In Defense Of Roleplaying

Hi! Are you one of those idiots who think that roleplayers are pathetic people who need to get a real life? If you are, this essayís for you.

If you are, in fact, a roleplayer, or an intelligent, sensible person who doesnít roleplay but doesnít mind other people doing so, or has thought about joining a roleplaying group but hasnít yet done so Ė in other words, if youíre not one of the idiots Ė stick around anyway, you might be interested.

To start with, let me tell you a little about myself. I am not currently involved with any RP groups, but I was for quite some time a member of the Netland White Tower (NWT). I was also one of the original members of the roleplay that started on the Wheel of Time Alliance (WOTA) BBS, transferred to the Society of Scholars and ended up at the Scriptorium, getting more and more bizarre all the time. Right now, itís paused, which is the only reason Iím not still in it.

I am also a high-IQ University student taking a double degree in Arts and Science, I have friends Ė and not just over the Net Ė that I enjoy being with, and Iím trying to write a book. In other words Ė I have a life! Isnít that amazing?

So, I guess your question is, if I have such a satisfying life in reality, why do I need to pretend to be a fantasy character and act out unlikely scenarios in a made-up world? The answer is, I donít need to Ė any more than I need to listen to music, have conversations, write stories or for that matter read the Wheel of Time. I roleplay for exactly the same reason as I do all those other things Ė because itís fun.

Iíll say it again. Roleplaying is fun.

I enjoy being creative and interacting with other people in a fantasy setting. Fantasy is the most normal thing in the world. Everyone fantasizes. If you can tell me that you have never in your life imagined being someone more exotic or powerful or beautiful than you are Ė then youíre a lousy liar.

Writers like Robert Jordan, like Tolkien, like David Eddings and Katharine Kerr and Melanie Rawn, like a whole host of others, cater to our need for fantasy. So, in a different way, do the RP groups based on their books. Roleplaying is shared fantasy. Itís an adult version of lets-pretend. Itís Ė a Ė game.

Now tell me, my anti-roleplaying friend, why are you so serious about it?

How many roleplayers do you, personally, know? How many of them fit the pale, bespectacled, nerdy stereotype? How many of them have you taken the trouble to get to know and find out what other interests they have? Have you ever tried roleplaying and formed an informed opinion about it?

Never mind, I already know the answers.

And why, I wonder, are you hanging around RP groups, carping and criticising, whining on about the pathetic losers who donít have anything better to do with their time? Donít you have anything better to do with yours? Is your life really, really so dull? Are you really so petty that you have to try and spoil everyone elseís fun as well?

Poor baby. Go for a walk. Read a good book. See a good movie. Do something constructive for a change.

Better yet, try roleplaying. You might actually enjoy it.

Raina's Hold / Raina's Library / Raina's Library - Essays