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View Full Version : What do you think about roleplaying as a way to learn how to change yourself?



RivenNookRavenClaw
06-11-2008, 11:47 PM
I don't mean to be crazy philosophical...

I'd love to know what other people think about my thought "The characters I have role-played have helped me become the person I am today."

Its true for me. I don't like playing angry characters anymore...I used to a lot and I know plenty of people for who playing barbarians or great killers helps them deal with a lot of nasty stuff but for me...

I always wanted to be a healer, a cleric, a good person oppressed by hardships.

And isn't because I am such a great person. In truth I have a big temper, it is just that part of me is not who I wish to be, that isn't the hero I try to be EVERY day.

And playing some of the characters I have over the years has just helped me. My first major cleric character was a half-elf that had to deal with some very angry acting characters played by much younger people.

When I look back on that I think "that helped me." It helped me to learn patience.

I hope that does not seem too silly...

Anybody feel the same?

I believe this has been talked about before, how could it not be when I know there are actual psychologists that use role-playing for therapy, read about that at then end of a s sci-fi novel on the "World of Tiers, Red Orc's Rage" series so feel free to hyperlink in past discussions, its just that recently...I sometimes live my roleplaying characters to help my own family.

Feel free to laugh.

boulet
06-12-2008, 07:58 AM
I think, like most gamers, my first way to consider RPG is really as a hobby. IMO a very socially oriented hobby, so it helps improving social skills implicitly. But I see what is your point, by accepting the role of a different persona we commit ourselves to adopt a different perspective on people and life. I'm not sure it really has a tremendous impact on real life, because role playing is often closer to comedy and shallow impersonation.

I would keep away from going too far with the analogy between therapy role playing and hobby role playing. They are two very different activities with only common name and superficial similarity. In France RPGs had a bad press at some point because some ill informed psychiatrists pretended that our hobby is like illegal medicine or voodoo psychotherapy gone wild. Therapy and hobby RPGs are just two different animals, with very different social contracts, purpose and ambitions.

But yeah I can definitely agree that I change by role playing. If it was only for the friendships it helped me elaborate and the way they shaped me in return, it would already be a massive transformation. I don't mind "crazy philosophical", if some members don't care for it they can skip to next thread, right ? right.

cplmac
06-12-2008, 09:49 AM
True. Probably more so for some than for others. It most likely boils down to how closely you look at your inner self.

I am of the belief that everyone makes an actual decission as to whether to be evil or good.

Dimthar
06-12-2008, 12:27 PM
What do you think about roleplaying as a way to learn how to change yourself?

One time I had this crazy idea of creating a Role-Playing "Game" which was a mix of "The Apprentice" / Dr. Karras (Negotiation Seminar) / Managers-Leaderships Training.

The "Game" was going to be designed for HR Departments as a tool to "improve" their executives.

While doing "my research" I found there was an "Actors-Training" company, You (a.ka. PC) will role-play with the professional actors (a.k.a NPCs) common "Business Situations" for you to improve your decision making process. etc.. etc.. blah.. blah...

Funny thing, my ultimate goal was to create a "Supplement" (About Corporate Wars, Mafia, Political Lobbying) for the RPG community.

Anyway, Yes, I believe Role-Playing is being used right now for you to Change yourself.

.

Valdar
06-12-2008, 02:10 PM
Roleplaying is often an outlet for people who want to act a certain way, but society curbs their ability to do so. Mostly it's the antisocial rather than the altruistic behavior that comes out, though.

It got me thinking about how to run a better game for my players- I can ask them about their character's motivations all day long, but until I figure out the players' motivations for being at that table- what sort of self they want to be there- I'll be shooting in the dark.

I think my previous group fell apart for this reason- I either didn't know, or didn't respect, the true goals of the players. My attitude was, this game is about telling a communal, interesting, touching story while shedding buckets of NPC blood, and if they weren't into that, they needed to change. So, here are some guesses about the motivations for my current group:

--To capture the wonder of gaming from their childhoods, which nothing else has been able to replace.
--To have an outlet for murderous tendencies that real-life gives us no outlet for.
--D&D in particular has a certain nerdy status to it that things like computers have lost- "yeah, even when the jocks are playing the consoles and the MMOs, I'm still hard-core."
--To be part of a shared storytelling experience (ok, this is my fantasy here- imho, these players are as mythical as the monsters I throw at the party. Performer and Team Player are usually mutually exclusive.)

Any others? For me, this is a good way to explore why people come to the table, and how to make the most of that.

