Friday Five – Roleplaying Edition

I wish I could say that a lot of thought goes into creating these Friday Fives. That’s why I’m so consistent about it, and encourage y’all to suggest themes in the comments (or on social media, if that’s your thing). Because very often (99% of the time, actually), the Friday Five is a thorn in my side until some time on Thursday when I run into yet another reference to something, scream, throw up my hands, and pull the post together in under an hour. (This one took longer because it took fewer than five references to set me off.)

This week, it was the collision of memories of being involved with roleplaying games. I wasn’t allowed to play roleplaying games growing up. It was just as well, as I had very few friends who gamed. In college, I fell in with a group who did game, and I played a couple of times with them. I’ve experienced a handful of different tabletop RPGs and a couple of LARPs since then, but more often than not I end up in short-lived campaigns because the GM loses interest or I sit on the sidelines listening and contributing snark.

Anyway, you’d probably rather just read the Friday Five than listen to my bad luck with roleplaying games. 😉

1. LARPs: The Series – This one is a bit unfair, as I’ve been watching it since right after it started running on Geek & Sundry’s YouTube channel. But it’s a fun little poke at LARPers, both in game and out of game, and if you’ve ever LARPed you’re probably going to relate to it. (I’ve also said this about The Guild.) My own LARP history consists of being an NPC in a V-LARP (which I enjoyed) and being everything from a wizard to a scout to a reeve (referee) and game maker (Somewhere, I may still have my game book, complete with scenarios, mini encounters, monsters, and relics.) at a fantasy boffer LARP.

2. Critical Role (This is the first episode, but the series runs here.) – I find Twitch a bit difficult to navigate, so I apologize in advance if you encounter problems, too. I didn’t pay close attention when I finally heard a description of this show. Actually, that’s not true. I somehow got a bad description, which suggested this would be an animated D&D game, and I thought, Oh, hey. Cool. Like the old cartoon. It turns out the source was misinformed, and this is actually a lot cooler than that. It’s a group of animation/anime/video game voice actors playing D&D. And it’s pretty much like listening to any laid-back D&D game I’ve ever sat next to. (And I’ve sat next to a fair few in my time.)

3. PBS Idea Channel recently thought about how writing comic books could resemble tabletop roleplaying. It’s an interesting idea. Given how long many comic books have been running, there’s a situation now where those who are writing stories around these characters aren’t the ones who created them. (There’s a parallel for fan fiction here, as well, although it’s sanctioned because of the licensing…sorry. Off topic.) Current writers don’t know what the original intents for a character were, but they can create situations and then have the characters react in ways historically appropriate for them. While someone running an roleplaying game cannot realistically control how the player characters react, they can create situations that should provide some sort of stimulus that will allow the characters to react and respond in ways true to them. Of course…I then start remembering sessions with missing players, and… ;D

4. “Real Magick” in RPGs: Spellbooks – As I’ve mentioned, I’ve played a wizard class a time or two in my roleplaying career. Yelling poorly written poetry at the top of my lungs and pretending something actually happened as a result was sometimes far easier than taking foam-padded shots to any part of my body from guys two to three times my size. While I don’t remember much about the memorization component (beyond the fact there was one) in D&D, I do remember the equivalent (if it could be called that) at the boffer LARP was your spell list, because you had to spend time going through all of the spells available to you to craft a decent list with the points you had available. Most people built a regularly used list, plus ones for special events. I tended to just build my list every week. It wasn’t entirely practical, but it allowed me to do lame things like bring an entire field to a halt when I, as a max-level wizard, pulled out a first-level spell ball and cast it. (I didn’t have the points to carry the higher level of the same spell ball. I knew I’d never get off the verbal side of the higher level of the same spell ball. So I went for cheap and easy…and got away with it.)

5. I don’t have a fifth thing to share, so I’ll just remind those who like a little background noise with their roleplaying that Tabletop Audio is a lot of fun. It’s also not bad for just getting some writing done.

For the record, I do have the very first d20 I ever stole off someone. It’s somewhere around here. (read: It got misplaced when I moved a year and a half ago. Oops.) And my dice bag, filled mostly with marbled dice sets, sits on a shelf of my desk for easy access…although it really doesn’t get used for gaming these days. Transparency!

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