A quick point about roleplaying

First, watch this video. Go ahead.

Kinda pretty, isn’t it? Yeah, I like that.

Funny thing is that, before yesterday, I had no idea that there was formal glowstick dancing. You know, beyond just jumping around at a rave with a glowstick. But as a form of expression? Not even a little bit.

Also, I’ll bet that none of the people in that video are roleplayers. And that’s the point right there.

The world is full of wonderful human activities. People do the most amazing things, which are beautiful and delightful, which will be ignored by most people in the world. Glowsticking. Street luge (with a hat tip to Ben Lehman’s XXXXtreme Street Luge). Roleplaying.

And yet roleplayers persist in trying to claw for the mainstream, waiting for that one game which will come along and give us mainstream cred. Because, somehow, when that happens, we’ll all feel like we have permission to enjoy this quirky activity that we call roleplaying.

Glowsticking will never be mainstream, but that doesn’t seem to matter to the dancers in that video. Instead, they are simply embracing that which they love; whoever shows up will be included.

Maybe roleplayers should just focus on embracing that which they love, not on demanding recognition from the mainstream.

I think I’m going to watch that video again.

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3 responses to “A quick point about roleplaying

  • Jesse Burneko

    Overall, I agree with you. That the obsession with making RPing “mainstream” is misguided. There is one fundamental difference though which I think is significant. You can record and disseminate glow-sticking to be enjoyed by others. A non-participant can look at what you do and say, “Wow, that’s cool” even if they never participate.

    I think that’s what RPers are *really* after. Recognition from non-participants. How do I share what I do with Joe in Accounting when we have lunch.

    Hell, this happened to me last night. I’m playing a Sorcerer & Sword game right now using my Gothic Fantasy setup. One of the PCs is being hounded by her great-grandmother who’s a lich. Last night she constructed a coffin, dug a grave in her family’s plot and carved a headstone with her great-grandmother’s name on it, all as part of a Contain ritual to trap the lich. It was AWESOME.

    The whole time I was driving home I was just BEAMING with the excitement I felt for that idea. I was dying to tell someone. On the way home I realized I was hungry so I stopped at this local coffeehouse I’m a pretty steady regular at. The woman working the bar seems me comes in and says, “Hey, how are you tonight?”

    And… And… what exactly was I going to tell her? “I’m feeling awesome because a friend of mine just built a grave to contain her undead grand-mother?”

    Now that said, if I had any audio editing skills I’d gladly record and edit many of my sessions. I think they’re pretty good stuff, worth sharing. But I don’t have that skill.

    Jesse

  • Bryan Ray

    Well, I don’t know about making RPGs “mainstream.” I’ve never really had any impetus to do that. That glowsticking thing, though… those guys would be seriously dangerous with a chain whip or a pair of ‘chucks! Hmmm… sounds like a character seed.

  • EmergePeoria

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