Webhead
06-12-2008, 03:11 PM
--To be part of a shared storytelling experience (ok, this is my fantasy here- imho, these players are as mythical as the monsters I throw at the party. Performer and Team Player are usually mutually exclusive.)

I tend to think I'm one of these rare breed of gamer. Give me a compelling, dramatic story full of conflict and decision-making. I like combat, don't get me wrong...but it has to be combat that serves a purpose within the story. I don't want to slay monsters just for the sake of it (unless I'm playing a monster slayer type character, in which case he will have deeper motivations for what he does), but if, say, nefarious demons are going to use little Billy as a ritual sacrifice to cast some big, nasty spell unless the party can stop them, that's more like it.

I'm also big on trying to bring everyone into it. I don't like "stealing thunder". I would rather get all the players involved through my enthusiasm. That's one thing I think has been missing from the last few games I've been in...enthusiasm and drama. I mean, my god, the players don't even change their voices or mannerisms to get into character anymore (sorry...it just struck me :)).

I've had all of the other types in my games at one point or another as well. There was the the guy who wanted to "let off steam", the guy who wanted to explore "mental and social taboos", and the guy who wanted to "challenge himself by seeing how efficiently he could take advantage of the game system". Then there's me, who is all about heroics...the risking of life, limb and sanity for the protection and betterment of others. To "beat back the darkness" as it were. I seem to be something of an anamoly among gamers I've played with. Every time I've tried (and eventually failed) to run a superhero RPG, I've had a plethora of players wanting to play "anti-heroes" or those that "skirt the moral and ethical edge"...so that they can play "heroes" but not have to be nice about it. Isn't there any appeal to play a "selfless, noble" hero anymore?

I guess where all of my rambling is going is that I tend to use role playing as an outlet for storytelling and acting. It requires creativity...putting yourself in someone else's shoes and trying to understand what decisions they would make and why they would make them. It is also an outlet for my desire to be brave, bold, heroic and over-the-top. If I put on brightly-colored tights and said "Halt, evildoer!" on the street corner, I would probably be taken away to a rubber room. But doing so in a role playing game only means that I'm about to engage in a climactic battle with Dr. Destructo. That sounds much more fun to me! :D

tesral
06-12-2008, 04:46 PM
One can easily say that everything we do affects who we are. Role-playing is a method by which to explore parts of yourself with a safety net.

Every character we create and play has to come from within ourselves. Even if you think you are playing totally "against" yourself, if it wasn't possible, you couldn't do it. So that character had to come from something within.

Does role-playing change us? To the degree that anything does. Can we become better people through role-playing? Indirectly I believe we can. Not so much because we are role-playing, but because of what role playing fosters; good social behavior. It being a social activity we become better are dealing with each other if we wish to be good role-players. That can extend into real life.

cplmac
06-13-2008, 09:44 AM
Yes, I totally agree with tesral in that with it being a social game, (more so when sitting around the table vs. online) that it does allow one to become better at dealing with others.

nijineko
06-13-2008, 09:56 PM
i have deliberately used roleplaying as a tool in order to change some aspect of myself for the better. it was via using a roleplaying-like method in conjunction with a quirk of my personality and my beliefs that allowed me to learn how to redirect and control my temper. i was kicked out of high school three times for losing my temper, so i think it is easy to see that it was a fairly serious problem. happily it is still past tense. my friends who only know me from after that period of my life can't believe that i even have a temper, let alone used to lose it.

it is also my favored from of fun and relaxation. and it helps me get jobs. because of my roleplaying skills i interview very well. especially the newer companies that use the mini-situations and want you to act out how you would react.... ^^ bonuses all around. =D

RivenNookRavenClaw
06-15-2008, 12:53 AM
What do you think about roleplaying as a way to learn how to change yourself?



Anyway, Yes, I believe Role-Playing is being used right now for you to Change yourself.

.

Wow, I had no idea.

I found it helpful a lot over my life. When I was a teenager I was on home instruction, but no like they do it nowadays, anyway being able to create characters even though I did not have anybody to play RPG games with was a great way to help me re-write all the books I was reading.

When I grew up and moved on with my life it just plain helped. I met so many friends through it and just started feeling comfortable with who I was.

Funny thing is someday's just reading some

of the campaign systems helps me. There was these series of books that just helped me give up the Windows Operating system.

Its escaping me right now...but one of the expansion books was "....XP" and the back just talked about how XP stood for more STUFF, about how much better your life was going to be and all...apparently it was a windows XP joke.

I was just laughing in a store about it but inside I thought to myself "Yeah that was what windows Service Pack 2 was all about. They gave me lots of more STUFF...they stuffed me full of balooney like I was some turkey."

