Do you like telling stories, creating new worlds, or making up characters? Maybe RPGs are for you! Read on as we discuss how role-playing can help exercise your creativity.
RPGs have a focus on storytelling, from creating your character to fleshing them out during their adventures. Depending on the game you wish to play, your character can be a variety of races, species, or ages; you can give them similar qualities to yourself, or make up someone wildly different from your regular personality if you really want to leave your comfort zone. No matter which traits you decide on, your character is an extremely important part of your RPG experience. You’re going to be spending a lot of time together while you play as them, so you should create someone you actually like.
As a writer myself, coming up with new characters is one of my favorite parts of the creative process. I’ve already started thinking about potential Dungeons & Dragons characters, even though I’m not currently part of a D&D group. Something I occasionally like to do with new characters is write out a mock interview with them, answering the questions as though they’re talking to me. It helps me get a feel for who the characters are and how they react to different situations in their world. The questions could be related to the gameplay or focused on their backstories. Of course, if conducting an “interview” doesn’t seem like your thing, you can always write out any kind of background information you think you need, and think about how it relates to your character as it comes up at appropriate moments in gameplay.
If you have a group of friends to play with, you’ll find that RPGs are a cross between co-authoring a book with multiple people and participating in an improv show. The gamemaster will be the one to answer your questions and lead your group through the story, but it’s up to each individual player to develop their characters and help keep the plot going. As each roll of the dice determines if you’re successful in your action, the story grows, and each player builds upon it in their own way. If you’ve ever watched actual play shows online, such as Critical Role, you can see just how fun playing in a group setting can be, and how each player adds to the overall story.
Maybe you don’t have a group, but still want to explore an RPG. There are plenty of solo games you can try, which can also help boost your creativity. If you read my post on how I got started with RPGs, you’ll know that my first experience was with the solo game Star Trek Adventures: Captain’s Log. I took an underdeveloped character I initially came up with for an unfinished fanfiction, and expanded upon her backstory within the realm of the solo game. While playing, I’ll write out the action as a combination of prose (for exposition) and a script format (for all the dialogue), but at some point I would like to turn it into a standard story format. I find that whenever I’m playing that game, it really gets the creative juices flowing!
Imagination is arguably the most important aspect of playing any RPG. You have to be able to think on your feet, coming up with ways your character helps to move the story along. It may be challenging at first, but this newbie is here to tell you the challenge is all part of the fun. So get together with your friends (or get out your solo book), pick up a pencil, roll the dice, and see where the story takes you!
Annie Coben is a writer, singer, cosplayer, and all-around geek girl from New Jersey. When she isn’t at a comic con, you can find her playing guitar, working on her manuscript, or watching Star Trek: The Next Generation. Her all-time favorite genre is sci-fi. As a self-described “part-time space princess,” she is a member of the Star Wars costuming group, the Rebel Legion, where she dresses up as Princess Leia. For more from Annie, check out her cosplay-themed Instagram account, @anniedroid_cosplay