I admit a certain hesitancy to share my love of role-playing games with the general public. Even my best friend knew nothing about my time spent doing such games until well over a decade into them. There seems to be a set of unwritten cues to scout out other possible role-players. Once those cues are good and established, then and only then can you drop your own clues to your own love of such things. There isn’t always an easy way to decipher who would and would not be involved in such activities. But, I believe that more people should be role-playing.
So this is my bid to convince the average person, the on-the-fencer, and you, the reader, to reach out and experience this form of gaming.
First, I’ll give you my rudimentary description of role-playing. Role-playing is creating an unique character, with its own personality, story, and abilities. This character lives in a world with its own history, mythology, and problems. Your character comes alongside other characters to have adventures both great and small. It involves some imagination, some acting, some rules, and much merriment and laughter. These games can last for a short time or these stories (campaigns) can last for years. So these are the reasons that you should role-play:
Reason 1: You get better at it. This isn’t the flappy bird of gaming. Nor is the mashing of buttons on Mortal Combat. You aren’t always terrible and hate your life for eternity. Your character improves their skills. They can do things better and cooler than before. You, also, improve your skills at role-playing. Why not try an accent? You use your backstory to convince others to go along with your plan. Maybe eventually, you even learn most of the rules really well (Sorry, Jake.)
Reason 2: You spend time with friends and other such awesome people (or you meet new friends). Ideally, you want a group that you would already hang out with on a regular basis. You have a regular excuse to hang out with those people you like. Sorry honey, I guess I can’t have dinner with your mother… I have a game. Often your game involves your interests already, so those people have those same interests. Instant bonding! And, if the people you choose, the game you choose, or the timing isn’t quite right, then you can still find many more options for groups online at roll20.
Reason 3: There is a game for you. Maybe you love the fantasy type worlds with dwarves and dragons and other mythical ideas. You don’t have to look far to find DnD, Pathfinder, Rolemaster, or 13th Age. Maybe you like the futuristic armageddon-type scenario and you could play Rifts, Apocalypse World, or Numenera. Maybe you prefer comics, then you could go with Marvel, Mutants and Masterminds, or Icons the Assembled Edition. If you like space, there are space games (Spacemaster specific franchise space games if you want). If you like zombies, they have zombies since All Flesh must be Eaten. If you want horror, you can find it in Dread. There is a game for any type of adventure scenario you can think of, and if they don’t have it yet, it may be having a kickstarter right now. This is by no means an exhaustive list of games in these genres either. If you like anything; you can play it.
Reason 4: Even though it is similar to many things, it is unique. It is a collaborative game, like playing pretend, similar to writing a story, like hearing a radio play, it is acting, you have control over your own choices, but you cannot control everything. You never can predict what will happen, how it will happen, or where it will all take you. It is the roll of the dice and a role in your life. It’s worth trying out and experiencing, because there is nothing like it.
Reason 5: This imaginary game creates real memories. Undoubtabley when you sit down with other seasoned role-players, your playing will be delayed at some point to tell the story of that last character, that beer-swilling bard that somehow threw aside her bawdy limericks to save her friends, or that ranger on a quest to meet her soulmate spending her treasure loot on fine clothing and perfume. Before you know it, you will have your own stories to tell.
If you role-play already, then congratulations! What other reasons would you tell someone to try out the hobby? If you haven’t yet tried it, then seek people out!
Vanessa is a sarcastic, 30-something wife and mother. She likes things and stuff, but not simultaneously. You can read about how her love of acting led her to become a better role-player here.
I am become death, destroyer of worlds.