Roll for Initiative: 5 Dungeons & Dragons Team Building Lessons for Every Workplace

Teamwork Tips from D&D

Dungeons & Dragons is cool now. With a new hit film in theaters, frequent references in shows like Stranger Things, and game sales soaring to all-time highs, D&D is a pop-culture phenomenon.

Of course, we’ve been creating tricky team-building scavenger hunts and virtual games since 1999. So it should come as no surprise that a company full of people who write adventures for a living is also full of people who love playing D&D. And one of the main things we’ve learned is this: whether you’re solving a scavenger hunt, conquering a work project, or vanquishing a 5,000-year-old vampire lord, nothing brings a team together quite like a common goal.

Read on for five Dungeons & Dragons team building lessons.

Balance Your Strengths and Weaknesses, AKA: Don’t Send Your Wizard to a Knife Fight

Dungeons & Dragons players

The beauty of a well-balanced team—or adventuring party—is that individual weaknesses are overcome by collective strengths. Just because you’d never send your barbarian to negotiate a peace treaty doesn’t mean she’s not the best head-smasher on the team. Leave the negotiations for the charisma caster, the close-combat for the tank, and the stealth missions for the rogue. If you leverage your team’s unique combination of skills and experiences, you’ll conquer that BBEG (“Big Bad Evil Guy”) or work project in no time.

Pay Attention, AKA: Prepare for Your Turn

You’ve definitely met him. You’ve probably worked with him. Maybe you’ve even been him. He’s That Guy: the player at the D&D table who doesn’t even glance at his character sheet until it’s his turn in combat. “Hmm,” That Guy says, as the action comes to a dead halt. “Uhh, what does Eldritch Blast do again?”

Whether you’re at a D&D table or in a work meeting, don’t be That Guy. A good teammate pays attention and plans their next move in advance, so that their colleagues aren’t left in the lurch.

Teamwork is not a Zero-Sum Game, AKA: Just Let the Rogue Have It

So what if you’re an eight-foot-tall Orc Barbarian? So what if your stealth modifier is -1? And so what if you never learned how to whisper? Of course you want that ring of invisibility. Would you still fail 90% of your stealth checks while wearing that ring of invisibility? Probably. But it’s so cool.

Face it. If you treat every opportunity like a zero-sum game, you’ll do a disservice to your team. As the well-known saying goes, there’s no “I” in “A Party of Four Ragtag Adventurers.” Teams work best when everyone is given the opportunity to hone their particular talents. So keep your fingers crossed for a Belt of Giant Strength, and give the ring to the rogue.

Seek Out Creative Solutions, AKA: A Fireball Isn’t Always the Answer

Dungeons & Dragons red dragon

In life, in work, and in D&D, things don’t always go the way you planned. Maybe you’re tackling a work project that’s growing more complicated by the day. Maybe you’re on the brink of a Total Party Kill because you haven’t figured out how to fight an enemy who’s immune to fire damage. In times like these, it’s a good idea to regroup, reassess, and consider a new approach. After all, the most creative solutions are often born out of desperation.

In other words: sometimes it takes nearly losing a fight to a trio of fire elementals to remember that your warlock has a banishing spell.

Don’t Micromanage your Colleagues, AKA: Keep Your Eyes on Your Own Character Sheet

There’s a saying that goes a little like this: “In D&D, you can play anything you want, except someone else’s character.” Delegating tasks is one thing, but nobody likes to be told how to do their job. Don’t elfsplain demon lore to a tiefling, don’t lecture your cleric about religion, and don’t give unsolicited advice to your teammates. Take a step back and trust that the people on your team are just as capable as you are (yes, even the bard).

Join Your Own Adventure

Now put your teamwork to the test on our team building scavenger hunts and virtual games. Play all sorts of trivia gamestravel the world, tackle a game full of death and puzzles, and more.


Image credits: Dice set photo by Stephen Hardy; red dragon photo by Clint Bustrillos on Unsplash; players photo by 2H Media on Unsplash