The Concept of Roleplaying

by Finn Hamre-Myers, age 14
The Concept of Roleplaying

“What is roleplaying, and why do we do it? These questions have been going around since the beginning of people pretending to be someone, or something else.”

What is roleplaying, and why do we do it? These questions have been going around since the beginning of people pretending to be someone, or something else. Most people have roleplayed at least once in their life, whether it be in a game, or just pretending to be a different person. In Roleplaying Games players adopt a different identity and make decisions as that character in an imaginary world. the beginning of modern roleplaying games was in the mid-1970s with the release of Dungeons And Dragons. But the activity has been around since the ancient Greeks. roleplaying has been around longer than people think, just not in the same way.

Theater is a type of roleplaying. Present roleplaying is interacting in a story as a character interacting with the world in a way people usually wouldn’t. people do it to escape their world. But actors do the same thing with theater. In any type of theater, you interact as a made up or real character and played along in a story. It’s called a play for a reason! It’s because actors play in a story! And the role aspect fits in nicely. they take a role to use in a story. We like to interact in another story other than our own so we can escape our world. Roleplaying is a very popular activity right now because people want to escape the mundane. As Adam Columbia, Teacher and Dungeon Master states: “Roleplaying is an intentional break with reality, to a degree preferred by the person performing it.” Everyone plays to escape the world they live in, to live in another’s shoes. Reality is hard and gets boring, so they want to do something different and become someone special.

Roleplaying is a way of becoming a character that the player invents. This can take many forms, such as games, improv, and more: “Roleplaying is an act of imagination in which a person takes on the personality, appearance or actions of another entity either fictional or non-fictional”(Columbia). Roleplaying is all about imagination which is just as important as thinking realistically because if a person imagines something and work for it, it is possible for it to become a reality. If people think creatively, they can bring something into existence that wasn’t there before. Roleplaying helps you think creatively, by finding and solving problems.

Roleplaying expands compassion. Adam Columbia believes that roleplaying gives players “The power to think outside your own mind and observe reality with a different perspective than the typical.” If you think outside your own mind in roleplaying, what says you won’t do the same in the real world. Roleplaying is all about perspective, and if you are understanding somebody’s perspective, then you understand their feelings. Therefore, you don’t have bias feelings about someone you don’t know. Roleplaying helps you understand someone’s perspective and feelings so that you don’t hurt others.

There are many different types of roleplaying. The main types of roleplaying are all based on one aspect; imagination. Roleplaying is imagining yourself or acting as a character in various contexts such as: Choose your own adventure games like The Telltale series. LARPing is pretending to be a character and acting it out through improv and weapon play. lastly, tabletop games like Dungeons And Dragons allow a small group to experience an adventure through storytelling and dice. These games may sound very different but they all share many similarities, all of them require you to become another person or creature, to walk in their shoes. The basis of roleplaying is imagining and becoming a character, so in that case, almost everything should be considered roleplaying. Roleplay takes many forms and someone can do any of them: “I think that roleplaying takes many forms and everyone should find the form best suited to them” (Columbia). The concept of roleplaying is very large and you can choose what type is right for you.

Stories can be inspired by any aspect of a player’s life. All you have to do is imagine and create ideas. Some players use pre-made rulebooks like Dungeons and Dragons, Pathfinder or Champions to create a story based game. Others choose to imagine and make it up as they go along. “Sometimes no framework at all is best, just playing an imaginative storytelling game with friends”(Columbia). Roleplaying allows players to follow a framework of rules, or just stretch the limits of their imagination by creating a world from scratch.

Sometimes society views roleplayers as “geeky.” However, enthusiastic roleplaying in a creative setting allows players to learn skills like problem-solving and empathy in a friendly environment “It can be uncomfortable being ourselves and getting a little vacation can relieve stress, anxiety or social pressure temporarily and give a roleplayer a more positive, dynamic [or] different perspective moving forward”(Columbia). Roleplaying releases the players of those social standards for the duration of the game. It also connects players to friends and communities. As we look toward the future, it is clear that roleplaying games will keep growing and helping players, just as it did in the past.

Sources:

Columbia, Adam. 11 May 2018.

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