Not completely unpopular

SpeakGeek: The Roleplaying Moment

Blog number two for Speak Out With Your Geek Out week will talk about one of my favorite hobbies: roleplaying games. I have other posts about roleplaying on the site (like this one) but I’d like to ask the question what do you think about when someone says roleplaying?

Like most people, you probably think about the venerable Dungeons and Dragons games that have lived for so long. Of course, that’s the entry point for most people, as it was for me. I started with the Red Box, moved to Second Edition, then Advanced D&D (my favorite I think), and from there a host of different systems.

Didn’t know there were other games out there? Oh yes, there are many and most of them are boatloads of fun. Let me talk about two of them.

I loved playing the first Star Wars role playing game. Loved it. With a good game master, you could really capture the feel of a space opera, doing daring rescues and facing off against the evil Empire. The system was pretty easy as well. Instead of a d20 system, it was all six sided dice and your actions were determined with a simple skill determination. For each skill, you can roll a certain number of six sided dice and the GM determines what number you need to roll to succeed. It keeps the game moving quickly and not bogged down with too many rules. The current iteration is close to this system.

Another game I loved playing was Paranoia. The rules are bit more complicated and you are instructed not to get too attached to your character or your clones as they will die. It’s a dark comedy game and you are encouraged to screw your other players who are trying to screw you. You have to be a bit underhanded about it and you have to basically mistrust anyone else playing including the GM. A successful game completes when pretty much everyone’s characters (and their clones) have perished in amusing ways and everyone at the table is laughing. There’s not a lot of characterization, but it’s not needed.

Those are just two game systems out there. There’s a lot more, something for everyone and every taste. Role playing is making something of a resurgence and finding a good game is easier than ever.

The best thing about role playing is the memories it creates. Not only of some really amazing game moments, the kind of things you quote with your friends years later and laugh about those game situations, but the friends you create and creative people who are drawn to it.

What do you think about role playing games?


  1. I never really got there with table top games. I’ve had plenty of times when I’ve been almost there. My first real taste of what it means to be in-character didn’t happen until I started LARPing though. Now, I think I get those moments a lot. I haven’t played a good table top game in years. It might be different now that I am a more experienced RPer, instead of just a teenager playing in a hack and slash dungeon crawl.

  2. Thanks for your comment M.A.

    The tricky thing about tabletop RPGs is finding a person who is good at running a game. I’ve been in a couple of games where the game master is pretty much running a power trip and will try to force the players to do something they don’t want. At the very least, a good GM will try to make the game fun for everyone as there’s so many different play styles. I like doing some role playing, but what I really enjoy is some strategy in the game. Some people love the hack and slash game. If you find someone who is talented enough to incorporate multiple personalities into her story, a tabletop RPG is loads of fun.

    I’ve been tempted to try a LARP game and one of these days, I think I’ll take the plunge. It does sound fun.

  3. I’ve played many roleplaying games over the years (and still play to this day)! And I agree about the memories – there are so many stupid stories (and great ones, too) I could tell from all my years roleplaying. 🙂

  4. Hey Shauna! Good to know yet another RPG gamer.

    Holy cow, I’ve got some stories about weird little things that happen in games. And I have to admit, I’m one of those guys who stretches the bounds of what the rules mean. Sometimes the GM rolls his/her eyes and let’s that action fail, but on occasion, they may go “that sounds cool so I’m going to roll with it”. Love those times.

  5. Does this ring a bell?

    “You wake up naked in a field… and all of your items are gone,”

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