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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Xiander's Avatar

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    Default Why do we roleplay?

    The rather long and complicated thread about fudging made me think about roleplayers and their individual reasons to partake in the game. I know the universal answer: to have fun. This answer makes sense and is generally a good answer. We certainly donīt play to have a bad time.

    What that answer however fails to adress is why we roleplay instead of watching a movie or playing videogames. So what is it about roleplaying that makes you tick? Story? Mechanics? Group dynamics?

    Note: I encourage discussion where diferences arise


    Edit: i should probably start out by giving my own perspective.

    I like mechanics as much as the next guy, and i am all for drinking beer and having a laugh. But my passion in roleplaying is the storyline, especially the evolution of characters. I love nothing more than sadistic gmīs who take the time to torment my characters and use their background against them, exept possibly other players who are willing to play against my character playing both to his good sides and to his bad sides.
    As a gm I strive to build a plot which gives the players what i would want myself: a consistent plot with room for plotthreads for the individual characters.
    Last edited by Xiander; 2011-01-09 at 03:56 AM.

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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Why do we roleplay?

    Well I don't really like to play but I almost always DM. I like to craft stories and watch the players engage in my world. I guess I DM for the same reasons I read fantasy novels. It exercises my imagination and takes me away to a magical place for a few hours a night where I don't have to worry about anything else. It's my escape I guess? And a creative outlet.
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    Colossus in the Playground
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    Default Re: Why do we roleplay?

    Lets see... social escapism, I suppose, and collaborative storytelling. Something like that. It's like when I make up stories in my head, except I'm doing it with other people, I don't know what's gonna happen (even when I'm the DM, to an extent) and, well, it's a game - there's challenges to overcome, problems to solve, and so on.

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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Why do we roleplay?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ozreth View Post
    Well I don't really like to play but I almost always DM. I like to craft stories and watch the players engage in my world. I guess I DM for the same reasons I read fantasy novels. It exercises my imagination and takes me away to a magical place for a few hours a night where I don't have to worry about anything else. It's my escape I guess? And a creative outlet.
    I should clarify that by "play" i meant take part in the game either as player or as Gamemaster.

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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Why do we roleplay?

    I DM for the lols. I play because I enjoy hearing stories that are not black and white. Stories in which the main characters make such a mess and sooo many mistakes that they make the king bang his head on a hard surface screaming: "I see clearly now! The dragon was a blessing, you are the curse!" Stories in which fighters want to slay the dragon. Stories in which the evil guy is trying to save the world from the heroes...

    Really in my group the point of it all is to have a fun time with people you enjoy hanging out with.

    P.S. And because IRL it's illegal to set people on fire just because you don't like them.

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    Halfling in the Playground
     
    MindFlayer

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    Default Re: Why do we roleplay?

    It fills a social niche that is almost absent from modern society... that of a shared, cooperative, long-term social task.

    Sure, you can play console video games together, but that's ephemeral. No sense of progress or shared accomplishment. Besides, Halo sucks.

    Or you could play MMORPGs, but that's like paying to have a job. A ****ty job. And instead of a social event with your friends, it's more like a teleconference.

    Most modern mainstream entertainments you could partake in with your friends are passive, and don't promote social interaction at all.

    You could play sports, but let's face, you're all in your late twenties now, you're the only one of your group that doesn't have a body built by cheetos and beer, and you can't even get the rest of them to go on a long walk, much less kick a football around.

    You could start a business together... if you were an idiot. Your friends are great people, and you love spending time with them, but they're the group that includes "Payday Jim" (as in "can you lend me fifty bucks until"), that girl who refers to Las Vegas as "Vegas" and swears that she "usually comes out ahead", and of course the guy who drank an entire bottle of absinthe on his twenty-first birthday, and puked in your shoes, then tried to blame it on the dog.

    And you were wearing the shoes at the time.

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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Why do we roleplay?

    Watching a movie about an epic adventure is awesome every once in a while, but RP brings something TOTALLY new to the table, it gives us the chance to BECOME the heroes in those epic adventures. RP is about an escape from reality and a chance to fulfill power fantasy.

    It can also be said that some people RP for the social interaction because they feel more open to speak their mind as a different person, similar to how people are much more likely to say what they want over a Public forum where they don't have to confront someone face to face.

    I personally enjoy Roleplaying because it gives me a chance to be a Kungfu Master, A bard that wields great stories of myth and history, or even a Druid that holds WONDROUS powers to transform into creatures that other people could only imagine.
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    Default Re: Why do we roleplay?

    Options.

    Not counting heavy railroading and prewritten(bought) adventures, you can do prettymuch anything you can come up with that your character can reasonably do.
    Ya don't get that in mmo's and/or other rpg's

    That and having a beer and sharing a laugh.

