Friday, June 5, 2020

Discussion: Why Do You Play Table Top RPGS?

Why do you play Table Top RPGs? What drew you to the hobby? What latched on and wouldn't let you go? Is it just a fun game and mental exercise, or is there something more to it for you?

Shocking no one, for me it is a bit more than that. Gaming is a big part of my life. I spend a lot of my free time - and even some stolen time during work and other things - thinking about game, and how I can do a better job at GMing or playing to make things better for my players and friends. Hell, it's why this blog exists. I wanted a place to get my thoughts down.

For me, I game for three major reasons: Escape, Exploration, and Agency.

I game as Escape as my preferred way to get away from the real world and the stresses therein. Whether it is the world being on fire like it is now, personal stresses, work stresses, or whatever else is going on int he world, I like being able to escape into the imagination with friends and acquaintances where my problems are different, and at times I can throw a sword at them.

I game as Exploration to explore concepts or ideas in my mind, and to try and find alternative viewpoints. I'll never know what it is like to live life as a different person, race, profession, or in a different time. However, I can - through the lens of a character - try to recreate some aspects of it and try to see things from those perspectives. How does the world look to someone who was raised in isolation where the threats that go bump in the night are very real? There are other things too. I've used gaming to explore my depression and other emotions with the right groups, and I've helped people work through other problems with gaming. It's not something to foist on people unawares - and not with groups you don't trust implicitly - but it can be done.

Finally I game as a form of seeking agency. This goes along with Escape, but so many problems we face in the real world are just beyond us. There is nothing I can do to solve the real problems that face the world and stress me out today, but in an RPG I can. Problems there are more manageable - or the PCs are more powerful. Good can prevail over evil. Things that are impossible can become not only possible but probable if worked at. It is definitely a draw.

How about you? What brings you back to the table?

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