Playing Dungeons & Dragons With ADHD
This blog post was inspired by Rin. Thanks for taking the time to reach out to me.
ADHD can be very frustrating. It’s sometimes difficult to feel “normal” because it seems like other people have it so easy or that things just come naturally to them. The world we live in wasn’t designed for people with ADHD, so it can be hard to navigate it.
Dungeons and Dragons is a very intimidating game when you look at it for the first time. There are thousands of pages of rules spread across dozens of books that cost hundreds of dollars. For someone that has trouble reading an article or a book all the way through, it just seems like an insurmountable wall of awful.
Here are a few secrets that may help you get over that wall of awful and get down to some serious fun playing D&D.
You don’t need ANY books.
Wait, what? … that’s right, you can get started with the basic rules PDF. The digital download is free and only 180 pages long.
80% of the rules don’t matter.
The rules are divided up into sections. You only need to read the rules that apply to your character. So basically, 80% of the rules aren’t important enough for you to worry about. Focus on just the sections that tell you how your character works. For beginners, I recommend going with a human fighter. Sounds kind of boring, but that will change once the fighting begins.
Character creation software will do most of the work for you.
Head over to the Dungeon Master’s Vault, a free site that will help you create characters based on the core D&D rules. There are a lot of sites like this, most of them cost a little to use, so I prefer this one for beginners.
You don’t need to buy dice.
Sounds crazy right? Well, if you have a smartphone, head over to your app store and download a free dice app. There are many to choose from. Having said that, there are some really awesome dice out there. You may find collecting dice is your new addiction.
Most D&D groups are inclusive, supportive, and understanding.
The D&D community, as a whole, is one of the most supportive groups I have ever had the privilege of being part of. Yes, there are a few bad apples in every group. Don’t let them spoil it for you.
Know your limits and be honest with your group.
I guess the best advice I can give players is to appreciate yourselves for who you are and what you bring to the table. Find out how your particular expression of ADHD can work for you. Don’t try to force yourself to be something you’re not. Let the other players know the kind of game that most interests you. Also, let them know that you are going to zone out or get distracted now and then.
Maintaining focus is hard. Don’t feel bad about it at all. I recommend you check out the channel “How to ADHD” on YouTube for techniques on living with ADHD and dealing with focus issues.
Deep focus happens too.
Many people tend to think of ADHD as a lack of focus, but it often comes with the ability to hyperfocus. Give yourself permission to zone out when you need to. You may find that you are suddenly so interested in some aspect of the game that you dive into the books to “look something up” and find several hours go by before you know it.