I don’t pretend to speak for anyone else but me and the little gremlin that lives in the—actually, no, just for me. Why is it that I’ve spent so many hours of my teenage and adult life sitting around with other people making up stories, carrying on imaginary love affairs, fighting plastic or metal avatars of creatures and placing characters in harm’s way?
I think it comes down to Story, with a capital S. As long as I can remember, I’ve had a need for storytelling and story reading. My grandfather told me fantastical tales about a rabbit with three legs on one side and fourteen on the other. My father told me stories about Br’er Rabbit and Br’er Bear. My mother read to me while I was still in the womb. Telling stories is a part of my life, and roleplaying gaming allows me to share that love of story creation with friends.
Roleplaying is also an outlet for creativity. I’ve learned that when I am not running a game (or game-mastering, in layman’s terms), I’m more inclined to write, usually a novel. When I’m working on a novel, that part of my creative need is taken up and I don’t have the mental wherewithal to create a game world.
Finally, it’s just plain fun to kill monsters and take their stuff. After a week of work where you’re not always in control of what you do, losing yourself for a few hours in the skin of a stalwart hero whose longsword and virtue save the kingdom is enjoyable. Rather than passively absorbing the story someone else is telling on television or in a video, I like to engage with others on a quest to improve the world, even if it’s virtually.
That’s why I like to play.
What about you? Do you enjoy roleplaying games? Ever felt the need to engage in Story? I welcome your comments below!