What I Don’t Like About Playing in a Tabletop RPG


Much as I enjoy running tabletop RPGs, I don’t much enjoy playing a character.

This is partly because characters have relatively little to do at any given time. Consider combat: in a four-person party, I’ll spend at best four-fifths of the time twiddling my thumbs, watching everyone else fight. Even outside of combat, I’m just one of several adventurers.

Also, role-playing is social. As quoted in a recent post on Sin Aesthetics: “Enjoying roleplaying is rather like enjoying dancing: At some point you have to throw your inhibitions to the wind, admit you might look like a fool to passing spectators and enjoy the moment. Also like dancing, which at first may seem like a fairly limited activity, roleplaying has almost infinite depth and variety in the experiences it provides.”

While I can “throw my inhibitions to the wind” with good friends, that’s tough to do outside of intimate groups. And my role-playing friends don’t really reward good role-playing. They’re good guys; they’re just focused more on killing stuff and taking loot than on role-playing, at this stage.

And that’s one of the big limitations of role-playing: it requires a certain kind of mentality. Now, I think practically anyone can learn to role-play, just like anyone can play a game of charades. But it’s a mentality that I don’t get much of a charge out of.

Part of the trouble, too, is that I create worlds. I love thinking up cities and societies and people. If there’s going to be someone in the whole process doing that, why not me?

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