If you are here reading my pontifical postings, you are either a lost glutton for punishment, or a gamer. Hopefully the second, right? So, assuming you are a gamer, you obviously do it for a reason...what is the reason? Better yet,
Can you break it down into one word?
DM's - Why? Why do all of the homework - kid yourself not, for it IS homework. Enjoying it is no excuse ; ) Why put up with flaky gamers, drama, rules lawyers, and all the other stereotypical crap? We won't go into the mint you spent on your supplies, if it's anything like mine, you could always sell it for the down payment on a hummer.
There is a personal enrichment in DMing that is elusive to say the least. Is it the narration? Does it tickle the storytelling bone left over from the caveman days? Is it a power trip? Do we just enjoy seeing a long plan come together?
My personal motivations: I am a natural storyteller. My group refers to me as "the Pontificator" whose razor sharp prose has come back from the future to...wait, wrong story. See, told ya so! As I said, I love to tell stories. Stories with their own self narrating characters is just a natural destination. I enjoy it all unfolding, from the fear on a players face during a certain death encounter, to the players whooping and celebrating when it all goes right. It is a sense of...not quite community, but close.
On reflection, a part of it is also the shared experience. The ego punch you get when 6 people decide that they would rather go to your house and eat crap food in uncomfortable chairs just to hear you tell your story. It is a good feeling to have in this busy day and age when you can have relationships like that. For just a few precious hours, we can get beyond the petty things that conspire to tear us down, and just hang out - laugh, yell, and even sometimes cry, with friends. In a word, FULFILLMENT.
Players - What motivates you to spend a goodly chunk of your precious free time sitting at a table eating crap? Trusting someone (usually) not of your blood with your part in an elaborate fairy tale? Why do you endure the geek label, and stigma that still seems to follow D&D players even to this day? Why do you put up with:
My personal motivations: Life sucks. Sure there are plenty of awesome fleeting moments, bit it seems that it usually comes down to the old wake up, go to work, be bored/miserable/unappreciated, go home, be tired, kill time, go to bed - repeat. Do it long enough, and you can take a couple of days off, then back to the grind. Is this all there is? Living in a world that tells you that you can be anything, you get used to disappointment. Escapism is why I play. It's like pretend, only for grownups. I get to imagine, just for a few precious moments at a time, that nothing else matters. For crying out loud, a honest to god king needs MY help! I get to save people and save the world! What's not to like?
In a world where it is SO easy to be lost in the faceless masses, escaping into the realm of Heroic fantasy is a no-brainer. I honestly believe if folks would just stop criticising D&D and PLAY it, WotC would be a fortune 500 company. Who cares if the stories are endlessly regurgitated? How many times have you watched the Lord of the Rings? And that was a static film production! With D&D, I can BE frodo, and make all the big calls myself. Live, die, it's MY choices. So for me, this is a cross of ESCAPISM and EMPOWERMENT.
So...I guess that makes me either an EMPOWERED ESCAPIST, no other combo rolls off the tongue. What are you?