:rolleyes:

Anyway...good to know.

Well, I have to admit I was never happy with my performances when I was a dungeon master. I wanted us to write a book together like out of some of the multi-author efforts I have seen produced by master authors.

What was I thinking?

Yeah, I have seen lots of murderous rage. I just never was that into it. I always wanted to kill all the monsters as quickly, cleanly and neatly as I could and help everybody survive. I always plotted weird combos that were totally legal but would implode CR calculations.

I wanted to do stuff like in my fantasy novels in which somehow the hero gets to emit a lightning bolt from a sword that forks and kills ALL the thousands of goblins in the castle at once and misses all the civilians.

Live and let live though is my attitude now, whatever any players of mine want in the mayhem arena is ok by me.

tesral
06-15-2008, 01:03 AM
I wouldn't depend on RPGs to change your life, but I agree they can.

For example, the teen suicide rate among teens that play RPGs is lower than the national average for teens in general. Yea, the "Dark Dungeons" people hated that one.

The genre is social. You have to play RPGs with other people. The games reward good interactions. If nothing else you are inside playing games with other human beings, not roaming the streets looking for drugs.

They require the exercise of imagination. The games are largely aural. You hear the GM, you process his words and try and picture his world. You discuss, you plan and carry out the plans. I have watched RPGs bring socially shy young people out of their shell.

RPG has been good to me. I try to be good to it.

jade von delioch
06-15-2008, 12:01 PM
i took my time to think this through before posting but heres my two cents.
i think this can go either way. Either you improve as a person or you can become a worse one. Theres a lot of different elements that could go into this. it depends on what type of people you game with, the type of game you play, why you play in the first place, etc. For instance, a player who is very competitive person and a power gamer is less likely to change than a player who love the story and character interaction. the reason for this is that people learn more about themselves by interacting with other- exchanging of ideas. but power gamers are less interested in that and just want to kill.

tesral
06-15-2008, 08:04 PM
I said it can change. Change is not always to the better.

cplmac
06-15-2008, 09:30 PM
I said it can change. Change is not always to the better.


Absolutely! Where is it written in stone that change is always for the good?

boulet
06-16-2008, 07:33 AM
For example, the teen suicide rate among teens that play RPGs is lower than the national average for teens in general. Yea, the "Dark Dungeons" people hated that one.

I'd love to have a reference for this stat, just in case I have to argue with some anti-rpg fundamentalist someday.

cplmac
06-16-2008, 07:52 AM
It sort of works like the regular news, you mostly only hear the bad news.

tesral
06-16-2008, 09:21 AM
I'd love to have a reference for this stat, just in case I have to argue with some anti-rpg fundamentalist someday.

Try the CAR-PGa (http://members.aol.com/waltonwj/carpga.htm) website. He should at least have links to the data. I wish you luck but don't expect progress. Fundies are defined as people that know the truth and don't need the facts.

boulet
06-16-2008, 09:41 AM
Thanks, I'll browse this site. Well maybe it won't be useful with crazy rpg haters, but at least with a few persons who have prejudices :)

tesral
06-16-2008, 09:55 AM
Thanks, I'll browse this site. Well maybe it won't be useful with crazy rpg haters, but at least with a few persons who have prejudices :)

Ignorance is curable, Stupidity is forever. Information is good for the misinformed so it is always good to have information.

I generally describe RPGs as "let's make believe with a framework of rules to handle the I shot you, no you didn't moments, or cooperative storytelling. The GM writes the conflict and the players supply the solution.

Another one for the dark dungeons crowd is to scoff and say: "I have been playing 32 years and no one has taught me any real spells. I've been cheated!" I find it best used when I encounter a Fundie flapping their mouth at the ignorant.

Laughter is the best weapon. Make the very idea laughable and you destroy the emotional argument. The fear is dissipated, the fear monger dismissed. Indeed getting them laughed at is about the only effective counter to the emotional appeal.

You cannot counter an emotional appear with logic because the emotional appeal is not based in logic or facts. Absurdity is the best weapon.

RivenNookRavenClaw
06-16-2008, 10:08 AM
i took my time to think this through before posting but heres my two cents.
i think this can go either way. Either you improve as a person or you can become a worse one. Theres a lot of different elements that could go into this. it depends on what type of people you game with, the type of game you play, why you play in the first place, etc. For instance, a player who is very competitive person and a power gamer is less likely to change than a player who love the story and character interaction. the reason for this is that people learn more about themselves by interacting with other- exchanging of ideas. but power gamers are less interested in that and just want to kill.


