D&D is the Best Time to Multitask

By RJ on 26 December 2022. 

Warning: this article is mostly satirical.

One of the best times of the week to complete important and menial tasks is during your Dungeons & Dragons session. In the 87% of D&D groups who meet weekly, many players agree their minds are unfocused enough during the session to multitask. After a busy week wandering around the house, looking wistfully out the window, rewatching the Office again, and bringing a few cans of Lacroix to the recycling container, D&D brings about a certain inspiration to the mind.

  • Forgot to answer your mother's text from last Thursday? As someone recaps the previous session, it's a great time to respond.
  • Need to make a grocery order? Shop on your store app while your patron gives the party information about the gnoll lair, the vital knowledge about Yeenoghu can easily be recounted later.
  • Are you hosting and you hear the laundry finish? Zoom to the laundry machine during another person's turn in combat, you should be able to catch up when you return. It's okay.

In fact, pursuing other tasks during other people's turn in combat is the best way to artificially speed up the path to your next turn. Based on the answers of a few veteran D&D players, combat is the most boring part of the game (except when it's your turn). Just ask Gerald Arleson and David Gygioff, two D&D players I spoke with recently.

"My party has two wizards in it, so once I finish my turn, I'm able to read at least a dozen Reddit threads before the next round begins. If I'm lucky, I might be able to get in a dungeon run in Diablo Immortal, too." boasted Gerald.

Gerald plays a Champion dwarf fighter. His turn goes by quickly, and he usually doesn't have a ton of actions he can try in-game. He's fine with that, though, as it allows for more time arguing on Reddit or farming crests in Diablo Immortal.

"In the next campaign, I plan on playing a ranger of some sort. They might not be as powerful as my current Champion, but they have such a limited range of options. I think I might be able to get more time in on Reddit, except during exploration sequences when I can use my favored enemy ability to get advantage on a couple checks."

Another player at the same table, David Gygioff, added to Gerald's observations. He plays a bumbling half-orc rogue who he claims is "forgetful" and "constantly checking in on the party because he is the dad of the group."

"Outside Ricard's downstairs window, there's, like, a tiny tree. When we play, a red squirrel always climbs it and grabs onto the branches. Sometimes, a chickadee like joins it. I love watching the two interact. Sometimes they play around for a while and I miss parts of the game, but it's okay: it's how my character would like act. He has a very short-term memory, so it works 100%." 

David quickly turned back to talking about the red squirrel and chickadee, but I steered the conversation back to the game.

"Yeah, the game's fun enough. Our DM, Ricard, does his best to, like, cater to our needs. Especially my character's. He really gets him, you know? Every time I forget something, he readily recaps, fully colored context, too! Usually, it gives enough time for Gerald to do a power walk around the block or Sarah a chance to prep for her Tuesday game. Again, like, the game is pretty fun."

When asked for comment, Ricard refused to answer.

However, I did ask Gerald to record their latest session to give all of us a glimpse at their table. Of course he complied.

"It was easy enough. I didn't ask permission or anything, but I didn't want anyone to act differently, so I pretended to zoom through a longer set of dungeon runs in Diablo Immortal. I usually hold my phone pretty far up, so it was easy to get a shot of the entire table at once."

I stressed I was simply searching for audio of the session. That's okay though, Gerald was able to secure it and much more.

A Glimpse into the Session

The audio begins a bit muffled as Gerald moves around his phone.

"Time to hit up another dungeon run, people." Gerald says a bit too dramatically.

"...and as your greatsword decapitates the bandit lord's head, his halfling lover lets out a great cry: 'Vengeance! Vengeance I swear upon each of you!' He drops to the cold stone floor. His knees hit the ground at the same time as his lover's head. Gormund, blood stains your leather, the halfling's cries greaten in the cavern. Before the rest of the party reacts, what are you thinking? What thoughts are racing through your mind as this fallen bandit and his lover lay before you?" Ricard wraps up his narration.

Gerald plays the dwarf Champion fighter, Gormund, who seemingly just executed the bandit lord.

"Wait, he's uh, dead already? What did you guys do to him!" Gerald looks toward the two wizard players, Sarah and Cai.

Sarah quickly pipes up: "We went nova." Cai nods and nearly adds something.

"Wait, so we didn't try to non-lethal him? To interrogate him? I don't think this halfling knows much..." Gerald replies.

"Hey Ricard! Doesn't he, like, know something? Didn't we find that dude who said the lover was like the real villain all along? Right?" David interjects. Ricard nods and both Sarah and Cai sigh.

"Correct!" Ricard responds. "Except it wasn't a dude. You found a letter in the bowels of Sleeping Dust Warehouse, tucked away in a secret chest beneath the floorboards. The chest was trapped with a bursting flame, a set of poison darts, and that tiny cockatrice. Inside, you found the letter detailing the relationship between the bandit lord, Gionni, and his halfling lover and companion in crime, Roberthon..."

Sarah pulls out her notebook titled "Escape from Hell" and Gerald readies to leave the room, likely to go on a power walk around the block. As Ricard continues explaining the background to David and we get a final glimpse of the session before Gerald leaves for his stroll, David's eyes wander to the window.

Gerald follows David's gaze with his phone's camera.

Clearly, sitting on the branch of a tiny tree is a red squirrel and a chickadee, happy as can be. Gerald quickly turns the camera back to David, who has zoned out Ricard's rambling exposition.

Closing Thoughts on Multitasking During D&D

The conclusion is clear: multitasking takes little away from the game experience of Dungeons & Dragons. It's quite the opposite; games appear to improve because of it. The example above showcases that in every facet, mostly thanks to David, the best player at the table.

David's constant phasing out helps him accurately roleplay his forgetful half-orc. This feeds into the next point: the endless retelling of the story so far.

Ricard's need to constantly recap the game allows other players to important things during the session: Sarah can prep for the game she DM's, Gerald can get some exercise in or run a few Diablo Immortal dungeons if he doesn't want to read Reddit, and Cai, well, we didn't hear much about her.

Everyone is able to do other things at the table and the game is all the better for it. In addition, the story is always front of mind!

Clearly, D&D is the best time to multitask.

In Summary

This is where the satire ends, folks.

  • During your Dungeons & Dragons session, the game should hold your focus. If you find your mind wandering, check yourself. If the game doesn't interest you, talk to your fellow players and Dungeon Master.
  • Pursuing other tasks during D&D leads to forgetfulness. It's also rude. If other players constantly need to recap what is going on, it turns the game into a slog and showcases you're not invested in the game, and you don't respect everyone else's time.
  • Plan breaks or only leave the table at an opportune moment. Don't leave mid-conversation with an NPC or during a vital moment in combat. If another character is the focus, you should be set to leave for a minute or two. In addition, always let people know what you're doing and that you'll be back momentarily, don't leave them hanging.

I hope you enjoyed this different style of article. If you did, please leave a comment below, I'd love to hear from you.

In last week's post, I provided some inspiration for building better monsters using the wizard class and a Wizard Foe Generator. If you enjoyed this article, you might want to check last week's out, too.

Here's to greatening your game and world: cheers!

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As always, thanks for reading. Please send all inquiries to rjd20writes@gmail.com or leave a comment below.

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