I have many thoughts about tabletop RPGs; this note is a work in progress…
I play tabletop role-playing games 5-6 evenings per week, including getting paid as a professional GM to run games. I am also learning about creating, designing, and publishing games and game systems. It’s been a varied story to get here, though, and I’ve learned a lot along the way.
It has been six years since I was first introduced to my first tabletop role-playing game. It was summer, and we played some Pathfinder Dungeons & Dragons. I loved it.
From then, I played regular 8-hour Saturday D&D sessions remotely with friends during the next two semesters of college. I watched my good friend DM for us and deal with our goofiness, silliness, and rules-bending. I learned a lot from him about DMing responsively instead of forcibly, which I incorporated into my educational theories of teaching philosophy.
After college, I started playing D&D at work and it became one of my most-cherished social traditions. I listened to D&D podcasts and worked for hours on crafting adventures for my friends.
And then, after five years of playing & loving D&D, I was introduced to my first non-D&D roleplaying game: Dungeon World in the Powered by the Apocalypse system. It fascinated me. I learned there were more games than just D&D. And that changed everything
It wasn’t until I eventually played Masks, a game about teenage superheroes, that I truly understood why different systems of games exist. I saw the way that the mechanical rules of the game encouraged players to act in certain ways. It centered teenage emotional turmoil in the way the rules were written.
From there, I’ve ravenously read game texts and played games, major publications to tiny indie PDFs. I’m fascinated by discussions about what games encourage and discourage in their rules, how they approach issues, how they set up different styles of play, and the philosophy of what it means to “design a game”.
I’m still in the middle of my learning & growth. This is an active area for me. But for now, I run games in PbtA systems, FitD systems, and all sorts of indie games under every imaginable style. I like lyric games and crunchy games. Every single game is an art piece designed for something, and nothing brings me greater joy than unpacking it at a table or on my own.
As a player, I have played:
- Dungeons & Dragons
- Dungeon World / Worlds of Adventure / Homebrew World
- Monster of the Week
- Scum & Villainy
- Hearts of Wulin
- Dawn of Worlds
- Within the House*
- When We Made War Upon The Slumbering Woods*
- i’m sorry did you say street magic*
- probaby more that I am forgetting
* I have also run this as a paid professional GM