||[Aug. 31st, 2009|07:50 am]
V. E. "Veltzeh" Lehkonen
I like role-playing games. I first heard about them when the mother of my friend mentioned them to me when I was 12 or something. At that time, I got the idea that it was like acting or holding a presentation (I couldn't find a good translation for the word "esiintyä") and was not thrilled at all. She could have been talking about LARP, too. Therefore, I thought role-playing wasn't what I would want to do.
Five or six years later I was reintroduced to role-playing in an online community where there were a number of play-by-post games. I was first reluctant to try even them, but once I did, I found that this was something I really liked to do. Role-playing for me is being part of an interactive story.
From the play-by-post games, after some initial blunders and overachieving, I got the impression that I'm a fairly decent role-player. I still have a few problems when playing online as well, two biggest ones (as far as I can tell) of them being that my choice of characters is probably somewhat one-sided (because I really, really like speedy and nimble characters and because I don't know how to play women and men or find playing them too forced) and that I'm an obsessive conflict-solver.
On my second year in university, I finally found the role-playing club of the university and got involved in real-life RPGs. Dungeons and Dragons 3.5, of course. Like in general real life, I suffered from excess shyness and nervousness, but I tried to overcome them. It went pretty well with the first game group I was in. We were all new players and though the group wasn't exactly tightly knit together and there were issues, I still think it's at least one of the best games I ever played.
The first game died and I then got involved with another group. They were, at least from my point of view, hardcore gamers and practiced really heavy optimization and munchkins. Still, despite all that optimization, they could role-play as well. Their games went very fast and I had and still have a lot of trouble keeping up. For the most time, I don't keep up and just concentrate on listening what the others do – that is fun as well; I can most often enjoy watching a game as much as playing, though in RPGs the point is to take part... so I wish I would get a chance, but inexplicably, most times when I try to talk, someone else immediately talks over me or no one listens to me. Does that sound bad? I'm so used to it that I barely care.
After playing with the hardcore group for quite a while, I found it was a breeze to play a simple tiny Living Greyhawk module. Maybe it was because of the tininess, though, since the later LG modules weren't as breezy. They were easier than before, but I felt that my actual role-playing had suffered – not much, since I hadn't exactly been a good real-life role-player before, but anyway. I still find role-playing in real life rather difficult for me. I suppose it's mostly because I fear I'll screw everything up and because of my conflict-solving nature.
When it comes to screwing up and solving conflict, my character in my first The Shadow of Yesterday game was extraordinary. Lynx was very uncivilized and tended to cause problems wherever he (the other players decided he was a boy) went. I'm not sure if I caused as much trouble with Lynx as he could or should have, but it was still plenty, and he certainly didn't solve anything, at least directly. After a good, trouble-filled day, Lynx went to bed and left the other characters to clean up after him. It was a nice change of a character, but I don't know if I would like playing characters that only cause trouble. I suppose it would be good to find the so-called golden middle and play a character who causes and fixes trouble in approximately equal amounts.
I've also been playing Vampire the Masquerade lately. It's a pretty good game, but I'm just not that wild about the idea of vampires. Kind of dull. However, the real problem in it is that I don't quite know how to play it and that it's damn scary to do anything. Everything seems so lethal. I also most often don't know at all what to do, and the GM said that passing notes is important and expected but I can't really bring myself to do that either. What should I pass a note about? If I use this way to gain valuable information, will it come back to bite? (My reactive answer is "YES. HARD. ALWAYS." so I don't do it.)
It feels like I didn't say anything new here. Maybe I should list some solutions to my problems.
1) Being less shy and nervous. (Yeah, right. I'd be a millionaire if there was a solution to that.)
2) Trying NOT to solve problems at least when there isn't an immediate danger to the character.
3) Trying to play a character that isn't Speedy McFastFast. But... what to play then? I dislike spellcasters a lot (especially those who need to prepare spells) and brute strength sounds rather boring. Also charismatic characters are still a bit on the hard side. Then again, a social character is probably a fairly sure way to create and solve conflict in equal amounts. Maybe I will try a social character next time.
I think I'm done for now.