Today I role-played with three people who have never role-played in their lives. We played two different scenarios in a game called Dread. For those of you who may not know, Dread is a simple role-playing game designed to be played in a few short hours, in which each player fills out a set of character questions and the outcome of any action they take is determined by removing blocks from a Jenga set.
A successful pull of a block leads to a successful action, a pull which causes the tower to topple results in the death of the offending player’s character, and an abandoned pull (to avoid the certain death of a tower topple) leads to a failed action and negative consequence. While both the GM and I are well versed in role-playing, the other three players’ experiences range from no personal exposure whatsoever to being forced to listen to stories told by their incredibly talented, handsome, and well-written husband about his many adventures.
I love to be able to introduce people to gaming, as many of you probably do as well. It gives me great joy to be able to share activities I love with the people I love. It has probably been many years since you, dear reader of a role-playing blog, gamed for the first time. My guess is that your feelings about your first impressions of gaming have been long lost beneath your years of subsequent game; I know this has been the case for me. As such, l was keen to hear their feelings about the experience, both out of a hope to convert them into gamers as well as an objective interest as to how the experience, now commonplace for me, would be taken with fresh eyes. I asked each player to provide me with the most compelling impression they took away from the game:
I was surprised by how much the GM influenced the experience. It was fascinating to see the interaction between the players and the GM and how it shaped and guided the story. In particular, after both games had occurred and during further conversation with Jake, I learned more about some of the other role-playing systems (such as D&D) and how the GM can impact the way that role-playing game is experienced by the players. My initial thoughts about role-playing was that most groups were similar and it had never occurred to me that not every GM, role-playing group, or scenario will be a good fit for every player (which all seems incredibly obvious now after playing). While this might sound a tad negative, I had a BLAST and will definitely look for further opportunities to explore the world of role-playing.
As a girl and young woman I had very few instances to interact with any sort of gaming. After I got married my husband introduced me to the world of video and board games. However, I found I was very selective about the games that I found enjoyable, those primarily being story driven games. After several years I had my first chance at playing a role playing game. For me it was a very “Ahah” moment as I realized that this combined everything that I loved about gaming. Having never played before I was worried about not being able to get into the head of my character. I was surprised at how easy it was for me to slip into the fantasy. After this experience I am eager to search out more opportunities to play role playing games.
I feel like Dread helps me overcome fears. My whole life I’ve shied away when it comes to dialogue and confrontation. Being an introvert, it’s really hard for me to open up and be comfortable around people. I also struggle with self-esteem and confidence, which often keeps me from being comfortable in large groups. However, I was able to have my first role-playing experience with a group of people that I love dearly. This allowed me to open up a bit and explore a different side of my personality. Playing our first game of Dread made me very uncomfortable because not only was I forced to speak in front of a lot of people, but it was about a topic I know little about - sci-fi space exploration. By the second game however, I knew what to expect when it came to telling a story and working together as characters, but I knew going in that I had to force myself into situations and make myself contribute to the story or my character would go unexplored. Even though Dread is just a small fraction of the role-playing games available, the introduction to this game has opened my eyes and made me more willing to explore role-playing games in general (though it will have to be with the right group of people).
Jake is an incredibly talented, handsome, and well-written husband who has had many role-playing adventures, most of which he has forcedly conveyed to his wife in story form.
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