Lola’s Ramblings: Roleplaying

October 23, 2014 Fate (RPG), Lola's Ramblings 6

LolaRamblings

Lola’s Rambings is a feature on Lola’s Review where I talk about me. Usually these posts are everything that doesn’t fall under any standard header, like blog tours, book blitzes, cover reveals or reviews. Lola’s Ramblings posts are are personal discussions of a certain topic. Sometimes about book related topics and sometimes about non-book related topics. If an Lola’s Ramblings post is about a non-book topic it gets the non-book content posts tag. This feature was previously knows as About Me. The banner for this feature is designed by Michelle from Limabean Design.

While I don’t talk about it on my blog often one of my hobbies is roleplaying. To be more specific tabletop roleplaying, basically we sit around a table with a group of people and pretend to be someone else. And all our characters go on an adventure together. There are different systems or rulebooks for this and so far I only played D&D and Fate Core. Here’s wikipedia’s description of roleplaying:

A role-playing game (RPG and sometimes roleplaying game) is a game in which players assume the roles of characters in a fictional setting. Players take responsibility for acting out these roles within a narrative, either through literal acting or through a process of structured decision-making or character development. Actions taken within many games succeed or fail according to a formal system of rules and guidelines

How did I start roleplaying?

I first started roleplaying about 6 years ago when one of my high school friends wanted to try out something called D&D (Dungeons and Dragons), I had no idea exactly what it was at the time, but it sounded fun and thus I decided to participate. Let’s say it was all kinda confusing as no one understood the system and even the DM didn’t know enough to effective lead the campaign. I think in that first campaign it alreayd became obvious what I liked and didn’t like about roleplaying. I did like the concept however and since then we’ve played multiple campaign of varying lenghts and with different groups of people: one unnamed D&D 3.5 campaign, one unnamed D&D4 campaign, Nyap land, a short campaign called Germyland, Equiria, Getra Forest, Sylvaria, Dragonia and we’re currently playing a campaign called Midoria (which unlike the others is a Fate campaign). A roleplaying campaign is a series of sessions that make up the same story. Each session is usually a few hours where the players are together and play the game.

What do I like about roleplaying?

There’s something about roleplaying that I love, although it can get me frustrated as well at the core roleplaying is something I enjoy doing. Below is a list of things I like about roleplaying:

  • Making up a story.  photo SAM_8448_zps45b7e9f6.jpgI like reading stories and that’s also one of the things I like about roleplaying; to see how the story unfolds and finding out what happens next. I also like that there are many different players who have imput into the story, whcih makes the story usually take unpredictable turns.
  • Creating a characters. I like creating a character almost more then actually laying it, I like coming up with their personality and thinking what he/she will be good at and which not so good, whcih thigns get her to act or which things leave her cold. I always try to get a good sense of my character before a session, although often the character still changes a lot when we’re finally in game.
  • Acting like someone else. It’s fun to act like someone else for a bit. So far I’ve been Iana, a damphir rogue who liked cute things; Kiara, a half Fea Cleric with butterfly wings who worshipped the god of wine and fun who had a husky dog named Breezer; Sairaza, a lizardfolk monk with a strong sense of duty who always followed the laws, but loved a good fight; And my latest character is Alyse a half wolf/ half humanoid who likes to play pranks on people and often get’s into trouble. I am sure I am forgetting some, but these are the ones I remember best.
  • The Fate system. Since I discovered the Fate system I have been a bit obsessed with it, I just completely love this roleplaying system and even found a great group on Google+ for this system. I am reading everything about fate that I can get my hands on and I just love how it works and how simple and adaptable it is. I like talking about Fate and thinking of how to make something in Fate. I think it’s a great system and I don’t think I’ll ever willingly go back to D&D as Fate is more character and story driven and better fits how I like to play roleplaying games.
  • It’s very different from reading a book or playing a game. As you control one of the characters and the other people control a character as well, it can be difficult to predict in whch direction the story will be going. And you create the story together. It’s a very unique way of experiencing a story.

What do I like less about roleplaying?

Like I mentioned before I have certain ideas and expectations about roleplaying games and sometimes they can be frustrating. There are some things I don’t like about roleplaying or which can cause complications.

