Friendship. That’s the inspiration for day 12 of #RPGaDay2019, following Examine yesterday.
Friendship and camaraderie is one of the benefits touted for RPGs. When the group is right, and you’re all having fun together, it’s certainly a great social feeling.
Does this lead to becoming friends outside the setting of your RPG sessions. Well, I suppose it depends. I have made a couple of friends through D&D who I keep up now they’re no longer playing. And the group of the time has met up occasionally at the pub outside of D&D. But we don’t generally tend to seek each other out otherwise. But on the whole, my ex-players tend to drift completely out of my life.
Do you need friends to play RPGs? I suppose it depends where you are. Here in Edinburgh, we are blessed with a large community of players and GMs, and we have ORC Edinburgh as a place to find each other. That’s where I’ve found all my players since restarting – I have known none of them before they joined my table apart from my son.
If I was limited to my friends, I still wouldn’t be playing. I would just be reading the books and dreaming. On the other hand, having people I don’t know join means expectations don’t always match, and we don’t have any shared history. We’ve got to get to know each other, work each other out, get familiar with Marcus’s awful puns, find the happy medium between Jean’s love of graphic gory narrative and Roger’s weak stomach.
I was very fortunate with my first group. They just gelled from the start. It wasn’t until I started a second group that I realised how fortunate I had been with the first group. The second group was more disparate, more prickly, more experienced and hence with more expectations – wanting more options than I was comfortable with, expecting certain playing styles. We worked through it with only one loss due to dissatisfaction, and the campaign continued for several months until a lack of prep time led to people being less inspired and drifting away. No-one has directly said “this is boring. I’m off”; they’ve all couched it as “sorry – life has got too busy; I’ll need to stop for a bit” or just stopped responding. but I suspect if I had got the balance of interest right they may have stayed. Ho hum.
So now I’m on an almost complete new set of players – only 2 of the originals remain, both of them from the first campaign, and one of them captive audience, i.e. my son. Let’s see how long I can inspire them.
So, Friendship? It’s important that everyone at the table are friends while they’re there. But in my experience, there seems to have been little overlap between D&D friends and friends outside D&D.