I bought my first set of polyhedral dice in 1995 or so. A plain set of Chessex opaque, blue with white numbers. I still have it, sans a d20. (Which I just ordered a replacement for on Monday.) a short time prior to that, I had purchased a lone d10, and a pair of d6s so I could play in a Cyberpunk 2020 campaign I had found at The Gamer’s Realm, a gaming store in West Windsor, New Jersey.
A year or so of Cyberpunk 2020, still my favorite setting… A sprinkling of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd Edition… A couple years of Shadowrun… A bit of a run-in with D&D 4th Ed which never really went anywhere… As much as I like RPGs, I haven’t played anywhere near my fill. Something I hope to remedy. However, as little as I actually get to play, I still enjoy the games themselves and the social experiences they represent. I guess you could say I enjoy them as much in theory as in practice.
You sit down around a table with a bunch of people, some of whom are your friends, some of whom you may be meeting for the first time and will become friends, and you share a story. The setting and plot are the responsibility of the GM/DM/Referee but it is up to you, the players, to decide how events unfold…assuming the dice do what you want. (Protip: Don’t get your hopes up.)
Random = Fun
The dice are what make it real. Because of the addition of random chance, players often experience the same range of failure, success, tragedy, triumph, frustration, and relief that they would if the events were actually happening. And yet, even the worst night of roleplaying is often more enjoyable than the best night sitting at home by yourself.
Variety is the spice of…Roleplaying
It can be a very compelling medium when properly executed. Flexible, as well: there is a roleplaying game for pretty much any taste. From the extremes of past and future, to present day, and everything in between. Reality-based, alternate-reality, historical, literary…cartoon! Steampunk, Cyberpunk, Lovecraftian, Space Opera, Anime! Serious and dramatic, action movie, light-hearted, slapstick! Anything is possible between the different settings that are out there, and how the GM wants to portray it.
Tabletop RPGs Versus Videogames
Roleplaying is often maligned as something childish and/or nerdy, and yet videogames are orders of magnitude more accepted. Why is that? What’s the difference between the two? I’ll tell you what the difference is: RPG players can’t find videogames with the richness and depth of the average tabletop roleplaying game. It’s like playing a game that taps directly into the imagination of you and the people around you. Videogames take place on the SCREEN, while RPGs take place in your IMAGINATION. Now you tell ME which one has better graphics, yeah?
MMORPGs have come the closest so far, but they’re still a long ways off, and I’m not even sure some aspects can BE replicated in any other medium. As of yet, nothing really matches sitting around a table with a bunch of people, rolling dice, carrying on, and enjoying yourselves.
And with that, I introduce the Tabletop RPG section.