im not happy to hear from a player of freeform rp, 'oh d&d isn't Real RP'. like, im sorry you're bad at math. are people Playing Roles? yes, they are, so yes, it is. please dont be dismissive of the pastime ive devoted my life to.
generally speaking, saying mean things about d&d is a quick and easy way to weaken a friendship with me. i have a lot of self-worth wrapped up in it!
seriously, d&d is The One Thing Im Good At. its the only endeavor ive ever found in which i can excel. game design is a purely intellectual pastime with a high fault tolerance which deeply rewards heavy investment of analytical power. if it has a point of diminishing returns, i havent found it.
running a game places only moderate demands on my weak areas (social skills, situational awareness), and good preparation- sole strong area- can compensate for shortcomings there. seriously running a d&d game is the only way ill ever impress anyone.
if you dont have ADD you dont know what its like to just Not Get That. to never Be Cool. to never make it through a joint undertaking of any kind without screwing up in front of someone. to never get a perfect score- not even close! its constant! it took me a long time to get away from feeling like 'im a fuckup', & replace it with 'i suffer from ADD and its Not My Fault'.
seriously, d&d, its like it was made for me. i spend all my time on it. if im home, and not doing the social medias, im prolly working on d&d. i recently had two weeks off work- i put in 14-hour days on a d&d project for over half of it, and it felt great! (and then i put in more relaxed days on other d&d stuff for the rest.) thats what i mean about 'a lot of self-worth', above. its my sole avenue of achievement- the sole avenue Possible.
yeah this is all ultimately in service of getting a bunch of people around a table to pretend theyre wearing armor and killing monsters, and i always feel vaguely embarassed about that. its a low-status pastime. but you know what? when i Get It Right, when it all comes together, and my players have a blast- for just a few hours, i'm a Rockstar.