Day 1: #RPGaDay 2018 – “Love”

Week One: WHAT?      Prompt: What do you love about RPGs?

This question is simultaneously easy and hard to answer, which is I suppose, fitting given the subject of roleplaying games. The first thing that comes to mind upon seeing the prompt, of course, is that there are many, many things that I appreciate about RPGs. The first instinct is to start listing, but let’s not just do that – let’s see if there is anything deeper under the first impressions and habitual responses.

The List
  • camaraderie leading to lasting friendship
  • tilting against mythic forms and human nature
  • the freedom to laugh
  • the dance between control and surrender
  • gaining perspective on perspective

With that suitably vague set of ideas as our guide, let’s take a leap off the Cliffs of Obscurity into the Sea of Speculation, shall we?

Relationships

Some of the best, if not the actual best, friendships I have ever had the privilege to develop have been as a result of or strengthened by the act of playing roleplaying games together. This has given me no shortage of amusement over the years as I noted early on that it is a bit peculiar that we can make such tight bonds of friendship over a hobby where the primary activity is pretending to be other people. However, absurdity is not a counter to truth – just a compelling accent.

Camaraderie of course arises in situations where people spend long hours together engaged in the same activity. The more fun or achievement had, the better that sense of fellowship tends to be. It is small wonder then that in an RPG which is part challenge, part performance, part conflict, part work, part play, and all fun, that strong connections are quick to form and long to last.

What’s under the hood?

Challenge and exploration are two aspects of RPG play that resonate with me as much now as they did when I first started decades ago. The sources of challenge and the territory to be explored has changed a lot over the years, but the thrill remains. Investigating, inventing, inverting, and instilling the meaning and matter of mythic archetypes such as good versus evil, fatal flaws, or retribution and redemption have come to mean more to me than ancient temples and lost artifacts, but even in my simplest and earliest play the games were asking us direct questions. How will you define yourself in this world? What will you dare? What will you oppose? How will people speak of you after you have gone?

Does how you play a game speak to how you live your life?

Why so serious?

I don’t know about you, but I have always been more than a few steps closer to black humor than to more common forms of levity – except in the games. There I find real laughter and quirky observation to be plentiful and to grow in the sharing. I might laugh out loud more in a single game than I do in a month, and that my friends has made all the difference.

System does matter

As an activity, I find RPGS – at least the ones that I turn to again and again – to hit that sweet spot between challenge and fun. A game well-run and well-played is a thing of beauty and deep satisfaction independent of any appreciation of whatever tales might arise when looking back over play. It is a dance of dreams, decisions, and dice, collated from collaboration and creation in ways that I cannot mirror in any other method.

Resolving interactions between declaration of action and implementation of mechanics, building believable links of action and reaction, giving color to the unseen, voice to the unheard, and texture to the unreal – what’s not to love?

A million points of view

We have all heard the adage about walking off with a person’s shoes in order to really understand them. While not all approaches to play will magnify the benefit of this exercise in perspective, the ones that do make a lasting impression. Being able to adopt a role as anything that you can imagine, and some things that you can’t imagine is an eye-opening experience if ever there was one, and this is one of the things that I enjoy most about getting into a new character.

If only you could see what I have seen with your eyes~

Tomorrow

Okay, still vague I suppose, but we will turn this question completely around tomorrow and look at what we look for in our games. That will give us some space to talk about how to recognize the things that help us get the things we love from the games that we play.

#RPGaDay 2018

This is the first week of the fifth iteration of the monthly roleplaying gaming celebration launched by Autocratik for all forms of social media. Share your responses however you prefer to share. If you want to get involved, grab and share the infographic with the prompts and jump right in!

@willbrooks1989RPG-a-Day 2018 High Contrast

Comments
2 Responses to “Day 1: #RPGaDay 2018 – “Love””
  1. Batjutsu says:

    A strong thought-provoking start to #RPGaDay2018
    I really liked the expressive list 🙂

  2. Ditto to all of this.

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