I agree completely. I also found what a wonderful moderator women are in an Role Playing Game, sometimes. Playing with just men is a often a different experience unless we have our personal stuff together already.

Then again there have been some really trippy women I have played with. The woman that was a hyper-competitive power gamer who made money playing poker in Atlantic City springs to mine. She lost her boyfriend right in front of me one night sweeping a ruined city of radioactive monsters by ordering us, the other players, all around the first time she ever played the game.

SHEESH! Talk about showing "your true colors...don't be afraid to let them show...show your true colors." :jaw:

RivenNookRavenClaw
06-16-2008, 10:19 AM
Good wisdom, but let me just twist that a bit. (I think you are showing your age, let me be more optimistic that is younger here)

There are filters inside our own minds, many filters. They are there to screen out information and make sense of the world, help us find ourselves and others that can help us. Prejudice, and hate whether I like it or not seems to work like a good filter for many people.

Meaning, hate helps people avoid things that could destroy their lives. For instance I have seen, with my own eyes, people channel hate into former addictions to drugs to help themselves escape a drug taking like style.

The hate starts to work like a wall between them and old places and old faces that will let them fall right into a bad way of life.

I am sorry to break it to us all, not really I am being sarcastic, but fantasy role playing games are often panthestic; they involve many gods oftentimes.

Right there you have just undermined a persons faith to many throughout the world. Playing a cleric in their eyes is Blasphmey, end of story, end of discussion. Inculcating, training hatred into their children against roleplaying games then becomes an act of godliness against unclean filth that seek to destroy the souls of their children.

Well, as the Church Lady used to say on Saturday night live "Isn't that Special."

Yes as you say Tesral humour is often the best response, good natured humor because that is the spell that helps to dissolve the hate barrier. I think one should start by making fun of oneself...

"You know, maybe you are right...maybe it is sinful to play roleplaying games but I honestly can't get a date without this game and just need women. I met the loveliest Wiccan, you know a witch, in this roleplaying game once...(sigh)...of course she wouldn't give me the time of day she was busy plotting how to tie knots around another guy...the dungeon master...Why do they always..."

Whatever...not that funny at that point because its too true, too real but as I go on...ah the chances for false self-mockery just open up before me.

However, I am saving that story for when it counts... ;)

tesral
06-16-2008, 12:56 PM
Hate might work, but it eats at the hater. The negative emotions are a poison. Practiced daily they poison everything until you see the world through that filter of hate. Eventually you come to hate yourself and then you are most of the way to being a true Puritan.

Someone that hates themselves cannot like anything else.

cplmac
06-16-2008, 10:00 PM
...I am sorry to break it to us all, not really I am being sarcastic, but fantasy role playing games are often panthestic; they involve many gods oftentimes.

Right there you have just undermined a persons faith to many throughout the world. Playing a cleric in their eyes is Blasphmey, end of story, end of discussion. Inculcating, training hatred into their children against roleplaying games then becomes an act of godliness against unclean filth that seek to destroy the souls of their children. ...


Then there is part of the discussion between Tas and Fizban (Paladine) at the end of Dragons of Spring Dawning. It's the part where Paladine tells Tas that he is known by many different names, since each group of people have a different name for him. Raises the question, "Why can't this be posible now?" Of course, the folks referenced above would see this question as even worse than playing a cleric.

RivenNookRavenClaw
06-17-2008, 04:49 PM
Then there is part of the discussion between Tas and Fizban (Paladine) at the end of Dragons of Spring Dawning. It's the part where Paladine tells Tas that he is known by many different names, since each group of people have a different name for him. Raises the question, "Why can't this be posible now?" Of course, the folks referenced above would see this question as even worse than playing a cleric.


Aslan, the lion, the son of the Emperor of the Sea is a Christ figure...in the book the Last Door there is a man that tried to do right by his evil god all his life but...At the end that god will not take him and Aslan will, why? Because Aslan says something to the effect "You have lived all your life in sincere faith trying to do the right thing...therefore everything you have done I now own and make you new...come and see my country."

And there you go but still the religious friction just never goes away for lots and lots of people.

Dimthar
06-22-2008, 08:50 AM
Thanks, I'll browse this site. Well maybe it won't be useful with crazy rpg haters, but at least with a few persons who have prejudices :)

Found this link, Quickly read it. At least seems that the worst is over.

http://www.usask.ca/relst/jrpc/art9-roleplaying-print.html

.

tesral
06-22-2008, 09:39 AM
Found this link, Quickly read it. At least seems that the worst is over.

http://www.usask.ca/relst/jrpc/art9-roleplaying-print.html

.

True, it's still a useful paper to have around. Thanks for the link.