On Roleplaying

March 4, 2006

I’m a gamer. Mostly old-fashioned, pencil-and-paper, roleplaying games. I do play World of Warcraft, but my favorites are table-top RPGs.

I’ve played a lot of different games: AD&D, d20 D&D, Vampire, Werewolf, Changeling, Mage, Hunter, GURPS, 7th Sea, Shadowrun, Cyberpunk: 2020, Call of Cthulu, and some homebrew systems. Each has a different style. Each has a different mixture of rolling dice and playing roles. Sometimes these two facets are called roll-playing and role-playing.

I’ll be honest, I prefer role-playing to the alternative. If I wanted to sit around and throw pieces of plastic the whole time, I wouldn’t need to come up with worlds and stories. Don’t get me wrong, I think dice have a place in a game, but I don’t think they should be at the forefront. Consequently, I don’t like games that are heavy on combat. It doesn’t matter which system you play in, combat is inevitably the least role-playing you do in a session.

So of the games I’ve played, I tend to prefer the White Wolf World of Darkness games, my favorite being Mage (2nd Edition, in particular). It is very story heavy, and that’s what I like. The game is all about playing characters and solving problems. Sure, there’s combat, but it’s all very plot- driven. You don’t do a dungeon crawl in mage, you infiltrate the Syndicate front’s corporate headquarters to get the vitally important documents that explain the wave of mysterious drug-related deaths in the local area.

My regular gaming group wasn’t getting into Mage. Erica and I suggested that we play D&D. She and I knew that we could attempt to make D&D fun for us (by making interesting characters and roleplaying them). We’ve played a couple of sessions as of tonight and, well, the game is about what D&D usually is: a lot of rolling.

I’m trying to have fun, but between throwing down dice and looking up rules, I can’t say that there’s much room for it.

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