What is Dungeons and Dragons?

“Dungeons and Dragons” has come to represent any number of tabletop roleplaying games. Since its beginnings, certain groups have made it out to be a Satanic ritual. Some have said it encourages suicide. Others, like myself, see it as a great form of cooperative storytelling. Tabletop RPGs are something I plan to play with my family in the coming years. For some who question that, it may be helpful to see them from my perspective.
Tabletop roleplaying games (TRPGs) have been around for a long time. Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) was one of the first to gain some popularity, in large part due to negative press. The first public concerns games with the case of James Dallas Egbert. Much of the early stigma surround D&D then had to do with fictionalized association about this case. Today, there are still similar holdovers. D&D uses words like “witch” and “devil” to describe fictional monsters, and for many, this is too much.
While I’m not a fan of some of the terms either, everything about how one play a TRPG is optional. The world you create, the characters, their stories – everything. The “Dungeon Master” (DM) facilitates the world and its non-player characters (NPCs). The characters either stick to the main storyline or drift around, discovering new people and places. That is one of the things that makes TRPG so great. Sure, you could make your story “evil” if you chose, but you could also make it a great family adventure. Designers have created other TRPG systems that allow for my diversity. Savage Worlds is my favorite when it comes to creating your own type of world and building a story. I have played everything from Middle Earth to Wild West with the Savage Worlds system and have grown to love it.
TRPGs deserve a second chance if you’ve cast them away in the past. What have been your experiences with TRPGs?

I'd love to hear your questions and comments!