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    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Why do we roleplay?

    i like being allowed to explore worlds that i fit better into than ours, it is an escape for me.
    also legally being allowed to torture people, thats awesome
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    Default Re: Why do we roleplay?

    Why do I RP?

    Because I will never have to worry myself half-to-death about what I'll do when the day comes that I get a chance to diablerize someone.

    Because cramming more and more cyberware into my head to get that extra inch ahead of the competition isn't something I see in my future.

    Because flipping off Mask of Winters is cool.

    I get to go in whole new directions in my games, to branch out and view things from a whole new perspective.

    And when I actually run a game...

    When I DM, I get to terrify my players with the twisted aberration-worshipper and the powers granted by his vestiges.

    When I GM, I get to be amazed when our Adept manages to destroy a man from the neck up with a flung quarter.

    And when I run Paranoia, I can show the Troubleshooters that the Computer really is their best friend.

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    Halfling in the Playground
     
    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Why do we roleplay?

    To live vicariously through text and numbers.

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    Titan in the Playground
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    Default Re: Why do we roleplay?

    Short answer? It's fun.
    Longer answer?
    Well, I would be a bigger danger to myself then anyone else if handed a dagger or bow, much less a sword. I most certainly can not cast spells or heal wounds with a prayer, turn into a beast, or fly through the sky or anything even close to magic. I can't even pull off a good Three Card Monte. I am not brave, I am not powerful, I will likely never go on some epic journey to destroy a great evil, I will not save the world from hostile beings of unimaginable power and perversity.

    I am just. . . me.

    Don't get me wrong, I like me, but sometimes I want to be more. And video games, while fun and all, are limited. Yes, we got fancy schmancy graphics that can make you weep, but the options are far and few compared to the potential breadth of a well done pen and paper role playing game world. Even games that forgo graphics for interaction, like NetHack and Dwarf Fortress are but pale shadows in comparison.
    That is why I sit around a table rolling strange dice.
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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Why do we roleplay?

    Whem it comes to experiencing stories, my development probably looks like this:
    • Listening to stories
    • Reading stories
    • (Writing stories)
    • Playing computer games
    • Creating roleplay adventures


    Roleplaying games are the most interactive form of story-experience known to me; and it's a lot easier to do than writing a book, or programming a pc-game.
    Do you use the mechanics to play the game,
    or do you use the game to play the mechanics?


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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Xiander's Avatar

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    Default Re: Why do we roleplay?

    Quote Originally Posted by poignant123 View Post
    To live vicariously through text and numbers.
    Very poetic, can i sic this?

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    Titan in the Playground
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    Default Re: Why do we roleplay?

    I think most roleplay to be able to immerse themselves in a new world. Only this one, instead of following along with a script, like in say, a final fantasy type of rpg, we get to make up our own as we go. Its our story, and its different every time. That makes it easier to really get into the game, and makes it more of a personal investment.

    I play World of Warcraft, and I love it, but I dont feel any sort of connection to my characters, because I have no real investment in them besides time. A D&D character however, I not only created entirely from scratch, I gave it a personality, a life history, and things that happen to it MATTERS. If my orc hunter in WoW dies, I shrug, go rezz myself and get back to playing. If my Dwarven cleric dies in D&D though, its a big deal, and might spell the end of that character forever, (depending on whats going on of course)

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    Ettin in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Why do we roleplay?

    Quote Originally Posted by Serpentine View Post
    Lets see... social escapism, I suppose, and collaborative storytelling. Something like that. It's like when I make up stories in my head, except I'm doing it with other people, I don't know what's gonna happen (even when I'm the DM, to an extent) and, well, it's a game - there's challenges to overcome, problems to solve, and so on.
    Ditto. Collaborative story telling.

    For me, mechanics and RAW can take a long walk off a short pier for all I care. I couldn't care less about "builds" or "tiers." If my friends and I having fun, that's all that matters.
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    SwashbucklerGuy

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    Default Re: Why do we roleplay?

    Me, personally, I like DMing to see how PCs react to the setting, whether my own creation or someone else's like the Star Wars universe or Rokugan.

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    Default Re: Why do we roleplay?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ozreth View Post
    Well I don't really like to play but I almost always DM. I like to craft stories and watch the players engage in my world. I guess I DM for the same reasons I read fantasy novels. It exercises my imagination and takes me away to a magical place for a few hours a night where I don't have to worry about anything else. It's my escape I guess? And a creative outlet.
    Quote Originally Posted by Serpentine View Post
    Lets see... social escapism, I suppose, and collaborative storytelling. Something like that. It's like when I make up stories in my head, except I'm doing it with other people, I don't know what's gonna happen (even when I'm the DM, to an extent) and, well, it's a game - there's challenges to overcome, problems to solve, and so on.
    Quote Originally Posted by Rasman View Post
    Watching a movie about an epic adventure is awesome every once in a while, but RP brings something TOTALLY new to the table, it gives us the chance to BECOME the heroes in those epic adventures. RP is about an escape from reality and a chance to fulfill power fantasy.

