Episode 83: The Good Friends ponder the appeal of RPGs

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Episode083

We’re back, and we’re looking at the dice clutched in our hands, asking “why?” Seriously, sitting around a table with people you like while everyone pretends to be someone else sounds pretty weird. And yet, for many, roleplaying games are a passion that borders on obsession. The three of us have spent, appropriately for this episode, a total of 83 years playing RPGs. This a realisation that has led to much reflection and a few existential crises since we added it all up. So, why do we do it, what do we get out of it and how can we explain RPGs to people who think that roleplaying involves Batman costumes, naughty nurses and flirty French maids?

maid rpg

OK, there may be some cause for confusion.

Our discussion takes us through a quick overview of the different forms roleplaying takes, how we got into RPGs, why we’ve continued roleplaying long into what we laughably call adult life, and how we might explain RPGs to normal people. We are not academics, so our analysis of the topic is purely subjective and woefully unscientific. We did toy with the idea of dissecting a gamer to gain deeper understanding, but we failed to find a suitable and consenting test subject. Maybe we should have pitched it as the ultimate unboxing video.

View_of_Viscera_Page_82

Not pictured: l, dice pouch.

The other irregular segment in this episode is our brief overview of the Call of Cthulhu 7th edition launch party. We’ve posted about the event already, but now you can hear us ramble on about it too. It’s just like being on a long car journey with us nattering away, only with less sleep deprivation and swerving into oncoming traffic.

dockside dogs

One quick amendment to these notes. Paul mentioned his Dockside Dogs scenario for Call of Cthulhu, which he has been selling through DriveThru RPG to raise money for cancer research. I completely forgot to post a link to it first time round.

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3 Responses to Episode 83: The Good Friends ponder the appeal of RPGs

  1. Mawdrigen says:

    Hi there,

    Weirdly we of the cult of tea and dice are split with maybe half of us also being larpers and others pure tabletop gamers. I do still get some people saying “oh larp that’s stupid” but I can usually win them around by giving explaining that it’s just another level of immersion.

    Personally I’ve been running RPGs and later larps for about thirty years, and I find if you can get most people over the initial jump of “oh that’s nerdy stuff” they find being the hero in an evolving story really fun. It really links into a very central human thing, everyone is a hero in their own story after all, but fighting dragons is better than triumphing over a traffic warden.

    Keep up the good work 🙂
    Mawdrigen

    • Thanks, Mawdrigen!

      You make a good point that we overlooked. It seems to be human nature to create narratives for ourselves, applying them to our lives and actions and those of the people around us. RPGs are a great way of playing with these narratives in a more controlled, coherent way.

      Well, mostly coherent. I’ve played some games that made even less sense than real life. 🙂

  2. Danial Carroll says:

    I fall into a similar camp as Paul here. I’ve always loved maths and am drawn to the mechanics and quantification. The difference with me is that I discovered Call of Cthulhu through my Lovecraft fandom, so it’s the only RPG I’ve experienced, and to be honest, the only one I care to.

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