Why Role Playing Games are Awesome
Tabletop roleplaying is a hobby that means an enormous amount to many people around the world. It combines excitement, problem-solving, characterization, shared storytelling and more, inviting groups of friends together to join in fantastical quests in mythical lands.
Despite the rise of video games and online roleplaying (which certainly have a place), tabletop roleplaying remains as rich, vibrant and enthralling as ever. Its an opportunity to experience things in a completely new way, to explore fabulous realms of imagination, to roll dice with friends and to enjoy the fulfillment of time well spent.
In this article, we'll explore some of the main things that attract people to roleplaying; why does it remain such a great hobby? What is it that draws people together week after week to share laughter and snacks, move figures around a dungeon and scribble numbers and notations onto character sheets?
When people sit down for a game of Dungeons and Dragons, Pathfinder, Call of Cthulhu, Vampire or many more, what is it that keeps it such an enthralling art form?
I believe that the essence of roleplaying breaks down to several things:
Exploring new landscapes and worlds
Understanding that anything is possible
Dealing with personal stuff in a productive and safe way
Connecting to others, building social circles
Changing perspectives and altering views
Opening up new landscapes and worlds
To roleplay is to explore vast realms of the imagination. Mindscapes, quests and huge worlds are there to be explored, just a breath and a description away.
A gamesmaster can read a brief description, and in those words, transport you to amazing places. Those worlds let you create a story with other people that you care about, where you work together to create something truly magical.
Its the idea of the quest and going beyond, that in a shared story, something powerful and beautiful can be created.
Anything is possible
Roleplaying creates a true sense of wonder, the idea that anything is possible. The roll of a dice, a decision made on the spur of the moment, can change the entire course of an adventure, or the character you play.
Your character can live, thrive and advance by your decisions, or fall into peril and death.
You have complete power over your decisions, and you collaborate with others and the gamesmaster to make the game a unique, shared storytelling experience. And that experience is yours.
Dealing with personal stuff in a safe way
Many of us go through stuff as we're growing up. We might not quite fit in; we might be considered nerdy or geeky, or have different perspectives to everyone around us.
These things can make us feel like outsiders, and can make it difficult to relate closely, person to person. If we can't talk to our friends and family, roleplaying can become both an escapism and an outlet for some of the problems people have.
We can instill our characters with some of the issues that we have and then see how they would deal with them. We could then take that away and learn from it, apply it to our own lives and find it easier to grow and learn as a result.
Roleplaying is a great form of therapy; dealing with issues and improving as a person, its wonderful for bringing people out of themselves and building self-confidence and social skills. It helps to cultivate intelligence and imagination, encourages problem solving and rewards innovative thinking.
Roleplaying games are tremendous way to teach problem-solving and overcoming obstacles. It teaches us that there are often more solutions to a problem than the obvious one.
Importantly, when we do accomplish our goals, it gives a great sense of satisfaction and reward. People feel truly fulfilled at the end of an adventure; a sense of time well spent and deeds worth doing!
Connecting to others, building social circles
Games connect us to some great people. Many of us make lifelong friends through roleplaying. Because we all understood why we were there, it magnified us. We could have a great time together, share our interests and find acceptance. Roleplaying can be a great 'litmus test' for someone else. If they're a roleplayer, chances are that you're going to get on well!
Above everything else, roleplaying is a shared pastime. It forces us out of ourselves, makes us connect with others across a table. It helps us share our lives, our triumphs and our adversity, whether that's through the characters we play, or something a little closer to home.
Changing our perspective
These types of games change your perspective. They force you to look with different eyes and act in a different way. That feeling can truly inspire, cause us to be greater than ourselves and instill a sense of true wonder.
Roleplaying helps us maintain an open mind and teaches us that few things are as they seem on the surface. It encourages us to question and investigate, to find things out for ourselves and the importance of decision, action and consequence.
There is truly no other hobby like it. It has made me the person that I am today, and I couldn't imagine a life without strange little polyhedrons, awesome friends and an endless supply of laughter.
I've always loved these games. How do they matter to you? Please share and let me know.