    It can also be said that some people RP for the social interaction because they feel more open to speak their mind as a different person, similar to how people are much more likely to say what they want over a Public forum where they don't have to confront someone face to face.

    I personally enjoy Roleplaying because it gives me a chance to be a Kungfu Master, A bard that wields great stories of myth and history, or even a Druid that holds WONDROUS powers to transform into creatures that other people could only imagine.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ravens_cry View Post
    Short answer? It's fun.
    Longer answer?
    Well, I would be a bigger danger to myself then anyone else if handed a dagger or bow, much less a sword. I most certainly can not cast spells or heal wounds with a prayer, turn into a beast, or fly through the sky or anything even close to magic. I can't even pull off a good Three Card Monte. I am not brave, I am not powerful, I will likely never go on some epic journey to destroy a great evil, I will not save the world from hostile beings of unimaginable power and perversity.

    I am just. . . me.

    Don't get me wrong, I like me, but sometimes I want to be more. And video games, while fun and all, are limited. Yes, we got fancy schmancy graphics that can make you weep, but the options are far and few compared to the potential breadth of a well done pen and paper role playing game world. Even games that forgo graphics for interaction, like NetHack and Dwarf Fortress are but pale shadows in comparison.
    That is why I sit around a table rolling strange dice.
    Quote Originally Posted by Traab View Post
    I think most roleplay to be able to immerse themselves in a new world. Only this one, instead of following along with a script, like in say, a final fantasy type of rpg, we get to make up our own as we go. Its our story, and its different every time. That makes it easier to really get into the game, and makes it more of a personal investment.

    I play World of Warcraft, and I love it, but I dont feel any sort of connection to my characters, because I have no real investment in them besides time. A D&D character however, I not only created entirely from scratch, I gave it a personality, a life history, and things that happen to it MATTERS. If my orc hunter in WoW dies, I shrug, go rezz myself and get back to playing. If my Dwarven cleric dies in D&D though, its a big deal, and might spell the end of that character forever, (depending on whats going on of course)
    Everything I underlined fits me, and everything I put in bold deserves special emphasis.
    I'm currently writing a story, titled "Zenith: Another World Saga."

    It's a fantasy/adventure story. Here's the summary:

    When I opened my eyes, I was in a fantasy world. I quickly discovered that it functioned off of game-like rules (levels, EXP, skills, and so on). Taking the name Zenith, I decided to make the best of my new world and live as an adventurer aiming for the top together with my new best friend Rozenskye. And I might be functionally immortal? An Isekai-style story.

  19. - Top - End - #19
    Troll in the Playground
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    Default Re: Why do we roleplay?

    Quote Originally Posted by Serpentine View Post
    Lets see... social escapism, I suppose, and collaborative storytelling. Something like that. It's like when I make up stories in my head, except I'm doing it with other people, I don't know what's gonna happen (even when I'm the DM, to an extent) and, well, it's a game - there's challenges to overcome, problems to solve, and so on.
    This.

    Or, even more succinctly, awesome story is awesome. Doubly so when you're making the awesome story and you're spending time with friends while you're at it.
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    Dr.Epic's Avatar

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    Default Re: Why do we roleplay?

    It's fun. We get to escape the humdrum of real life for a few hours with friends. And, unlike video games, it's a lot more open and (hopefully) far less railroaded, not to mention you can do/say pretty much anything (though that doesn't mean there will be consequences).

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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    randomhero00's Avatar

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    Default Re: Why do we roleplay?

    Pretty simple for me. Its the face to face social interaction.

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    Troll in the Playground
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    ze/zir | she/her

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    Halfling in the Playground
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    Default Re: Why do we roleplay?

    I play to have a good time with my friends, pass jokes, and be able to loot/kill/do anything you want, instead of being in a video game where it's all single-pathed.

    What's the point of being in a fantasy world if you can't do anything you want?

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    Orc in the Playground
     
    BlueKnightGuy

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    Default Re: Why do we roleplay?

    Gaming involves spending time with people who are friends (longterm it simply doesn't work with people who aren't). Spending time with friends is often better than spending time alone and always better than spending time with strangers.

