Pen and Paper: Signs of Roleplaying Deprivation
When the mind or body is used to receiving a certain substance, it can become addicted. Take that substance away and the body will react. Alcohol, drugs, food; the body can go nuts when you deny it something it's grown used to having.
And it has been a long time since I've roleplayed.
Some might not see it as a big deal; to grow up playing in an imaginative world with characters that only exist in you and your friend's minds. But when that power of escapism and fun is taken away, the mind starts to go a little stir crazy. After all, the world you adventured in was all in your head, what do you tell your brain when it stops getting to go to that world?
If you, like me, have been suffering from extreme roleplaying deprivation, these symptoms might be signs that it's time to get out your dice and roll.
For Pathfinder fans
This is one my bookshelf too!
Reading Tie-in Novels
My uncles and I used to play a wonderful campaign set in Rokugan, the world of the Legend of the Five Rings. We used Savage Worlds to play, but the universe was strictly L5R. We haven't played that campaign or characters in years. Now, I'm reading the "it's okay but not great" ; a seven book series set in the same world. It's rough reading at times, with some good moments tossed around. What it's really doing is making me want to play again! The medicine is exasperating the condition! Legend of the Five Rings: Clan Wars
With plenty of book series to choose from, this is an easy symptom to spot. Reading the Icewind Dale trilogy by Salvatore? Or a Pathfinder novel? Tie in series may not mean that you don't get enough roleplaying, but it could be a sign that you haven't been playing enough!
The Tabletop vs. Video Game Balance is Broken
After I started playing Dungeons and Dragons, there was a good time between my first game and the next campaign. Months, even. I was bitten by the bug instantly and wanted to dive into the world head first. The problem was, I didn't have the money, friends or experience to go all out. So what did I do? I go my mom to buy me Bauldur's Gate and I played that game non-stop. And its sequel. And its sister series, Icewind Dale. And every other rpg game I could find; from the Final Fantasy series to Ogre Battles 64: Person of Lordly Caliber.
Playing video games isn't a sign you need more roleplaying in your life, but if you have a balance that works in favor of the tabletop, it's a good sign. The less I get to play with dice and character sheets, the more Guild Wars 2 and World of Warcraft tempt me.
The First Dungeons and Dragons Movie Seems Like a Good Idea
It is not a good idea. Get help.
Things Start to Look...Different
The less time I spend away from the tabletop, my brain starts to get...funny. What might be one thing starts to remind me of something else, something inherent to roleplaying. It might be that seeing basic shapes just look like different dice or that certain animals look like monsters I've fought.
If you, or anyone you know, starts looking at all sea life as a Cthulhu monster, you might need to run back to the table and start fighting some Mind Flayers. Or it could be a sign you need to get out more. The signs are not always easy to read.
You Start Gaming Vicariously
To live vicariously is to experience things through other people and their actions. When my brother received a truck load of Power Ranger toys for his fifth birthday, I made sure I was there helping him understand the fun he was having. As gamers, most of our experience is vicariously, but it can be a sign you need to get into the game yourself.
It might start with harmless story sharing, or reading forums of past games. But then all you do is search for videos of people playing, listening to songs about the fun of gaming or rewatching the finale episode of Freaks and Geeks. What ever the reason, the point is you need to roll your own dice and do it fast!
This works for any addiction but for gaming, it's more obvious. Many times, when I don't get to play as much as I would like, I find myself in gaming stores, just looking around, convinced I just want to know what's happening in the world of roleplaying. Then I start leafing through books, listening to customers talk about their last game and I leave with the purchase of new dice that I don't need.
Dice are the prime go-to. They're varied and essential, it's hard to convince yourself that you don't need to buy new ones. But when you haven't played in months, they become a treasured charm. Maybe if you buy some, they'll start a new game for you! Or your friends will be jealous and go get their own, then they'll want to use them and soon your playing again! Or maybe you just spent eight bucks on dice that will sit in a bag. If you're spending more time in the store that at the table, get a game going and hurry!
When was your last roleplaying game?
Trying to Fill the Hole
I've bought Magic: The Gathering, I've researched Live Action Roleplaying, I've tried making up back stories for my soldiers in RISK. I just want to be at a table, rolling dice and taking out hobgoblins. But I can't, because I live in a far away land filled with snow and the Amish. I've played one game in the year of 2012. And so I fill the hole with anything I can but nothing fits in a dodecahedron-shaped hole except for a 12-sided die.
If you're suffering from the same symptoms, my heart goes out to you. There's a chance you too are facing a severe lack of roleplaying. Seek help, get your friends together and start playing again. The mind can only be away so long before it starts bringing dragons with you wherever you go.