Why Do We Play?

                Hey folks! This is Aaron, part of the team here at Hedgehog Games. Today I’m going to talk about the various reasons that we all play RPGs. Now admittedly, while I could make some educated guesses, I have no idea why you play, so what I’ll actually be doing is telling you why I play and hopefully some of it will resonate.

                Before I started playing pen and paper RPGs, I had already developed a love of fantasy and sci-fi from the literature, movies, and video games I consumed.  I was a big fan of theater as well, so when my friend Jesse invited me to play in his 2nd Ed D&D game I was pretty much instantly hooked. Finally! A chance to act out all of the drama and action that had been dumped into my mind by my favorite authors and directors! My first character was a fire cleric (we were playing in the Dark Sun world) so…mostly what I did was set things on fire, but I did it for REASONS! Reasons that I came up with! It wasn’t long before I started running my own games, stealing shamelessly (as many of us do when we first begin) from all of those people who inspired my interest in the first place, and letting other people set the things that I made up on fire.

                It’s been a little over 2 decades since that fateful day, and I’ve come a long way from setting things aflame for reasons. I’ve been through numerous edition changes and mutations of D&D (up to the current incarnation of Pathfinder), played many other systems and genres (D6 Star Wars, Call of Cthulhu, Vampire, and Champions to name a few), and have lost track of the number of characters I’ve made. All of those various systems have their own strengths and weaknesses, catering to different type of player and play style, and to each their own. There have been times where I’ve advocated strongly for one system or another, but these days my thought is that you should do whatever you find most enjoyable. Your why will often determine the how. Chances are if you’re into the hobby and for whatever reason don’t like the rules or feel of the game you’re playing, someone out there has made something you will like.

                I play for a lot of reasons now. There’s the chance to be creative, either as a player or GM, and share those creations with me friends. There’s the opportunity to explore situations and emotions that I don’t have the chance to deal with in my life, which has been enriching and even therapeutic at times. There’s the fun of using the rules in new and interesting ways (or even old ones) and all the little tactics and strategies that develop from that. In the end though the biggest draw for me, and what keeps me coming back to the table year after year, are the relationships that I’ve formed along the way. My gaming groups have grown, splintered, died out, reformed, splintered again, and on and on as people’s lives, interests, and responsibilities have taken them in different directions. The folks I’ve met through this hobby have become some of the best friends I could have or ask for, and that’s why I keep playing.

                Whether your thing is dragons, giant robots, or creatures from beyond time, you’ll find a community with this hobby. Maybe you like deep political intrigue. Maybe you’re into transhumanism. Or hey, maybe you just like setting things on fire. Whatever your deal is, find your people, and have fun.