A Small School With Loud Intentions

The Oyler Griffin

The Oyler Griffin

The Oyler Griffin

Tabletop Roleplaying Games Go Virtual

By Kenyon Fears

An ironclad man weaves and swerves through a blackened brick dungeon  followed by an elven wizard, a 30-foot-tall black dragon close behind as they narrowly escape each fiery breath it sends forth. As they make a final swerve they see the exit to the hell hole they inhabit, a strong but splintering piece of wood keeping the 2-ton door open. The wood crushes and cringles as it loses its edge against the door. The flames swiftly approach as the man slides and scrapes against the floor, he catches the door keeping it up just long enough for his ally to swoop under and pull him out. The adrenaline still pumping through the two men as they looked at the bag of gold they nearly died for. 

It sounds much like a movie though it could very well be a game some have played through. Tabletop roleplaying games are games that await you in the mind. Of course, a movie can’t give you the options a videogame can give you, and a videogame can’t give you the scope a tabletop game could. 

Because tabletop roleplaying games – TTRPGs – take place in the mind, they have no limits. They’re worlds where the player can do anything. 

“Roleplaying even without any ruleset is just a very huge choose your-own-adventure book,” said Brien Moser, a TTRPG player. “You can literally do whatever you want.”

TTRPGs such as Dungeons and Dragons have risen in popularity since around 2014, after the release of the 5th Edition. This edition made participating much simpler; it allowed for more choices by the player while simplifying the choices down at the same time. 

5th Edition also made players unique compared to their enemies, taking the monsters abilities and leaving the players to feel more like a group of unique people, and made combat take less time since enemies didn’t have so many abilities to manage. Now is the best time to join TTRPG as we sit in the middle of the Information Age and in a time where free time should be at a high. 

Though they’re called tabletops, these games can also be played across the web, which is perfect for keeping COVID-19 at bay because you can remain physically secluded from others. Because as long as you have friends you can play. 

All you require to play is a friend and maybe the internet. Again, in this information age, you don’t have to pay for anything: you can simply look things up. DnD’s whole rulebook is online for free. There are rules for two-player games. There are even rules for sidekicks to spice up a one-player PC game. If you don’t like fantasy, you can play a sci-fi Star Wars game, or a confusing time period Pokemon game, and even a game set right now where everyone has super powers. TTRPGs hold endless possibilities. 

There are two types of players in these games however. A Dungeon Master (DM)/ Game Master (GM) is a god of the world that decides what the world is and how it can be interacted with.

A DM plays alongside Player Characters (PCs) who are characters like the ironclad knight or the elven wizard. They have less control over the world; instead they inhabit it and fight dragons, or run peaceful diplomatic missions with goblin tribes, or maybe they just work the land like a normal person in the 1300s. It’s all up to the PC. They are the main roleplayers. 

“Roleplaying is always fun, you get to be somebody else, you get to say stuff you normally wouldn’t say,” Moser said. “You just get to be rude to people!”

Due to the pandemic, I have run some games over the internet and discovered some upsides and downsides of this method of gaming; of course I needed players so I picked up my 2 PC’s, my brother Jaydyn Fears and my cousin, Moser. My brother and I live together so there’s no need for online gaming with him, but for my cousin? Yeah, I play virtually with him. 

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Tabletop Roleplaying Games Go Virtual