Today’s topic is about one of my current favourite pastimes: roleplaying games. I am referring to the tabletop variant, where you sit around a table and play a game; in contrast to the rpg videogames. The popularity of D&D has come back. A show like Critical Role from Geek and Sundry is a main reason, but Stranger Things also helped I think. Btw watch Critical Role on YouTube, there are many many hours of roleplaying fun to be seen.
Rpg’s, mainly Dungeons&Dragons, fascinated me as a kid. It started with the cartoon in the eighties, which can be found completly on Youtube nowadays and I suggest you watch it. It’s campy fun but with some nods to the RPG. Next to that I had those choose your own adventures books by Ian Livingstone and Steve Jackson where you are on an adventure and you have to choose correctly to end up with the good ending. I saw the D&D books in the library and the covers mesmerised me. But alas, I knew no one who played it, so I played the next best thing: Hero Quest. A board game where one of the players is the Dungeon Master and the rest adventurers where you play out scenarios on a board. I have fond memories of this board game.
The first steps
My first experience with actually playing D&D was when I was at University in my second year. A friend introduced me to a group who played the third edition. Me being in that group didn’t last long because of various reasons, but I got the taste of it. I played some different things, like Vampire as well but I always have come back to D&D. Currently it’s the fifth edition, the game is more than 40 years old but has never felt so fresh. It’s accessible to new fans and a warm welcome to long time players.
Theatre of the Mind
The main reason why I like roleplaying so much: it’s a great way to go on an adventure with friends and explore new worlds with nothing more than a book and some dice. You can create backstories for your characters and flesh them out. While you do this and play with them for a while, they become a part of you. You want be a Halfling Rogue: done. Or a Dwarven Wizard: done. You can explore cities, go out in the wild or explore dungeons and hope for epic encounters or legendary loot.
I even took the next step and became a Dungeon Master. I’m the one who guides the players and pulls them in the unknown world and guides them. I love it! Players use their fantasy to visualize everything, the so-called Theatre of the Mind, and I get to build it for them. You can play out your fantasy novels and even recreate your favourite worlds, maybe not with the D&D system, but you can always look. I even found a homemade Pokemon Rpg. If I got you interested with my short piece, there are a few ways to start playing or learn more about it.
- Watch Critical Role on YouTube. Mattyhew Mercer is a supreme DM and the show represents the roleplaying genre really well.
- Ask around if you know people who play it.
- Go to D20 and join an online group. You can play with players all over the world and it’s for newbies to veterans.
- Go to your local Gameshop, maybe they have a group or they play a game once a week. Or inform about other options: there are also board game version sof famous D&D campaigns.
Have a great day and never stop dreaming and venture forth!