Bullied as a child in school in the ’80s, Canadian poet George Murray once found solace in the make-believe world of Dungeons & Dragons, where he could become “a seven-foot-tall warrior who could punch the face off a troll.” At The Walrus, Murray writes of the role-playing game’s renaissance — about how it helped his blended family bond — and about how he’s “playing it forward” by acting as dragon master for local families who want to learn to play.

Why had I stayed away so long? It was ideal family time — everyone looked directly at each other over the table, eyes bright, describing their next move in detail, moving their miniature warriors around the grid map on the table, engaging with the story, building powerful avatars of good. No phones, no screens, no video games, no earbuds — just family talking and laughing for hours at…

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