RPG A Day 2022 – Why did you start role-playing?

Because it was the 1980s, and all the cool kids were doing it.

Heh. No, because it was the 1980s and all the nerdy, geeky outcasts were doing it, at least until high school. That’s when most folks I know stopped playing, perhaps as a defensive strategy. There were few things less cool than playing Dungeons & Dragons, and the Satanic panic certainly took its toll. There’s only so many times you can tell people that players don’t die when their character does in D&D, or that no, people aren’t selling their souls to devils in order to cast fireball.

By college and the early 1990s, all of that had died down, and it was easier to connect with other gamers. Sure, when our college role-playing game club sought recognition from student government, we were asked if people were going to kill themselves if their characters died, but with the help of our advisor, we got past that. The club was recognized, and we went on to organize a series of semesterly gaming conventions. I like to think we helped socialize role-playing games as a normal (if geeky) past time at the university.

A better question for me would be why did you keep playing role-playing games? And the answer there is easy: friends. Sure, it’s a great outlet for creativity and I’ve learned a ton about organization, storytelling, and speaking as a game master, but in the end, it’s all about the friends I’ve made and the friends I’ve kept.

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My time-worn copies of the Dungeons & Dragons Basic Rules and B2 Keep on the Borderlands.

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