Saturday, 3 November 2012

Back From Being Away

In my "day job" I am a freelance skills trainer who works with PhD students and researchers in general. I do various things, most of which is to get people thinking about their skills, what they can do to develop them and maybe more importantly how they want to develop them (getting them to reflect on what they want).

This week I was away tutoring on a week-long course in the Lake District. And as a bonding exercise we were all (on the tutor team, and also on my tutor group) talking about guilty pleasures or things that we do for hobbies. And a couple of times I mentioned how much I've enjoyed playing tabletop RPGs over the last year or so (which is when I got into it). On the last night in the bar someone asked me "so what is a tabletop RPG?" followed by "is that the same as LARPing?"

We talked about it for a bit, and she was genuinely amazed at the thought that there was more than one system (i.e., that there wasn't just Dungeons & Dragons). Not in a malicious way, but because it was so far removed from her experience. In talking about it I described tabletop role-playing as
"Collaborative story-telling between two or more people; typically one person will facilitate the game, and the others will take on the roles of individual characters; the remaining one person will take on the role of any other character in the world of the game, and respond to the other players' actions and requests for description about the world; if the outcome of any proposed action is in doubt then typically dice are rolled according to some game mechanism; other materials can be used depending on the type of game; some games require players and the game facilitator to keep track of details of attributes that their characters have."

Or at least I said something close to that. I'm sure it is a trope of people blogging about games to ask, but what would you say to someone who has little to know experience of tabletop role-playing games?

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