    When roleplaying is done really well, it's art. The occasional great performance is remembered for years, and sometimes it was you who delivered it. Even if it was someone else, you had stage side seats for a very exclusive performance.

    In your daily existence, how often have you saved or visibly affected the town you live in, or the country, or the world? You can do that in RPGs. You can accomplish great deeds and foil great villains. Your very existence might be the subject of a prophecy.

    Virtually anything you are not, you can be in an RPG.

    Wish fulfilment, virtual achievement, self expression, time with friends--what other activity offers so much?

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    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Kobold

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    Default Re: Why do we roleplay?

    Quote Originally Posted by Xiander View Post
    What that answer however fails to adress is why we roleplay instead of watching a movie or playing videogames.
    Books, movies, and video games are consumption based. You take in the entertainment that someone else provides. Roleplaying is an outward activity. You have to portray a character. RPGs provide interactivity on an in and out level, that books and movies will never achieve and video games only poorly emulate.

    RPGs are the only activity that satisfy all my creative needs. I like it better than acting because there's more freedom and less audience. D&D is mathy enough that I have stuff to think about. And best of all, it's an excuse to see all my favorite people a couple times a week.
    If you like what I have to say, please check out my GMing Blog where I discuss writing and roleplaying in greater depth.

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    Default Re: Why do we roleplay?

    I RP because I like the escapism. I DM because I get too bored in playing a single person every time I RP. This may sound vaguely insane, but I kind of like the concept of creating different personalities and define them by how I act them out, and then see how they interact with each other (in a way, I like arguing with myself).

    RPing gives me a chance to see something that most video games/movies/books/etc don't, a chance to place a situation in front of a creature and see how they react to it. By nudging here, placing a boulder there, throwing a dragon at him, placing a moral dilemma at her, I get a chance to watch a PC evolve as a character. So far, there has not been a single thing that has so beautifully simulated the feeling of watching a creature evolve and adapt then DMing.
    Currently RPG group playing: Endworld (D&D 5e. A Homebrewed post-apocalyptic supplement.)

    My campaign settings: Azura; 10,000 CE | The Frozen Seas | Bloodstones (Paleolithic Horror) | AEGIS - The School for Superhero Children | Iaphela (5e, Elder Scrolls)

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    Default Re: Why do we roleplay?

    Quote Originally Posted by Serpentine View Post
    Lets see... social escapism, I suppose, and collaborative storytelling. Something like that. It's like when I make up stories in my head, except I'm doing it with other people, I don't know what's gonna happen (even when I'm the DM, to an extent) and, well, it's a game - there's challenges to overcome, problems to solve, and so on.
    Really, this. Cooperative storytelling.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Revlid View Post
    And so it was that Zaeed, Aang, Winry, Ezio, Sadoko and Snow White all set out on their epic journey to destroy The Empire.

    God I love Exalted.


    Gold Dragon avatar by Serpentine


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    Colossus in the Playground
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    Default Re: Why do we roleplay?

    Now I'm wondering how many other people make up stories in their heads...

    And, if one were to overthink it, whether it might be a throwback to the days when storytelling around a fire was a main source of entertainment and social interaction.

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    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default Re: Why do we roleplay?

    I cheat at video games. The first time playing through a game I cannot stand the intense discontinuity I feel when I die and get respawned back at the start or from the last checkpoint. It drives me up the wall. I play to experience the entire story from the beginning to end. Probably why I hate those death match games so much too.

    The role-playing at the table is the same thing. I love the story and experiencing how the GM tells it and how the players interact with it. There are talented role-players and untalented ones, but all add something, even if it's a small piece. So many times I've been holding my sides from laughter at some quip made in-character that was just perfectly executed or dumbfounded with respect for someone who does a dramatic scene without flaw.
    Game systems played: D&D Basic (and other rainbow coloured boxes), AD&D, D&D 2, D&D 3 & 3.5, Champions, GURPS, Warhammer, Cyberpunk, Rifts... and more I can't remember.

    Current Campaign(s): Savage Worlds post apoc.

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    Default Re: Why do we roleplay?

    Quote Originally Posted by Serpentine View Post
    Lets see... social escapism, I suppose, and collaborative storytelling. Something like that. It's like when I make up stories in my head, except I'm doing it with other people, I don't know what's gonna happen (even when I'm the DM, to an extent) and, well, it's a game - there's challenges to overcome, problems to solve, and so on.
    +1

    That's how I was always explain DnD to friends.

    On a strange note, I tend to RP characters that are an extreme facet of my own personality, to explore how that works and how I would react in situations. As a general rule I DM more, and when I DM it's mainly for worldbuilding (I love to put things together and make a working world) and making the Player's happy... And also RPing all these Characters that I can channel and think about.
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