At the start of this year the one commitment I made was becoming a member of my local gaming club. Every Thursday night I spend four hours playing role-playing games (RPGs) with a bunch of awesome people (the club also hosts boardgames). Campaigns are run in four week blocks, giving everyone a chance to host and/or participate in a wide variety of different systems.
So far this year I’ve been part of three very different games. The first was a Nemesis campaign in which the player characters were members of a catholic cult fighting satan in 1961 Durham. Character creation in this system is done mainly randomly via dice roles and it just so happens that my character’s main skill and passion was driving. As someone who will never drive in reality, being THE driver of our team felt amazing. The past few weeks I’ve been developing a new character for our current Dungeon Fantasy campaign, essentially she is a half-orc which means she has witnessed prejudice her whole life and consequently has anger issues and a need for approval from others. Anyone who knows me will agree that sounds pretty familiar. You see, the possibilities within RPGs really are infinite. You can be whoever, wherever, whenever you want to be and simply forget all of your real-life deficits and struggles. Or you can embrace them, use them to your advantage, witness first-hand what it is like to beat the odds and destroy an entire cave of goblins and ogres despite your issues. RPGing really is pure escapism!
However, it’s not just actual playing that I find enjoyable and calming. Being the creative that I am, I really enjoy character creation. In more complex systems like DnD or Pathfinder (which was my second campaign), coming up with a character build that’ll actually be useful during gameplay and also has a decent backstory takes a lot of thought and focus. Last year whilst hangrily waiting for my surgery, I retained a small amount of sanity by turning one of my favourite illustration characters, Froggo, into a DnD Druid and then the next day whilst recovering and waiting to be taken home, I drew him in his new fantastical form.
Post-surgery whilst I was really struggling mentally I found solace in creating more DnD characters, some of which I really hope I get to play in the near future. Now that I’ve learnt the basics of Pathfinder too I’m hoping to build loads more awesome characters within that system. Not only does character creation help me escape, it is also beneficial to my art work. Character design is unlimited, so working within a system gives me a chance to create fully developed characters that I can then illustrate and maybe even animate.
For me every aspect of the RPG world acts as a form of escapism. It is by no means a hobby for all but it’s definitely one I’m glad I chose to pursue. Right now it gives me a reason to leave the house at least once a week (though due to this virus we are currently meeting-up digitally) and something to focus on when my thoughts become dark. I’m hoping to run my own campaign in the next month or so and really see this as tool for personal development in multiple ways.
So if you’d be interested in hearing about my characters and adventures in more detail let me know!