Friday, January 22, 2016

Why I Love Roleplaying

I love roleplays. If you and I have met on a forum, or on Goodreads, you might know that already; the roleplay threads are where you'll find me posting the most. I love it as much as I love writing- maybe more at times, since it combines some of the best parts of both reading and writing: the excitement of finding out what'll happen next, the thrill of creating characters and a story. But that's not the only reason I love to roleplay . . . and this week, I'm going to tell you why.

Why I Love Roleplaying

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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. 
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
Of course, there's one last, very simple reason I love roleplaying: it's just plain fun to come up with characters and see them interact with each other and with the challenges you put in their way. It's one of the same reasons I enjoy writing.

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)  

16 comments:

  1. I got my start roleplaying on The Battle! thread. :D I wasn't very good at the time, but it was still really fun.
    I think the best roleplay battle I ever had was the CrossWorlds battle, which took place in a world-between-worlds, and used characters originating from all sorts of fantasy realms. (I think you were the one who came up with that setting.) Anyway, that one rolled out really well, without getting slow or dying halfway through. We came to a believable conclusion. :D

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    1. I remember both of those. The CrossWorlds one was pretty awesome. And I'm not just saying that because I was indeed the one who came up with it. Or because I played the villains and I think I did a halfway decent job. :D

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    2. You did do a really good job as the villain- and as your hero characters as well. :D I had a lot of fun polishing my action-writing skills in that one as well.

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    3. Danke! :D I remember that you did a great job with your charries as well.

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  2. I was always politely discouraged from anything resembling roleplaying while growing up... Now I really want to try it, but I don't know how to break in to that culture. Any thoughts?

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    1. I'll happily give you thoughts . . . but a question first: what kind of RPGs were you discouraged from? If it's tabletop RPGs, I can't really help- I've never done those either, though I want to. If it's the online forum RPGs, the first step is to find a forum with a decent RPing community. (Whitehall (http://heedtheprophecies.proboards.com/board/1/whitehall-castle-forums) is pretty awesome, if I do say so myself- and there's roleplays on Goodreads as well, though you have to be careful there.)

      Then, look for a roleplay that interests you and ask if you can join. If possible, I recommend reading through previous posts in the roleplay to get an idea of the story/style/characters/etc. After that, you just introduce your characters (making sure they're appropriate to the setting) and start writing. It's pretty simple.

      One thing to keep in mind, though . . . roleplaying is a commitment. You don't have to post every day if you don't have time, but you should try to post regularly and let people know if you're going to disappear for a longer period of time. Trust me: long, unexplained absences are the best way to annoy other roleplayers. But if you post regularly and put thought into your posts, you'll be fine.

      Hope this helps!

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    2. Thank you, Sarah! : D I'll check out these options.

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    3. You're welcome! Hope you can get into it!

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  3. Hello, Sarah! I'm Athelas, the person assigned to give you a prompt for Rachelle O'Neil's Flash Fiction Challenge (also, I regularly read your blog, but I think this is my first comment. So, hello! :p).

    Your Prompt is: "But even professional assassins have hearts and mothers." (Source: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/567946202982590868/) You can use those exact words in your Flash Fiction Piece, or just write something inspired by the sentence; it's up to you! Your limit is the typical 1000 word limit. I can't wait to see what you write from this. Have fun! :D

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    1. Hello, Athelas! Can I just say: I love your name?

      Regarding the prompt . . . YES. :D You just gave me permission to explore on paper an idea I've been stewing over for a while. The trick will be keeping it within 1000 words. xD Thanks!

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    2. *just stalking the comments and oh my goodness I'm really excited to see what you do with this prompt* :D

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  4. I've never roleplayed before, but it sounds so cool! Definitely a great way to interact with people and fangirl about a series. :) Thanks for sharing and, as always, fabulous post! ♥

    ~ Zoe @ Stories on Stage

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    1. Heh. Actually, not a lot of fangirling goes on in roleplays . . . though I am in a Stormlight Archive one right now that has me very excited EXCEPT I'M WAITING ON PEOPLE OH STARS THE WAIT. *cough* Sorry. It's like I'm reading a story I love, except the next chapter is missing and yeah. Patience wearing thin.

      Anyway. Thanks for reading; glad you enjoyed the post!

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  5. I have not ever role-played before!! But it definitely sounds like it has some insanely good results. xD I love that it helps test out ideas too...*nods* And also inspires?! Anything that inspires you in writing is an immensely glorious thing, imo. XD
    Thanks for stopping by @ Paper Fury!

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    1. It has some wonderful results. And also an unfortunate side-effect of getting very addicted very fast. But it's all good. *nods*
      You're welcome, and thanks for commenting here!

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