  • Players have different expectations. One of the difficulties when running a campaign is that all players can have different expectations of the campaign and different things they like to see in the campaign. Usually in D&D the DM is the one who leads most of the story and the players don’t have that much imput when the campaign has started, which can be frustrating sometimes. And it can be hard to adress these issues as we’re usually playing with friends. In Fate the GM quides the story, but as we’re so used to D&D most players still have trouble to actually use their influence.
  • The social aspect. I tend to get tired when I am around other people for a long time. I sometimes feel like just being around people can tire me and I am often pretty tired after a session. Because the people know each other in real life, well we talk outside the session as well and we even had some sessions where people talk about out-of-game stuff during the session which can interupt the actual session. I sometimes wonder how it would be to play with people you don’t know beside the campaign.
  • My drive for perfectionism. It seems I am never satisfied with how a campaign goes, there’s always something that can be better. My boyfriend and I often have long talks after a session. Some of the things that can annoy me to no end is when actions don’t flow forth from the characters personality, when people meta game (use out of game knowledge to influence in-game events) or when characters don’t act logical (because people are only playing a character their character does things a normal person would never do in real life). I usually feel like I think and worry about things the other players don’t care about and this can be annoying for both of us I think. My boyfriend and I can talk for hours about a session abotu what frustrated us, how things can be done better etc.

Being the DM/GM

So far I have been the DM (Dungeon Master) or GM (Game Master) twice for a campaign. The term DM is used for D&D, while Fate uses the term GM. It basically means the same thing, I’ll use the term GM from now on. The GM is the one who leads to the story, again to quote wikipedia:

One common feature of many RPGs is the role of gamemaster, a participant who has special duties to present the fictional setting, arbitrate the results of character actions, and maintain the narrative flow. In tabletop and live action RPGs the GM performs these duties in person.

My first campaign as a DM was the D&D campaign Equiria, which was about a once powerfull country Equiria with a big school of magic which has been attacked by two of their neighboring countries who turned against Equiria and nowadays Equiria was only a shadow of what it once was. The players where traveling through the war ravaged country of Equiria and their magic users had to be carefull to avoid the Zero Arcanum, which was a magic policy which eradicated magic users in Equiria.
I was GM’ing the campaign Midoria, but now my boyfriend has taken over and we both think that works better as he can quide the story and I can focus more on the system and provide answers about how things work in Fate. Midoria is a campaign about a country with a lot of different species where the main inhabitants are part human and part animal. The players are solving a trade issue at the moment and just found out about another issue concerning prophecies that turn up in certain areas.

Being a GM is very differently then playing a character. The most obvious difference is that you don’t play a characters, like all the players do and as a GM you have different responsibilities, like thinking about the story and pace and playing the NPC’s (non playable characters, all the people in the story which aren’t played by one of the players). Being a DM/GM can be more tiresome then beign a character, but it’s also fun and never boring as there’s always something you have to do. I enjoy being a GM as it gives me more control over the story and world and it’s fun to see how the players react on the situations and NPC’s I made up. But after a while I also like beign a player again. Actually both roles are fun and it’s nice to switch between them.

So my question to you is:

Have you ever roleplayed? If yes what do you like or don’t like about it? Have you ever been the GM?

6 Responses to “Lola’s Ramblings: Roleplaying”

  1. Inge @ Bookshelf Reflections

    I’m a roleplayer too, but not in the sense that you’ve just described. I have a roleplay forum with one of my best friends, and we make up stories like that. We’ve been doing it for years, so we’re pretty accustomed to one another, and it works perfectly fine.

    I’d love to do roleplaying like yours one day, though. Bring up the geek factor a notch 😉
    Inge @ Bookshelf Reflections recently posted…Review: Demon Stones by Michael DrakichMy Profile

    • Lola

      Roleplaying through a forum sounds fun as well, although I am assuming the pace will lie a bit slower then. And how do you handle interaction between characters? Isn’t that difficult to have to wait on a reaction? I think the good thing about forum roleplaying is that you can do it whenever you have time and you don’t have to make sure there’s a time and date that fits for everyone, one of the issues our group runs into sometimes.

      It’s such a fun and unique way to make up stories through roleplay!

      • Inge @ Bookshelf Reflections

        It’s basically like writing a story, but with two or more people. The pace depends on each forum, really. We comment at least once a day, which is very often, though sometimes I make small mistakes, because I forget that things have happened, or that the characters were doing a certain thing 😛
        Inge @ Bookshelf Reflections recently posted…Get To Know Me TagMy Profile

        • Lola

          If you comment at least once a day, the pace probably will be pretty fast indeed. We usually play once a week and then about 3 hours.

    • Lola

      It’s fun and certainly worth a try once, finding a good group to play with can be difficult though. You can also play online on forums or through programs like D20 or google hangout.

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