Weekly Question: Why do you roleplay?

Every Friday we’re going to open up the comments and our forums to asking you, the reader, questions. Then the next Friday we’ll highlight the best comments from the previous week’s discussion. Got a question you would like to pose to us or the public at large? Let us know!

Previously we asked how did you start roleplaying, and got a good number of interesting responses. One story talked about starting young and the simple addicting joy of games.

Lysander wrote: “1978. San Antonio Texas, 2:00pm, 4th grade (Yes, I’m that old). Elementary School. Mrs. Jonnie Heirholzers class (Yes, that’s her real name). She had not been feeling well the last couple of days. She said, “Free time, do what you want, but do it quietly.”

My friend John says, “Hey Mike, you like gladiators?” (Really! This was before the movie Airplane, where it has a a completely different connotation) I said “sure!”

Out comes a Microgame from Steve Jackson called ‘Melee’. It was simplistic, it had dice, maps and cool action figure picture/pieces. But to a 9 year old, it was ‘WOW’. I was hooked. John addicted me to this, which laid the foundation for D&D. Ever since them, my school work and personal relationships suffered, ‘cuz I’d be playing or writing or thinking of things for RPG’s instead of studying or trying to meet girls.

That’s my story. What a ride! Can’t wait to see what’s over the next rise…”

Thanks for story Lysander! Be sure to let us know what the next rise is!

For this week we chose a question that sounds simple but can have a breadth of responses.

Why do you role play?

Tyson J. Hayes – Playing games always sparks my imagination, especially role playing, where I can develop new personas and live out far more fantastical lives. Of course my characters tended to be counterparts of myself as I delved into what it would be like to play in a morally polarized world where there was definite good and evil with less shades of grey. Would I be the good healer? Or Chaotic Stupid warrior hell bent on destroying everything? So for me I role play because I’m allowed to do things in game that I would never do in person and then get to play out the consequences.

  • River

    I’m a story junkie. I love experiencing stories in all possible forms.

    Imagining myself into someone else’s story gives me structure for my imagination: it’s like getting to play at a friend’s house. They have different toys, a different backyard, different dress-up clothes to choose…

    In contrast, creating my own story gives me the ultimate freedom…but sometimes it can be tough to decide what exactly I want to be playing with.

    Roleplaying is the best possible intersection of experiencing someone else’s story AND getting to tell a story of my own. What I do influences everyone else – and everyone else influences the choices that I make. To extend my metaphore: I get to invite all my friends over, and we all bring our favorite toys.

  • River

    I’m a story junkie. I love experiencing stories in all possible forms.

    Imagining myself into someone else’s story gives me structure for my imagination: it’s like getting to play at a friend’s house. They have different toys, a different backyard, different dress-up clothes to choose…

    In contrast, creating my own story gives me the ultimate freedom…but sometimes it can be tough to decide what exactly I want to be playing with.

    Roleplaying is the best possible intersection of experiencing someone else’s story AND getting to tell a story of my own. What I do influences everyone else – and everyone else influences the choices that I make. To extend my metaphore: I get to invite all my friends over, and we all bring our favorite toys.

  • Jeff Carlsen

    @River: You bring up an interesting subject, which is the lockup incurred by having too many options. Most sandbox games fall apart because the players don’t know what they want to do. All that freedom leads to inaction, whereas providing limited choices prompts excitement and action.

    Essentially, you’re using roleplaying as a way past writer’s block. I approve.

  • Jeff Carlsen

    @River: You bring up an interesting subject, which is the lockup incurred by having too many options. Most sandbox games fall apart because the players don’t know what they want to do. All that freedom leads to inaction, whereas providing limited choices prompts excitement and action.

    Essentially, you’re using roleplaying as a way past writer’s block. I approve.

  • http://spyderzt.blogspot.com/ Spyder Z

    I love telling stories and creating worlds. Just walking down the road I’ll see something that begins to germinate into a story of it’s own (Sometimes not even really related to it’s origin. ;P ). Roleplaying allows me the opportunity to tell these stories, and share that experience with others telling their stories as well. ^.^

  • http://spyderzt.blogspot.com/ Spyder Z

    I love telling stories and creating worlds. Just walking down the road I’ll see something that begins to germinate into a story of it’s own (Sometimes not even really related to it’s origin. ;P ). Roleplaying allows me the opportunity to tell these stories, and share that experience with others telling their stories as well. ^.^