What Makes RPG's Awesome?

Lately there's been some negativity floating around in blog land (negativity on the Internet, no way) about the relative suckiness of RPG's. I want no part of this kind of flame baiting, it's unproductive and doesn't actually inspire any type of worthwhile discussion (no worthwhile discussion on the Internet, no way... yeah I get it). I like to try and be as positive and encouraging as I can about our shared hobby. I know it's hard sometimes, but I'll take positive and encouraging over reading grown men bitch about games any day.

So lets all try and create some old school positive vibes here, and ask ourselves a very important question:

What makes RPG's awesome?

I asked the other writers here at Rule of the Dice to contribute to this post as well, and this is what we all came up with...

RPG's give you a chance to hang out with people who are your friends, or at the very least share your interests - Unless you're a sociopath or Raistlin Majere, you probably really enjoy hanging out with people. And getting a chance to hang out with people and do something everyone likes is awesome.

You get to use your imagination, and that kicks ass - In a world that spoon feeds us constant crap, and tries to brutalize our senses at every turn, it's nice to just sit back and imagine awesome shit from time to time. And with RPG's you get to share and participate in the awesome stuff you're imagining... amazing.

If you're the gamemaster you get to create cool shit - Yep, this is really the main reason to be a gamemaster. What GM doesn't love creating cool shit for his players to encounter, explore or just see. This is why GMing rocks.

If you're a player you get to have awesome adventures (at least in your head) - Unless you're Bear Grylls I'm going to assume that you probably live a fairly non-adventurous life. But you're character can be a crazy ass adventurer in a crazy ass fantasy world, and all from the comfort of the gaming table.

RPG's are fun - Games are fun, RPG's are games, and that means RPG's are fun. You may have a particular style or genre that works best for your group, but in the end you chose that because it was FUN.

C.D. Gallant-King...

It helps shy people get out of the house - I don't mean this to be offensive, but the classic image of a gamer is the awkward geek with no social skills. In some cases this may be true.  Yet, if a shy, awkward person can go out with friends and laugh and joke and improvise and play-act and everything else involved in role-playing, then doesn't that make for a pretty productive hobby? Going out for stuff like D&D Encounters and LARP and meeting new people is even more impressive.  What's the alternative?  Staying home and playing Warcraft and Call of Duty in the dark by yourself?

It develops analytical skills - Role-playing games, some more than others, involves a lot of book- keeping and number crunching.  Many players take pride in tweaking the stats and numbers of their characters to create an optimal build. Even if you're not into the math and probability, role-playing involves problem solving, often with a group.  Not only do you get riddles and logic problems and so forth, you also must work with a team to build strategies to overcome obstacles. ie, "Okay, I'll hold him down while you use the salad tongs on his genitals and Sally fights off the zombies with the flame-thrower." Somehow, I'm sure this problem-solving teamwork will be useful in the real world.  Someday.

Knights of the Dinner Table - Without role-playing games, there would be no Knights of the Dinner Table and the world be be a much sadder place.

Joe Nelson...

No 'ending' - Every videogame eventually ends. Every book eventually ends (unless it's the frigging Wheel of Time, but I digress...). But an RPG can last for months, years, perhaps even a lifetime. It's not uncommon to talk of your characters years later with your friends, reminiscing about stories and adventures shared. No other experience comes close to that!

No age limits - You can play at 10 or 100. There is no set limit to the age at the table. I've played with people thirty-years older than me and people ten-years younger than me. I've had fun with both. Now that is special!

Dice - Yeah, we get cool freaking dice. No one can beat our dice. Even the lowly little d4 makes non-gamers stop and stare.

Andy (Carpe Guitarrem)...

RPGs encourage you to shape the world and make decisions - In a game, you have free reign to do things to the world, and the GM will respond appropriately. RPGs can be a great way to build confidence and a desire for action. Change a dungeon... change the world!

RPGs get you thinking about stories in a new way -
They often throw giant monkey wrenches into the works whenever the players (or the GM!) have a definitive idea about how the story should progress. When plans go awry and blow up, the art of making a great story out of the pieces enters the picture. You learn to tell stories on the fly, making up interesting plot developments to adapt to the story.


So whenever you want to gripe about the industry, or share your (generally unwanted) opinion on the relative lameness of DIY products, or scream with blind nerd-rage over how some particular edition of whatever game is ruining everything, you just need to chill the fuck out. Sit back and reflect a little, think about what brought you into this hobby in the first place, use your imagination... and let the awesome back in.

Leave a comment, we want to hear your ideas on what makes RPG's awesome?

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