The words I learned playing Dungeons & Dragons

by andybechtel

In the early 1980s, I was one of those kids: a devoted player of Dungeons & Dragons. I was introduced to the role-playing game in the school cafeteria when I was in the 6th grade. My friends and I spent time exploring a tomb of horrors and taking an expedition to the barrier peaks, among other adventures.

Sure, D&D was geeky, and at a time when geeky wasn’t cool. It’s only been in recent years that it was OK to admit that you played it.

But I’ve realized how much I learned from D&D. A big part of that education came from the game’s fantastical lexicon. Here are some of those words, many of which I still use today:

Properties, places and attributes

  • Alignment
  • Dexterity
  • Charisma
  • Clairvoyance
  • Elemental
  • Encumbrance
  • Ethereal
  • Dimunition
  • Initiative
  • Melee
  • Milieu
  • Ochre
  • Valhalla

Characters and creatures

  • Alchemist
  • Asp
  • Bard
  • Brigand
  • Chimera
  • Cleric
  • Doppelganger
  • Druid
  • Familiar
  • Gargoyle
  • Henchmen
  • Imp
  • Lycanthrope
  • Paladin
  • Sage
  • Spectre
  • Succubus


  • Amulet
  • Ballista
  • Censer
  • Gauntlets
  • Mead
  • Periapt
  • Quiver
  • Rune
  • Scimitar

Am I still carrying around a lot of trivial information from the game too? Of course. But even that has some use: I understand references to “rolling a natural 20” and the occasional LOL silliness.

So thanks, D&D. You made me a better writer and editor.

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