Why I Love Roleplaying
- It's telling a story, but with other people. I love writing things by myself. But I also love writing with other people, seeing what happens when different people work together to tell one story. Each person has a different view on the situation, different expectations on how it'll go, different ideas for the story they're trying to tell. Put those together and you get something special- something that never would've happened without collaboration. And while sometimes those differences can end up being explosive . . . more often than not, they turn into something pretty awesome.
- It teaches you to improvise. In a novel, you're in control. No matter what you say about characters surprising you, you're the one who creates the plot and tells them where to go. In a roleplay, it's a different story. You can't know what the other players will throw in your way, what the other characters will do. You have your own characters and, depending on who- if anyone- is running the story, certain plot elements. And so when your roleplaying partner (who happens to be the GM of this particular plot in all but name) throws your Jedi against four scarily powerful Sith ghosts (not all at the same time, thankfully) and everything those Sith and the traitor who let them out can come up with . . . well, you learn to think your way out of situations you never would've come up with on your own.
- It teaches you how to plan (and to write convincing villains). On the other hand, if you happen to be the one largely driving the plot, well, you need to be able to plan ahead- at least a little bit. Otherwise, you'll find yourself spending a lot of time stalling while you try to figure out where to go, and that's the best way to kill a roleplay. And you need to be able to write a good villain- one who'll raise the other players' interest and who'll give them a good fight before going down, but who is possible to defeat . . . one way or another.
- It gives you ideas for your own stories. I'm sure I've said it before: at least half my characters owe their origins, one way or another, to roleplay threads. The Battle! thread, one of the longest-running roleplays I've ever been a part of, gave birth to my Berstru Tales novels and the Alyron and Firhirt families that make up most of the characters in those stories. And some of those characters came from other roleplays before Battle!; Jared Alyron in particular- along with Jason Silver and Jarek Gilleth- came from Jared Siver, a character on a dying roleplay who I just couldn't seem to let go of (and still can't). Outside of my own experience, I know that two or three of my other friends (including the one who came up with the four Sith ghosts) have written or are writing their own books based on roleplay threads.
- On the other hand, it's a good testing ground for your ideas. For example, there's the New Generation- an idea I came up with after I watched The Avengers for the first time. What happens when the government decides the existing superheroes are too inclined to be loose cannons? When they decide to try to create their own heroes, more loyal to them than the originals? I thought of writing it as a fanfic or a novel- but I had enough projects going on already, and I knew next to nothing about writing superheroes anyway. But the next summer, there came a surge of superhero threads . . . and so I grabbed the opportunity to test my idea, and I think it's turned out pretty well.
Have you ever roleplayed? If you have, what are some of your favorite roleplaying memories? Please tell me in the comments!
Thanks for reading!
-Sarah (Leilani Sunblade)