A whole week of daily posts. This is kind of a big deal for me! It’s nice to have something like #RPGaDay to keep up the momentum. Weekends are always the hardest for me as they tend to be the busiest, and while this weekend was no exception I was able to find time in the evenings to get up a new post. And now, on to Day 7!
7) What aspect of RPGs has had the biggest affect on you?
The biggest draw that keeps me coming back to tabletop RPGs again and again can be summed up in a simple word: storytelling. I love stories, and I love creating and sharing stories. The ability to weave a tale of adventuring glory, of swords and sorcery, and heroic deeds and dastardly villains, with a group of people – often close friends – has had the biggest affect on me on both a personal and professional level.
For, at the end of the day, what do physical things matter? Not much, really. We surround ourselves with material things, and I am certainly no different there – I love collecting books and games of all sorts. But always I try to keep an eye towards how can I use this in a story. For generations and generations, humanity has survived and thrived because we can share stories with one another, whether it’s about a danger that needs to avoided, a lesson to be learned, or about that time the party of heroes broke into Orcus’ palace and stole his wand. These are the things that stick with us long after the dice stop rolling.
Writing a novel or short story scratches this itch, to a certain degree, but in those circumstances I am creating the narrative and responses wholly in my own imagining. Playing an RPG lets me cut loose with some wild ideas and throw them out for other people to react to – did they glom on to the plot hook about the pirate ghosts or did they go “meh”? When the dice start flying and things get dirty, players come up with some amazingly inventive ways to “win” and defeat the bad guys, often taking me completely by surprise. I’ve learned over the years not to pre-judge how I think a combat is going to go, my players always find a way to surprise me (both good and bad!).
This shared storytelling experience is the aspect of RPGs that has affected me the greatest, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. It’s the reason I write modules and adventures, and the reason I belly up to the table week after week.