Some Thoughts on Tabletop Role-play

A game that provides an emphasis on role-playing allow things like freedom of action, seemingly unlimited choices, and an open-ended world or story. Since we’re playing to get immersed in the world, your character’s entire existence can be story based; the more you play your character for the story, the more you are going to get out of the story. On the other hand, you certainly can play a character that constantly changes their desires, has no real fears, and always shares mutual objectives with the party, but I promise you’ll get more out of the game if you don’t.

Think about elements of your character when figuring out their personality. What drove them to become the class they are? What might their stats reveal about their personality? For example, with a low wisdom score they could be fearless, impulsive, or easily influenced. Being fearless might have caused others to look up to you as a brave adventurer your whole life. Maybe you’re used to receiving preferential treatment. Similarly, how do their past experiences manifest? A character with a history involving orcs killing their family doesn’t instantly mean they hate orcs and want to kill them all the time, they could just as well be utterly terrified of orcs and can’t stand being in the same tavern as one.

Ultimately you should have a character you think is interesting to play and will have fun playing. If writing a psychological profile for your character helps you get into the game, great! If you just want a simple smash-and-beat-em-up barbarian to kill things with, great!

Some examples for heightening the role-playing aspects in your game:

  • Don’t forget to share or shine the spotlight on other players
    • The story doesn’t, and really shouldn’t, revolve around your character, it is supposed to revolve around the party together. There might be an aspect if your character that takes a focus in the story, but that can just as easily impact the other characters too.
    • Sometimes your character’s intricate history doesn’t become relevant – it happens and it’s okay.
  • Show more than just tell about your character
    • A 10 minute long monologue or side text chat explaining to everyone that your character really hates dwarves is infinitely less interesting than your character mocking or even attacking a dwarf in the tavern and the group having to deal with the consequences.
  • Build relationships with PCs and NPCs, other beings in the world can be more useful to you alive than dead.
    • Consider allowing the bandits that ambushed you on the road to live, they might spread word of you around town or come to join you on your adventure. As for the dragon that has been terrorizing the kingdom that you have finally hunted down, try striking a deal instead killing it – what can it give you?
    • Making friends in different places can be invaluable if you need a favor or help later.
  • Play your character, especially when it matters
    • It’s good fun to have a low intelligence character to play as an idiot around town. But what about during combat when they need to make a split-second decision?
    • Remember your character’s flaw(s).
  • Putting your character into dangerous and deadly situations is cool
    • Some of the most memorable parts in our favorite stories is when a character sacrifices themselves for the greater good. If a battle means something to your character, they might push their own personal safety aside to take their revenge against the bandit king or to ensure the rest of their party escapes the collapsing dungeon exit.

 

Some Thoughts on Rain

Rain makes me appreciate the sunny days more. I find that when summer finally rolls around with a streak of sunny days in the high 90°s, I enjoy it(at least at the beginning). That warm temperature feeling is welcome because it isn’t going to last. It allows us to have float parties at Greenlake, go hiking more often, and see a long reaching view from a vantage point. Having something you enjoy disappear for a bit can allow you to appreciate other things. Not that I’m glad the rain I love is gone, but it being gone has given me a new space or time I wouldn’t otherwise have.

Rain forces me to slow down. This is true in both a literal and figurative sense. Traveling while in the rain I find myself moving slower, the wet ground can be slippery so extra care needs to be taken. I’m not sure if the idea of going outside is less attractive in the rain or that staying inside snuggling up with a blanket is more so, but I usually always find myself curled up in my reading nook. Rainstorms in Seattle also tend to come with a decent amount of power outages, I guess it’s all the trees falling on power lines. And yea, a power outage can blow when you just want to binge watch Stranger Things, but with the power gone it also gives way to lying in bed way longer then necessary, day dreaming those deep thoughts alone or with a friend, or finally picking up that theology book to read. When I am forced to slow down I am reminded of the things I usually leave behind when I’m too busy hopping from one thing to the next.

Rain cleans. Not too long ago Seattle had a really bad smoke problem. All this smoke from forest fires was being blown into our air space and it got so bad you could honestly stare at the sun and not hurt your eyes. It hurt to breathe and waking up in the morning your throat felt dry. After a week or two of this terrible air quality, the smoke was cleansed from our sky by a little bit of rain. That was all it took to become clear again! I don’t think I had been that happy for rain to arrive in a long time. It’s honestly an incredible gift whenever it falls from the heavens and rinses the world around us. The air smells different, plants become greener, and everything feels fresh.

Living in Seattle now for close to five years(whoa!) rain has become a more common part of my life. Seattle doesn’t get the most rain in the country but it is up there for most rainy days. Growing up in Southern California I wasn’t a stranger to rain. El Niño* brought plenty of to my elementary school, typically getting recess cancelled because the playground would flood. But when the rain stopped I knew it would be many months before it returned. I always looked forward to those spring days when the clouds would open up, the trees and bushes would ripple underneath the watery cascade, and the soft taps on the roof and windows would lull me to sleep.

 

*I just found out El Niño actually makes the Northwest more hot and dry while the Southwest gets all that rain, weather is neat!