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.

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.


  • 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

    Dream Job: Editor-in-Chief of the Official World of Warcraft Magazine (south san francisco)

    Reply to: see below
    Date: 2009-05-08, 1:53PM PDT

    Dream Job: Editor-in-Chief of the Official World of Warcraft Magazine

    Future US is a leading publisher of cutting-edge special interest magazines and websites in the games, technology, music and action sports sectors. With monthly sales in excess 2.6 million magazines and traffic to our websites at 7.8 million unique visitors each month, Future US is the fastest growing publisher on US newsstands.

    Recently selected as one of the top ten “Best Medium Sized Companies to Work for in America”, Future has a unique and dynamic philosophy that encourages creativity, innovation, growth and balance. Join us and work with fun, talented people that love what they do, and are passionate about media and technology.

    Do you know the difference between a Night Elf and a Blood Elf? Do you know your favorite class role and spell rotations? And, more importantly, can you show us superlative examples of your publishing experience in the games/entertainment markets?

    If so, this is your opportunity to turn your favorite passion into a full-time job! Future US is looking for an Editor-in-Chief for its newest launch, the Official World of Warcraft magazine. This is a new quarterly magazine that covers all aspects of the World’s biggest MMO from its content to the players themselves.

    The Editor-in Chief is a full-time position at Future’s South San Francisco offices, and reports to the Editorial Director. The ideal person for this position will be flexible, proactive and able to effectively deliver on the responsibilities outlined below:


    1. Work with the Editorial Director and WoW publisher Blizzard to create the editorial direction, content and vision for the Official Wow Mag.
    2. Quality control. Ensure that the Official WoW Mag is produced to the highest quality and meets the client’s requirements.
    3. Recruitment. Identify Editorial recruitment needs and work with the Editorial Director to solve them. Liaise with Senior and HR personnel in organising recruitment advertising, should it be necessary.
    4. Client relations: Work with Blizzard to ensure that the magazine follows brand guidelines and delivers on its objectives.

    Working Practices

    1. Work with the writing team/freelancers to ensure they understand deadlines, deliverables and project needs. Mentor and manage the writing team so that they deliver cutting-edge copy that at the very least delivers on consumer and client expectations. Lead by example by writing and producing key/headline features and other articles.
    2. When temporary staff is required, ensure that they are briefed and directed efficiently and cost-effectively either by yourself or delegated staff.
    3. Ensure correct use of in-house systems.
    4. Ensure all Editorial staff are correctly organising, documenting and administering their own, as well as freelance editorial and are delivering on deadlines.

    We offer a great working environment and a benefits package that includes free medical, dental and vision coverage for regular full time employees, their eligible dependents and domestic partners and a matched 401k retirement plan.

    For more information about our company and benefits, please check our website at http://www.futureus.com. Please click the link below to apply for this position.


    Compensation: Commensurate with Experience
    Principals only. Recruiters, please don’t contact this job poster.
    Please, no phone calls about this job!
    Please do not contact job poster about other services, products or commercial interests.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s