people? I made no intimation that this applies to other people. It was just something very useful I learned about Real Life that I took away from my years of playing.


  • #26 bugs the heck out of some.
    I made no intimation that this applies to other people.
    Regardless, it does apply to other people, and it does bug the heck out of some!
  • I can tell you that it definitely bugs *designers*, for what it's worth... ;)
  • Hello,

    I must apologize if it seems that I'm being obtuse, but I promise everyone that I'm not trying to be. My father was a mechanical engineer for the aerospace industry for about 35 years. He told me many times that despite mission critical nature of the projects he worked on there was never a perfect solution. Everything required tradeoffs. This included rocket systems, guidance systems, airplanes, etc. You designed until you got something that worked well but perfection was never achieved. Even in manufacturing one designs for allowable tolerances of error.

    While I was told this I did not internalize it until I was confronted with imperfect situations repeatedly in game and learned how to roll with them. I was able to bring this learned skill over into my vocation as a set lighting technician wherein my work improved as I learned to improvise workable but imperfect solutions which resulted in improved work flow and vastly reduced stress levels.

    One does the best that one can and that's all one can do. I'm having some difficulty understanding why that is controversial.

    If others believe that operating in "Real Life" is going to yield perfection, more power to them, but I think they will be setting themselves up for a world of hurt.


  • I read "bugs the heck out of some" as suggesting that this lesson (that there is rarely a perfect solution to a given problem) is a difficult one to take to heart (in games and in life). It's a valid lesson, but not always an easy one to internalize.
  • edited January 2019
    lorenzogatti's #27 got overlooked, and is quite true. Topped with a big confusion between "realist" (as if it existed, wrt reality) and "realistic" (following the XIXth movement, gritty, warty and all).

    Same here. about #26 : mineral clarity is a wishful illusion (3:51). We're in over our heads into complexity.

    #28 What you want to get across about your character, people catch maybe 10%. That's IRL communication for me. :blush:
  • Jay,

    I took it the same way as @moconnor: it's something that is true, but that is often frustrating. I agree with you that it's often a good idea to keep it mind!

    From what I can tell, no one is disagreeing with you! Saying "that bugs some people" is (at least in my reply) a confirmation that you are entirely correct, but that this "life lesson" is a difficult one to learn or accept.
  • From what I can tell, no one is disagreeing with you! Saying "that bugs some people" is (at least in my reply) a confirmation that you are entirely correct, but that this "life lesson" is a difficult one to learn or accept.
    Yep, that's what I was saying.

  • To all the above who took the time to patiently respond to my questions, a deep and grateful, "Thank you!" My apologies for my misunderstanding.


  • FWIW, I actually often find that even people who are willing to accept life's imperfections in the real world have trouble dealing with the same in the context of RPGs. It's a classic CA mismatch type situation: the GM is presenting dilemmas with no right answer, the player wants to "win."

    For me, probably the single most valuable life lesson I've learned from RPGs would be not to avoid conflict. All those early Forgite games taught me that during a time in my life (moving from college into the "grown up" world) when I needed it most.
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