Role playing adventures call for a lot of skill and practice using a character. We don’t all play characters that are carbon copies of ourselves, so how do we learn to play our character? Why is it worth trying role playing games, and what do you get out of it? There’s so many benefits for the creative mind in role playing and I bet you could have a lot of fun learning about yourself.
My character, Evathon Dala, in the current session I am playing is someone I strive to be in my life. Evathon is a druid who is very connected to nature, a defense mechanism for forests my character comes across, and very peaceful in manner. However, compared to the rest of the party, my druid is also the tank. You can see how my characteristics and my role might contradict for good, forcing my party to negotiate and peacefully work out some of the problems we come across with things that can speak to us and have motivation. Monsters on the other hand–I’ll turn into a bear for those.
I have had to learn how to play a character who shares some characteristics with me as a person, but also has their own motivations, skills, and connections. Evathon probably can hike more than I can and knows more about animals. Evathon also does not have a smart phone. This adventurous elf has a lot of adventure and backstory about nature and being more connected with themselves than I could compare to. Evathon knows who she is, what her values are, and how to meditate.
In the same way you can customize your Skyrim character, you can customize your role playing character from physical description to attributes to abilities, and you have a pretty free range to do this.
This matters because while some people may give their characters parts of themselves and their own values, I have to force myself to think like a zen druid who loves nature and spends most of their time wandering in forests. I basically have to get into the mindset of a wild child hippie. It gives me a chance to start practicing my real life goals–I’d like to be more relaxed through my adventures in nature, and spend more time in meditation and less worrying about work, money, etc. My character is very peaceful and quiet by nature, and I strive to quiet my own thoughts and be a better person. This gives me a chance to role play something I am not but strive to be.
Role playing games for a dungeon master is a hard practice, too. They have to switch voices and personalities for every person the party may come across, and often work around plot on the fly. Our dungeon master must switch between a gruff bar keep, to a scared business owner within minutes, while still moving the plot along and using language to get the party interested in the piece (parties can often choose not to go where you’re trying to get them to go and now you have to make up stuff on the fly for the next step). This is good practice for someone who writes stories, or acts a lot. You have a chance to improv fairly often, you need to switch characters throughout dialogue and still keep everything moving so as not to bore the party.
Role playing also teaches you to come up with creative resolutions to problems you may have and think tactically about your roll out. My Druid is currently allowed to prepare 5 spells, 2 cantrips, and a few known spells from my druidic focus. This means that before each day (or session) starts I am allowed to pick a few spells from my levels to prepare and use. I obviously wouldn’t pick all combat ones that had fire. I’d pick a few combat, some healing, and maybe some speaking ones so that I may talk to animals or summon something. Your party might have a healer but you may want a potion or spell on deck in case they pass out. This can be applied to real world things where you have to make decisions–you can start to see logically where you might need to make various decisions and what their outcomes may be. In the working world, this is an assessment of risk management.
While you cannot summon a bear to chase your coworker away you can use elimination processes to figure out what your goals are for the day, what you need, etc. and that is a useful tool to have under your belt. You can also create a resolution on the fly for something that might not be ideal but is worth a shot. You do this plenty in Dungeons and Dragons with some of the magic powers you have, or the weapons you have with you.
“This tree is mad someone brought fire into the forest, can I use druidcraft to show we don’t mean it any harm by sprouting a plant near it and showing I am also a defender of nature?”
Another fun part of role playing is having a regular meet up–I have a group that meets every business quarter for a homebrew game (we are coworkers) and a biweekly Dungeons and Dragons group that meets every other Friday. This is great for spending good time with friends and having a set part of your schedule for your hobby. A big complaint that hobbies slip through the cracks isn’t a problem with a regular meet up. If your dungeon master is as good as mine, you will look forward to your Friday meet ups where you share Chinese food, junk food, sodas and beers and roll some dice.