Buckle up, we are going to talk about Roleplaying Games or RPGs as they are more commonly referred to (and let’s be honest, easier to type). There are a few different RPG categories. The one that I am most familiar with is the tabletop version a.k.a pencil and paper RPGs (the Dungeons and Dragons variety). The other two are Live action role play, LARP, and multi media online roleplaying games, MMORPGs (the World of Warcraft variety). I’m going to focus more on the pencil and paper variety, because those are the kinds I play. There are so many geeky pursuits in this life, a girl has to narrow them down or she will drive herself crazy trying to keep up.
What I like best about RPGs is their social and creative aspect. At least once a week I get to sit down at a table with my character, a pencil, and my Imagination.
Not to mention some totally badass gamer friends and one Game Master. Here is the basic premise of RPGs.
There is a Game-master/Dungeon-master GM/DM; he/she is the ones who creates the story that the characters will be playing in. They are essentially their own Gods, who control your fate. It sounds scary (or a good way for someone with an ego trip to take their anger out on the puny peasants), but for the most parts GMs want you to succeed. The GM sets up adventures for you to go on, and generally wants to see your character do awesome fun stuff. Things like defeating the bad guy, taking down an evil regime, recovering the prince/princes, etc., etc., etc. There are thousands of things you could be adventuring for, and I think it would be pretty boring for the GM if everyone just died quickly. So that’s the GMs role. A quick note on GM vs. DM; I’ve heard Dungeon Master used specifically for Dungeons & Dragons games, while GM is used for basically every other game. No one is going to be upset if you interchange the two.
Now onto the actual players. It is the player’s job to create a character and participate in the world that the GM has set forth. Most of the time you are adventurers, so a sense of adventure is key. If someone were to come knock on your door right now and say, “Quick grab everything you need for two weeks of camping and hunting down bad guys,” you would probably slam the door in their face. Well door slamming is not really an option when you are an adventurer. You have to have this attitude: “Great! I happen to have all the stuff I need in this magical backpack, let me get my cloak!”. From there you set out with your adventuring buds, most likely to find treasure, danger, and monsters (basically all the cool things in life). Then it is up to you and your fellow adventurers to solve whatever problem has been put in front of you.
That’s pretty much it. Simple right? Okay there’s obviously more to it then that. There are rules within each system you have to operate within, but that is best left to either reading the books or talking to someone who is already familiar with gaming. I highly recommend finding people to game with and having someone walk you through character creation. Every person I’ve met in the RPG community has been welcoming, informative, and kind when I ask 17000 questions about everything. Most people want to share their knowledge and get more people involved in the community. Spoiler alert- it’s a lot of dudes. However, every person I’ve met in this community has been pretty amazing. That is part of the reason why I’m writing this and starting the blog. I would love to see more people (especially women) get involved!
Wherever you are, I encourage you to reach out to your local gaming community. A google search, asking some geeky friends, or even visiting your local game store will probably yield some results. Find a game you can join, or someone willing to teach you to play. I promise you won't regret it! You get to learn something new, use your imagination, and build your problem solving skills. You’d be surprised how figuring out how to infiltrate the empires army base and finding a hidden USB in an old theater and then getting out with your life translate into problem solving skills in your everyday life. It has been one of the biggest confidence builders I have ever tried. I encourage you to give it a chance, I cannot say enough good things about RPGs. They do come in all flavors not just the medieval variety, so whatever your interest there is probably an RPG out there for you. Here is the list of games I’m currently in. I’ll keep you up to date as they change:
A Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition Thule game
A Star Wars: Age of Rebellion Game (this game just ended, and I'm quite heartbroken over it)
A D&D 5th edition Eberron game
A Laundry game (the Cthulu universe)
Shortly I will be starting a 2nd edition 7th Sea game
This seems like a lot, but most games are either bi-weekly or in the case of the Eberron game and the Laundry game we are switching games between each story arc. The 7th sea game will probably meet less regularly. You can do it as often or infrequently as you can get 3-7 people together (planning around peoples schedules is usually the trickiest part of gaming).
I will share more stories and characters from these games, let me know what games you are in or if you have any questions in the comments.