Here is a group of adventurers, planning out their quest, preparing on an adventure of epic proportions. Behind each drawn adventurer is a real-life person, acting out the voices and making the decisions. Some of them are sweet people pretending to be selfish thieves on a quest for gold, some of them are less than sweet people pretending to be selfless clerics and paladins.
But where is the motivating force? Where is the random encounter? The villain? The plot arc?
It's all in the Dungeon Master.
I've been a dungeon master for a few weeks now. I come up with the encounters, how many bad guys will fight our heroes and when, why they must complete the quest even when they'd rather grab the gold and run, and what happens if they encounter a force too strong for them. There are times I'd like to see them killed, but my job is not to kill them, my job is to try and kill them in a myriad of ways, but never (rarely) succeed. I am omniscient, I am omnipotent, and though I can 'control' the adventurers in a number of ways, they always find a way to mess up the plan.
This is writing, friends, with an audience. I have 5 or 6 people constantly depending on my story-telling skills to keep them entertained. Sometimes it works, when they actually go by the plan. Most of the time it doesn't, and I have to improvise. It's a performance art.
D&D did not make me a writer (hello, Nintendo!) but it did make me appreciate the story-telling process. And preparation time. Thank GOD for preparation time.
So, have you ever wondered what it would be like to 'perform' as a writer? Get a group of friends together, get a guide book and some dice, and nerd it up. You won't regret it.