It’s often said you can’t win in DnD. But is that really true?
DnD is a multiverse
Your DnD campaign is only a small slice of DnD! You’re not the main character in a linear plot. You’re just passing through one world in an entire constellation. The DnD world exists and things are happening in it whether you’re there or not…even right now!
Planes are universes within DnD. Most games of DnD take place on the Prime Material Plane, but there are other Planes such as the Outer Planes, which are home of the worlds of gods and dead souls, and the Far Realms, which hold worlds of cosmic alien horror. There’s also the Plane of Shadow, the Plane of Dreams, and many others that creators have dreamed up over the years.
Within each plane there are loads of worlds to travel. After almost 50 years of fandom, there is an absolutely massive amount of official DnD lore to explore. Add homebrew content, and the only limit is player imagination.
So how do you “beat” an entire multiverse? However, you want.
You define your own goals
DnD is collaborative storytelling. There’s no main boss. There’s no main objective. There’s no main plot. You and your friends just agree on the story you want to tell, and then you tell it together!
If you want to be pirates and take over the high seas, you can do that. If you want to be a heist crew and rob the elites blind, you can do that. If you want to cleanse the underworld of evil, you can do that too.
There’s a DnD universe for every player’s dream, and plenty of characters and monsters to populate it. Talk about what sounds fun, and then go do it!
The DM usually has an idea in mind, and there is plenty of material to and premade adventures to guide you, but ultimately your party defines what it means to achieve victory.
Sometimes, victory even involves dying.
Dying isn’t losing
When you die in DnD, you can just create a new character and hop back in. The fact you can die ups the stakes and makes every action meaningful.
And not only is dying not losing…sometimes dying is winning! If you’re a Cleric 5e and you sacrifice yourself to heal your Barbarian, who then goes into a frenzy and wins the battle…that’s a win!
If you’re a Paladin who made a solemn vow to protect the innocent, and you die protecting a town from a gang of bandits…that’s a win!
When you join back in, you can be someone related to your dead character who’s out for revenge, a lost love coming for the funeral, or thousands of other options. Or a complete stranger!
Winning in DnD = a satisfying story. Losing = boring story. If you successfully achieved your character’s goals, that’s all you can really ask for.
Even if there aren’t traditional stories in DnD, most campaigns revolve around beating the BBEG.
Beating the BBEG
BBEG stands for Big Bad Evil Guy. Since there is no main boss in DnD, a BBEG is the next best thing. The BBEG might be a Werebear terrorizing the forest, a land baron who is draining the land of resources, or an alien creature enslaving an underground lair.
Defeating the BBEG offers a concrete goal in a limitless world, but it still isn’t exactly winning. The world goes on after the BBEG is defeated, even if your characters don’t.
Alternatively, you can play the same characters over and over again, and travel to new dimensions.
There’s evil to vanquish everywhere!
Winning is having fun
There’s no way to win DnD, just like there’s no way to win in real life. You just do the best you can and enjoy the company you’re with.
DnD is one of the most rewarding bonding experiences you can have with others. Having fun while playing adventuring with your friends is the biggest win of all. You’ll share loads of laughs, learn a lot about each other, and make great memories.
Just enjoy the ride. The journey is the destination. Contrary to what people think, everyone wins by playing DnD!