I never really got into the whole video game thing. I love reading fantasy and sci-fi books, and watching the movies, but I can’t really seem to connect with becoming the figure on the screen. However, I love RPGs (role-playing games). You know, like Dungeons & Dragons. You play a character in a fantasy world, with your actions governed by various rules and rolls of the dice. You work with a team of other players to accomplish whatever objective the person running the game – the game master, or GM – sets for you.

I first encountered RPGs when my brother and his friends played them in high school, but never got seriously interested until a group of new friends in college got me involved in their games. My favorite characters are spellcasters: wizards, druids, the occasional cleric. Go figure! The stereotype is that geeky teenage boys are the only ones who play RPGs. But I have quite a few friends my age of both genders who play – it’s a fun thing to get together and do for an evening.

A couple of years ago Quester started up a campaign for the family. We’re playing 3rd edition AD&D (Advanced Dungeons & Dragons) set in the Forgotten Realms world (for those who don’t know how it works, each campaign has its own imaginary world – some are made up by the person running the game, and others are published in books and game sets, called “modules”). Since ElvenTiger was new to the concept, she and I decided to play sisters, both elves. She’s a rogue, and I’m a wizard, and we help each other out as we move through the game.

BlackLion decided to run another game about a year ago, based on the Amber series of novels by Roger Zelazny. This game is diceless, and thus relies more heavily on each player’s imagination and creativity. Again ElvenTiger and I are sisters, this time a set of twins who specialize in mind-related skills (as opposed to combat or endurance). It’s a different type of game, and it was a bit of a challenge for Dryst at first because everything is based on the actual role-played conversations you have with other players and characters. But we’re all getting the hang of it now.

Our friend Sash GMs a game he made up, set in a “steampunk” world. We play that one occasionally. He also runs a D&D campaign with BlackLion and the kids. See, if you start playing with a certain group of people, you need to convene that same group to continue the game the next time. You can add in a character, but more often you keep the same set of people because they’re working within the same story until their quest is fulfilled or the objectives are met.

Right now we’re creating characters for a different type of game. While he’s on vacation from college, Sash is going to start a Cyberpunk game. The closest thing to my usual style of character is a street doctor, someone who can heal others through traditional medicine as well as dealing with cybernetic parts. Should be exciting!

I like RPGs because you contribute to creating a story. You work with others cooperatively, working together to solve puzzles and mysteries. The game requires imagination, flexibility, and usually a sense of humor. There’s a lot of freedom. To me, it’s much more fun than choosing from the limited options programmed into a computer game.

Tell me what you think!

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