I’ve been a roleplayer for most of my life, well over 2 decades and before that I played wargames and before that I watched Dungeons and Dragons the cartoon. Even before I know what roleplaying was I was roleplaying, running around the school yard pretending to be Hank the Ranger, or a Transformer or a Thundercat.
I can’t think of an aspect of my life that hasn’t, in some way, been influenced by roleplaying, whether it’s writing this blog, the books I read, the TV shows and movies I enjoy, hell even the friends I have. Ask my wife and she’d probably say that the part thats had the biggest impact is the sheer amount of stuff released (and that I seem to be compelled to buy). Through it all though, the same aspect of roleplaying has had the biggest impact on me and it is the very thing that drew me to the hobby in the first place, storytelling.
Way back, before I knew RPGs were a thing, I played Heroquest, a GW game produced by MB Games and in that I played a mage and that mage developed into a character as the story of the campaign developed. Later, a friend introduced me to Dragonlance and it was those stories that made me want to create my own.
The storytelling of RPG’s lets me live and and experience in worlds beyond ours, worlds where the impossible is an everyday occurrence and where I feel what it’s like to be someone else. In the same way as actors like to step into the shoes of the character, be they hero or villain, I like to do the same, to explore what it’s like be someone else and do things that I would never normally consider doing, even if they were possible.
Not all of those things are heroic or good, but within a safe space, with my friends, we can explore the stories of the various heroes and villains of a world and collaboratively tell their story. Playing a villain can be a very cathartic experience, taking frustrations harmlessly and helping to build the greater story of the campaign and, more so, an effective, memorable villain makes the story, if you don’t believe me just watch Game of Thrones.
I still read, still watch films and TV, play computer games and more and in all cases my favourite thing is the story, how characters and events evolve and expand to become a cohesive whole within the context of their setting. Everything is about the story for me, from the things I choose to watch to the things I choose to do, above all, it’s the story that matters and that comes from Roleplaying.