The Joy’s of Table Top Role Playing
For the last several years now I have spent one night a week sitting around a table at with a group of friends casting spells and slaying demonic creatures with dice. That’s right, I am a role player. If you have never experienced the magic of a role playing game, let me paint you a little picture.
There weren’t many people around when you rode your barely functioning cybernetic horse into the little town. The metal steed wasn’t constructed to withstand the desert for as long as you had been out. The town reminded you of something from an old John Wayne movie you had watched with your dad at the library, back when libraries weren’t outlawed and all the books and movies burned. Everything was dirty, the air itself seemed to carry the grit of a thousand deserts. You ran out of lemon curd half a day ago and now all you can think about is finding something to eat and drink before you pass out from exhaustion. You stroll into the broken down building with the dingy sign that says “Saloon” in barely legible, painted script.
A bell chimes to announce your arrival to the other patrons as you cross the threshold into the bar that will hopefully provide you your salvation. However, a quick glance around reveals… there are no other patrons. You walk to the bar and sit down on one of the stools there. Nothing seems out of place or unusual… except for maybe everything. Where were you? How did you get here? Where is everyone? You adjust the pistol resting comfortably in it’s holster at your side, then the sword strapped across your back. You reach over the bar and begin rummaging for something wet… when the bell of the door sounded the arrival of another guest.
“What do you think you are doing in rummaging through my bar?!” says a deep, gruff voice behind you…
Could you see it? Could you feel the dust and see the dirty streets? What do you do next? Do you try to answer the barkeeps questions and keep things civil or do you turn and draw? That is role playing.
There are a variety of worlds in which you can role play. Some games are based in a modern world, not unlike the one we live in now, except it contains demons, vampires, werewolves, and magic wielding mages. There are some worlds, like traditional Dungeon and Dragons that take place in a more traditional fantasy world complete with dwarves, elves, orcs, goblins, and of course, dungeons and dragons. Anything goes in a roleplaying game.
Part of my favorite thing about table top gaming is creating a character. I enjoy creating elaborate back stories that help to explain the weird characteristics I like to include in my character’s personality. Deciding whether or not I want to be combat focused character or a more social character presents interesting challenges during the game as once you pick one you typically don’t have the opportunity to switch any time soon.
The last thing I love about role playing is just the camaraderie of playing this type of game with friends. It’s exciting to experience all the alternate characters people you have known for a long time like to create. Most often people create a character that is quite different from their true self. After all, who doesn’t want to try their hand at being great at all the things you are normally terrible at.
I recommend you look up your local gaming shop and find a role playing night. Often you can find a group running “encounters” that are games that take considerably less time to play and can often be finished in a single night. These encounters aren’t as fun as playing a full length game, but they do provide an opportunity to meet other role players and possibly get into a longer term game.
Give it a shot and let me know what you think! If you are in the Midwest, don’t miss out on GENCON coming August 18th. For those unfortunate enough to not enjoy the magic nerdiest of nerd-con’s, never fear, I will be covering all the action live!