What the fuck do we have in this world except for moments with each other? – Vax’ildan (Critical Role)
I read this article by Forbes and figured I should do some kind of post about why I love tabletop RPGs (roleplaying games). Dungeons & Dragons especially has been a big part in most of my life and something that has been a creative outlet even when I haven’t felt creative, if you know what I mean. I am still a wiz at creating characters (and still boast on being able to create a Rogue in the 3.5 Edition of D&D in under 15 minutes…) and love creating characters, backstories, and NPCs.
Now I’m also taking up the challenge of creating my own campaign (and the world, but with a lot of existing bases to make life easier) and I’m a bit nervous. I love the idea that I have and have already created the main few plot points that create the first story arc, but there’s plenty to do before it’s ready for my players.
So why do I do this? Why does Game Mastering (GMing) feel so special to me?
First of all, it is what connects me with quite a few of my friends who are the absolute best people in the world. It’s something that has let me bond with people who I didn’t know when I was anxious and feeling alone a few years ago. It’s a huge connecting point for me on the internet that has also led me to other hobbies and communities that are completely unrelated.
I also think that it has made me a better person. You learn a lot about teamwork, empathy and listening to others if you are in a good D&D environment. Problem-solving skills, handling information and figuring out what is important in a situation also pop up quite often in the game. Obviously, it also lets you evolve creatively by creating characters, who they are, where they come from and what they do in the story that you create together.
There are also so many games out there that you are very likely to find one that suits you. You can do, quite literally, anything with tabletop RPGs with just a bit of imagination. Modifying a system to fit your needs can be a bit of a struggle in the beginning, but with a bit of research, you usually find people who have already done what you are looking for. If not, somebody might have ideas and insights that let you figure out how to rework a system or create your own based on something you like.
If you don’t feel like leading your own game you can usually, with a bit of digging, find a group that plays somewhere near you. It’s a great chance to get to know new people with something obvious in common.
I also love how the tabletop scene is becoming more and more inclusive. The stereotype of a group of men playing in a basement is slowly starting to change as the scene is catching up with the times. Not everyone is, of course, happy about it and the internet especially can still be a creepy and horrible place. I am very thankful though as the companies themselves are starting to make statements in their materials for the better.
That is also one reason why I am picking up GMing again. I have been seeing more and more women who actually lead games so it has brought up the motivation again. I also feel like I have an idea that has to be played and experienced by players and not just sit around hiding in a corner.
Another reason why I especially why I love tabletop games is that you create a story together. Once you settle into a campaign the feelings get very real, at least for me, and I love it. I get to experience love, sorrow, terrible loss and sweet, sweet victory with these amazing people. There are so many memorable moments that they deserve their own post. That is just in our current campaign!
GMing gives me the chance to share that experience with other people. I will be running a homebrew (self-made) campaign for more seasoned players, but also a pre-made campaign to new players. I am truly hoping that these games will last and not just die out due to scheduling issues or other plagues that kill off campaigns.
I also want to add to the positive parts of the community by leading a game. I want to be able to get people to know that same happiness that I feel when I see that I have a game scheduled in my calendar. So that others can laugh at jokes among players and have those life-changing moments play out in front of them in a safe environment.
Speaking of having a scheduled game, we’re having what is looking like a grande finale combat for this story arc tonight. Our plan is amazing, but there are a lot of cultists and demons waiting for us… I am absolutely terrified that my post about my favorite moments in our campaign is going to include a funeral.
May the odds be ever in our favor.