“Interests are free. Hobbies cost money.”- George Carlin
Before I discovered the greatness that is D&D and tabletop RPG games, I really didn’t have anything in my life that I would consider a hobby. I played video games, but I never saw that as a hobby. It was more of an activity. Now, video games are more of a coping mechanism, but we won’t get into that.
The thing about adopting a new hobby is that there is usually some sort of monetary investment into it. Finding a “starter kit” for your chosen hobby is a pretty inexpensive place to begin, but once the hobby has its hooks in you, you want more from it. This is where your bank account starts to cringe and brace for the massive impact.
D&D is no different. There’s books to collect and read, minis to paint, maps to curate, adventures to acquire, and of course you need to get ALL THE DICE. And these are just the base level equipment. This doesn’t include the custom made dice vaults and dice trays made of some exotic wood, the spell cards with amazing art…oh, and the art! So much art!
If you’re anything like me, disposable income is scarce, if not non-existent. It can be difficult to keep up with all the accessories, literature, or even the merch from your favorite D&D show. I’ve been a fan of Critical Role for five years now, and I only have been able to purchase one Mighty Nein t-shirt. I’ve missed out on all the other cool shirts, bumper stickers, pins, and posters they’ve offered. I sometimes feel that I’m not a “real” fan because I can’t purchase any of these things to show off my love for the show. The cast constantly says that buying things from the show isn’t necessary to be a fan, but I still can’t shake that feeling that I’m not doing fandom right.
It was even worse when they launched their Kickstarter. I told myself that if I were to invest any money into this show, it’d be into the Kickstarter. I had a decent chunk of cash set aside to do it, but real life intervened and ruined my plans. I was unable to support the Kickstarter, and I missed out on some of the really cool donor rewards. I was heartbroken.
But I know I’m not alone. There are fans of D&D that can’t spend a lot of money on the game they love often. I want those of you who are reading this that you’re not the only one. I, too, wish I could afford to buy all the shirts for Critical Role. I would love to cover my bedroom wall with Tess Fowler watercolors of Vox Machina. I want to have every copy of the comic books. But, alas I do not. But that doesn’t make me a bad fan.
As of the publication of this post, I have a job interview at my favorite gaming store on Monday the 29th. This is a way to not only work in a place surrounded by everything I love, but it is a way to earn money to buy the things I want and support the creators and shows I’m a fan of. It’s a win-win situation.
Remember, you don’t have to have all the merch to be a fan of D&D. You just have to enjoy it, play it, and share it with people you care about. That’s the best way to show you’re a fan. D&D can be an expensive hobby, but when it comes down to it, having the love for the hobby is all you really need.