When someone creates a character they may not understand that they are creating a completely separate entity. There are new players who will try and base a character off themselves, but there will always come a point where the player has to let the character take over. This is because they have been but in an impossible or unthinkable situation.
This can help people learn how to act and or express themselves in new ways. It allows for people to try and recognize or understand how they will act in similar situations. It makes you think about that which most people might never consider.
An examples might help to get this point across. Vinnie was an up and coming gangster, when his world was turned upside down when he was turned into a vampire. Then as a vampire he gained the amazing power of illusions and this power grew until his illusions could become reality. Of course he had to do some inconceivable things such as killing and drinking blood and other such things. His amazing illusion powers however turned him into a paranoid schizophrenic because he could no longer tell illusion from reality while at the same time being employed as a puppet leader for the vampire group he had been adopted into.
Now imagine if you had been the player of Vinnie. Having to go through all of these inconceivable scenarios, would you have attempted to steer the character away from these events, rolled with the punches, or attempt to go beyond what happened?
When someone plays a table-top game they must create a character for their game. However, some one shots will have pre-made characters, but we are going to focus on player made characters today. Most DMs will ask for a back story for these characters, this allows for the player to think of what it is that their character has done throughout their lives in the game world. This allows for a player to begin to understand their character.
Some may wonder, “If someone created a character why do they need to understand them.” While it is true that the player does make the character and therefore the player should know everything about the character. However, in a vast majority of cases a player will have to wonder, would my character would do this or how would my character react in this situation. There are also plenty of times were a character will end up going in a completely separate direction from the player’s initial goals.
It is surprising how many people are interested in table top gaming once they have been exposed to it. Due to previous ideas related with gaming, many people believe that gaming is not for them for many reasons. This can be anywhere from “Dungeons and Dragons is for nerds” or that it has to steep of a learning curve for someone to join. Statements like this are both true and false.
The idea that dungeons and dragons is for nerds or geeks is a common idea, in middle and high schools and is mostly a said as a bullying tactic. However, some very famous people play table top games such as Wil Wheaton and Vin Diesel. So in retrospect it comes down to your definition of a nerd/geek.
Some tabletop games do have a rather steep learning curve, but this depends on the system/ game type. However, it is rather difficult to find a gaming group that is not more than ready help new people learn a system and bring them into a game. There are also one-shot campaigns that are held at conventions or large gatherings. A one shot is when an experienced story teller will have pre made characters for new people to use (this negates the 2-3 hour process of creating a character for a new party) and allows them to experience a very condensed version of a table top system.
With each genre of gaming there is a line that one can follow through history, to times before they became what they are today or even existed. However let’s stick to table-top role playing games. The idea of a TT-RPG is to create a mythological or futuristic creature and assume the characteristics of that character, as the Game Master/ Dungeon Master/ Storyteller paints a picture for the players. That picture is the world the characters must explore and interact with to continue the assumed creatures main goal.
Knowing this it might become apparent that these kind of activities happened long before modern times. A more well known system for what was just explained are plays or nowadays TV shows. The director creates the world and the actors explore and interact with the world while the audience is a passenger on the journey. There are also other similar games played out among certain groups such as mock training for jobs or military organizations. These all came long before 1974 with the initial release of modern day TT-RPGs Dungeons and Dragons.
This is not a philosophical question, but it is defiantly interesting to hear how many different answers there are to this question. One of the first thing someone will think about when this question is asked is, what experiences with games they have had. From board games, to card games, word association, video games, sports or other forms of competition, to table-top role playing games, and many more. Gaming has always been a part of our society, however certain archetypes of gaming have drawn negative connotations in recent history.
Video games are at the for front of headlines in the most negative of ways. Video games have been called an addiction and have been blamed for violent actions of the mentally unwell. However, they are not the first form of gaming to be viewed in this light. Table top role playing games (RPGs) have been and still are seen by some as gateways to satanism and devil worship, due to the culture of the time when heavy metal and drug use were linked to satanism and table top worship was a pass time of those who par took in that music kind of music and substance abuse. This was in part due to fanatical church goers who chose not to try and understand their children but rather condemn them in public as devil worshipers.
The point of this blog is mostly to help those who do not understand gaming culture and for those who are already a part of it to have an area for discussions on these subjects. The subjects will not be this dark in the future, but it is a good attention grabber.