Monday, 10 February 2014

How Playing Roleplaying Games Can Make You a Better Person


People who play tabletop roleplaying games are often pegged as unsociable, basement-dwelling outcasts surviving only on carbonated drinks and potato-based snacks... 

The fact is, roleplaying games are inherently social, more-so than most popular videogames. But more than that playing these games can leak into your life in a positive way.

Here are ways that being a tabeletop gamer can give you the skills that can help you in your day-to-day life.

Quick Decision-Making

You're surrounded by vicious gnolls, their teeth gnashing as they draw closer. You're clearly outnumbered and what's more, a strange gas begins to leak into the room. What do you do?

Hands up if you've ever been in a life and death situation where you have to make a fast decision or end up in the grave? Most of you will have your arms in the air right now (or not, because I can't actually see you - this is just an article). Roleplaying games demand us to be able to make split-second decisions, weighing up all different possibilities in a small space of time and going which is (hopefully) the best one.

 This is an invaluable skill when it comes to real life. Whether your car breaks down in the middle of nowhere or you're in a board meeting and you're asked to decide on a course of action, roleplaying games give us a simulation where we can get used to making these quick decisions. That's not to say that they're going to be the correct decisions, but playing a character helps you evaluate situations that could be quite stressful.

Knowing How To Tell A Story

The old man throws back his hood, revealing himself to be the enemy you had been hunting all this time. For months he has been with you, gaining your trust, sharing his tales, and now he looks upon you with his real face and laughs...

Storytelling is one of the oldest traditions of humankind. Being able to tell a good story is not only helpful for entertaining folks at the bar, but can also be a great skill when it comes to your working life too. As a PR professional, I need to use storytelling on a daily basis to make it into the news media, but many other jobs can benefit from storytelling, whether it's how to structure a presentation, write a report or collating research data. As roleplayers, we get together with our friends on a regular basis and tell stories. We learn how to craft a good narrative and how to create deep characters with meaningful objectives.

Mathematics Skills

Vorkorn brought his great iron hammer down upon the ghoul, hoping to annihilate the creature once and for all. He rolls 1d20 +4, attempting to get higher than 14...

Depending on the game you play, you may be doing a varying amount of mathematics, mostly in your head. However, most popular games require a certain amount of maths savvy to work out whether you kill that ghoul or whether it dodges out of your way. Sure, you could use a calculator, but it's far more rewarding to work out your damage in your head.

It's not just addition and subtraction either. There's multiplication, division (splitting the gold), percentages, probability and even algebra in some of the most popular games. If you're playing games regularly you're going to be faced with common maths problems on a weekly basis, far more than most people. Maths problems help sharpen your brain and keep you on your toes intellectually.

General Knowledge

The mouth in the door begins to speak: "Give me food and I will live, give me water and I will die - what am I?"...

There are many, many different genres of roleplaying game, from medieval fantasy and science fiction to 1920s noir and westerns. What many people don't realise is that roleplaying games can teach us a lot about general knowledge. Without Tunnels & Trolls I wouldn't know what a zweihander is, and without Call of Cthulhu I wouldn't know that chionophobia is a fear of snow. Games can teach us about a host of different things, whether that's the names of sections of a castle, geographical features or even traditional herbal medicines. If you're a roleplayer, I have no doubt that you will get on well down at the local pub quiz.

Increased Vocabulary

Nessa is an enigmatic woman. A woman of the arcane with Druidic roots, she is interested in the esoteric matter of the world...

When playing roleplaying games you're going to come across a host of unfamiliar words. Did you know what dexterity was before you player D&D? What about what a brigand is or what a glyph is? What about the action of flaying? There are many words you will come across in games that you will rarely bump into in your daily lives, therefore as you play more, your vocabulary will grow and you will get smarter.