This was a weird article to write because not only it is an homage to the website it is posted on, but a call out to those who read it. When I got involved over a year ago (by pumping out some good, some decent, and some articles I will not speak of again), I had no idea how important this site would become to me. I had no idea the friendships that would begin to develop or the diverse people I would “meet.” I underestimated the ferocity of which I would delve into each and every article and consume everything on this site. I’m not an addict (because that would be a negative connotation) but I am a believer… I think I drank the Koolaid.
1) So Many More Games
Honestly, if it wasn’t for the articles from other writers, the comments from those who read them, and the HLG podcasts, I would never have ventured away from Dungeons and Dragons or Rifts. Not only have I been able to try more games, but it has ignited a passion to continue to try out new games with new people. This is amazing to me, because as much as I enjoy people, I fall easily into the trap of: my couch, my kingdom; little risk, little reward.
In the past year, I have ventured and done my first two sessions of Call of Cthulhu, Star Wars 3rd Edition, 13th Age, All Outta Bubblegum, and a homebrew tabula rasa game 16 Tons. These games have not only been amazing to play but they have developed my roleplaying skills further.
I found that in a short, one session tabletop roleplaying game, you can master the “find a solution no matter how unorthodox” skill (not sure where that tick-box is). This was especially true when trying All Outta Bubblegum. When mechanics are used to do mundane things (like hailing a cab or using a telephone) you will start to fail to do those things well and will be left only with “Kick Ass” things you can accomplish. For example, using a security guard as ski poles for your wheelchair chariot or convincing a group of strangers to join your tooth cult.
Call of Cthulhu made me look deeper into those nuggets of information that the GM provides. I also got more adept at investigating and looking for things that aren't easily seen. I have to admit that I was once involved in a 2nd Edition, AD&D campaign and, though we were surviving the Tower of War (in Greyhawk’s Castle), we pretty much left all the treasure behind because we were horrible at searching, in real life and in-character.
2) Flexing Atrophied Writing Muscles
I wrote angsty poetry when I was younger; I wrote things for English class in school, and I wrote things in university when the prof would ask. I always enjoyed the challenge or the thinking behind the writing, but there are only so many outlets that we have in life. I thought (super naively) that my one year maternity leave over a decade ago would not only awaken some mommy blogger type things (ala Dooce) but would also give me a chance to put stories or a book down on paper. Being dead wrong is not great for the ego. I was lucky if I had the thoughtfulness for a grocery list during that time.
Don’t get me wrong; I am not in search of becoming a brilliant author but I do like to put words down. Those words delight me, and maybe even sometimes delight others. Since my favourite place for words cannot seem to be resurrected (I miss you Livejournal), I was left with a void. Wordpress tried to fill it (failed) and there are only so many witty Facebook posts I can write about my daughter. The High Level Games community gave me a chance to blather on and not only type for the sake of typing, but to write about something I love. The best part is that sometimes people even write back!
3) Broader Knowledge of What I Love
Along with the various games I have tried out because of High Level Games, I have also been more intentional about what I say and do within my games. Sometimes, these things help out my character's development when I read about what other people are doing within their games. Great ideas for world building, character development, GMing, and things I had never even thought about. Often I use the broad experience of the other writers here and steal it. Err… I mean adapt it to my games.
Honestly it has given me a place to think wider and deeper about my hobby. Not all players want to delve deeper (and there is nothing wrong with a fun flippant game), but I find the thoughtfulness sometimes makes the hobby more dynamic and interesting. I dig that.
4) Varied People and Things
My roleplaying groups were limited to my partner and those people my partner involved in gaming for a very long time. The geographical location of those I played with were within a day's drive in Western Canada. My games were limited to those that my partner knew or wanted to try.
With the awesomeness of the internet (I’m looking at you Roll20 and Google Hangouts) combined with the people I have met through this site, I have access to so much more. I have gamed with people from all over the world. I have more options than time. I am seriously spoiled now.
5) It Really is About Community
Quinn (Games Lover/HLG Co-founder/Partner in Crime) had a grandiose vision for this site. As a partner, I politely smiled and nodded as he tried to explain it and I let him start up “this little website.” He wanted a place for those who enjoy the hobby to have a place to talk, learn, and grow together. He wanted to create something for all of us. The few people he gamed with started the blog writing, and then quickly went asking people to come alongside and write with us.
As a writer for the site, I know that we read and take to heart when you respond. We love to hear about what you are doing. We cherish the feedback. I cherish the feedback and the people I have talked with and played with and laughed with; you are why I love to write.
Our ragtag group is growing and have now moved onto producing original content and have more podcasts and more fun.
Now, some of you may have found your passion for roleplaying elsewhere. Maybe you have developed communities and met more people and played more games on a consistent basis. I am envious. My time (17+ years) in the small little world of my groups was fun, but limiting. HLG gave me a “second wind” in this hobby. Let me know where you found your geeky footing! Suggest a game, a website, a podcast, a twitch channel, or anything that shows your love for the hobby. I would love to keep going!
This article was written by Vanessa who is a sarcastic, 30-something wife and mother. She likes things and stuff, but not simultaneously. When she isn’t involved in things and stuff, she teaches and coaches debate. She thinks everyone should be roleplaying. She is also trying out this new twitter handle at @sarasma_nessa ...on second/third thought… I am terrible at twitter. Please send help! She also thinks you should support the writers here that are more clever and can figure out twitter.
I am become death, destroyer of worlds.