Sunday, August 14, 2016

#RPGaDAY 2016 Day 7: Storytelling and Storylistening

What aspect of RPGs has had the biggest effect on you?

Prior to going all-in with RPGs, my most central hobby was, without a doubt, Magic: The Gathering. I had played that game since I was eight years old, and I didn't really stop until I decided to go with RPGs until 2007. So from time to time, I think about the kind of person I would have been if I did not change course.

One good thing about MtG was that it was relatively unobtrusive. While I was quite into it, it wasn't nearly as much a part of my life as RPGs have become. So on one hand, losing out on RPGs might have meant that I have more hobbies in general. I used to love writing short stories so that may be something that I would do more.

Which brings me to an interesting point: I've always loved telling and reading about stories. Even with Magic, I delved into its lore before it was any good. I debated the powers of a planeswalker versus a god, I tried to keep my decks thematic even when I was into competitive play. I despaired whenever WotC destroyed yet another interesting world just because it was the third set in the cycle. I even liked Kamigawa! 

Please don't kill me for my awful taste.

On that note, however, I would say that my love of stories, too, existed long before I delved into RPGs. So that's not it, either. 

But now I am piecing it all together. I always loved storytelling, and at first, RPGs gave mean excellent medium in telling the stories that I like to tell. But as I GM'd more and more, it began to resonate that it was more important to tell the story that the whole table wanted to tell - not just mine. And as such I began to make an effort to talk to players more, and to draw out what they wanted out of a game. 

Soon enough life began to get more adult and schedules became harder to align, so GMing for me began to include aligning everyone's schedules. It also became a test of adulthood of sorts, as I began to take note of and become gaithful to scheduled events more. Here communication became even more important. You are respectful of others' schedules while gently reminding others to do the same.

So in short, the one thing RPGs have provided me is the ability to communicate. Beyond saying what I want, communication for me evolved into listening what others feel and want, in turn. And I feel like that's a skill that I am able to use in every aspect of my life today.