The title “role-playing game” is applied to many different types of games. But what does role playing actually mean? It can mean different things to different people. In the end, role-playing is like playing a part, acting like someone else, taking on a role. In tabletop RPG’s you get to create that character and make them what you want them to be. So you have the freedom to be whoever you want to be. You can take this opportunity to be taller, smaller, smarter, stupider, do things you wouldn’t do in real life. But there’s some tricks to it.
First, you have to follow the rules of the RPG you are playing. But working with your GM can help you there. After that – the sky is the limit. You will have the opportunity to step into the shoes of someone completely new and different. Well, for the time you are playing anyway. I wouldn’t recommend showing up at your job dressed as your character and acting like them.
When you play a character for the first time it can feel awkward and different. But getting into character gets easier and fun. If you follow some of our character development tips, you will have a very well developed character to step into. After that, it’s a matter of imagination and creativity.
A key part of being your character is to do things. Don’t sit there and worry about looking stupid or sounding stupid. If you want to take action, do it. It’s more than just fighting things, it’s interacting with other players and characters in the game. It’s talking, walking, eating, sleeping, making decisions. Don’t think about what you would do, but what your character would do. Then do it. Say it. If you think about it, an actor in the movie isn’t up there being themselves, they are being someone else. And if they are a good actor, they are convincing. You don’t see them on the screen – you see their character. So, be your character. Convince others that you are that character.
Keep your character cheat sheet on hand if you don’t know how they would act in a situation. Think about their past, their personality, their quirks as well as their alignment, their stats, their gods, and everything else you put into them. Staying true to character goes along with the fun. It may not be how you would act, but if it is how they would act – then do it. A lawful good character would not rob a homeless peasant. A chaotic character would not support following the rules no matter what. A thief wouldn’t think it was wrong to steal, although you might personally. Remember, you are not you. You are your character, so what would they do?
Sometimes new players think that they sound stupid or struggle with getting into character. But know that this is what the game is all about, playing the role of someone else. The other players and GM are doing the same thing. So be stupid. Be different. Have fun. And if your character does something dumb, roll with it. Some of the greatest stories and fun games come from stupid things that are said and done in the game. You and all your fellow games are telling a story, creating a story, and in some ways, living a story. And stories can be anything. So have fun with it.