Adventures in Role-Playing: What is Role-Playing?

Originally posted 2016-03-20 12:00:14.

I have been tabletop role-playing since I was 14 years old. Now at almost 30 (BOO!), it is something that has become second nature to me. I love creating characters, building personalities, and becoming a different person. For many this is something that is foreign and might seem silly, but to a great many of us role-players, we use this as an escape into a new world, one designed and shaped for  us by lovely storytellers. *** Quick shout out to all the storytellers out there. You all spend a ton of your personal time into creating a game for others. You deserve all the thanks and cookies! *** In this new series, Adventures in Role-playing, I want to explore role-playing and break it down to give non-role-players a glimpse into the role-playing world and to talk about something that has shaped who I am today.


Let’s start at the beginning, what is role-playing? According to the Oxford English Dictionary, role-playing is “the changing of one’s behavior to fulfill a social role.” This might seem a bit off base, but look at what we can use role-playing as a definition for: theater, children’s make-believe, training, military, and of course role-playing games. Each of these requires a person to take who they are and change their behavior in order to fit the scene. Whether a child is playing house with their best friend or a man pretends to be the Pirate King in a play, these are both examples of role-playing. As long as you are changing yourself in some fundamental way, you are role-playing. This might even be something you do at work or school without even thinking about it (really though, let your nerd flag fly, it is best to just be who you really are!).


When it comes to role-playing games, there are many types that people can join. You have the digital experience with MMORPGs (Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game), the pen and paper experience with tabletop role-playing, and the acting out experience with LARPing (Live Action Role Playing). Luckily for all of you, I have done all of these things! I have slayed dragons in World of Warcraft, overtook a dungeon in D&D, and became the Vampire Prince(ess) of the city in a World of Darkness Vampire LARP.  There is no right or wrong way to play a game.


For me, I enjoy tabletop the best. Games like Dungeons and Dragons (D&D), World of Darkness (WoD), and Rifts have always been my go to games. I love getting with my group and playing in an intricate plot where dragons want to unite or demons want to destroy the world. I even love storytelling these games. I am currently running a WoD game where I have five players trying to change the fate of the Shifter world. (Seriously, check us out on YouTube or on our Podcast). I enjoy playing in these games even more! I can become a battle ready Cleric with a massive tower shield and tank dragons, praying my team destroys the thing fast enough before it eats through my 90 health points. Or I can be a Goddess in Rifts where I am trying hard to save everyone and blow bad things up with my guns! (These games we are currently live streaming and posting them to YouTube and as Podcasts. Check out D&D here and Rifts here!)


But these types of games might not be fore you. Some of you are more comfortable hacking and slashing some bad guys from your PC or dressing up as your character and acting out this whole new person. The choice is yours! With the ever-growing technology, we have the ability to do more than before with gaming. Currently, over half of my players for my WoD game are not sitting in the same room as me. Who would have thought this would happen? But with these advances we are able to find people who are interested in role-playing but might not have ever found a group to try it with and pull them down into our fictional world.


With this blog series I want to talk about all aspects of role-playing from creating a character to how to make a dungeon. I will be featuring guest authors who want to share their role-playing experience and expertise with you!


Interested in writing about role-playing? Email us at [email protected] for more information!

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I am a 29 year old from Pennsylvania. I am married to a wonderful husband and we have two children both named after super heroes! A girl who is 4 and a boy who is 1. Most of my time is spent working, being a mom, and gaming.