First, I want to say that this editorial was inspired by one that Editor-in-Chief Chris Youngs wrote on 1/4/2010 for Dragon/Dungeon magazine regarding being a team-player at the table. This is a great piece to read and one that I highly recommend for anyone that is a fan (or not) of D&D. We all know those who fit the bill of going overboard with their character, sometimes so much that it detracts from the game and story being presented. This is by no means a slight (I have been-there-done-that myself), but is meant just as advice to people to self-reflect on their own character development in order to create a creative environment that everyone at the table can enjoy.
Chris makes many important points that I feel should be repeated. Roleplaying is a wonderful and artful way to express ourselves, escape the real world, and expand our understanding of other points of view. In real life, I may have various frustrations and stresses of the day to day, but through roleplaying, I can effectively escape them. I have learned to see issues and topics from other points of view and have grown significantly because of it. It also allows me to create characters that may have a differing moral compass from my own and try to recreate that persona; thus, I get to experience something I could not do away from the table. Roleplaying = good for humanity. I truly believe that.
Roleplaying should never undermine the cooperative nature of the game nor should it shred the fabric on which it was originally built: six friends getting together to enjoy themselves in a setting of fantasy. In an age of technology and the Internet, fleeting moments that we can spend in the flesh are worth their weight in gold.
So, while you are rolling up your D&D character, remember that others are here to have fun too. I’ll even go further than Chris and say “Don’t be an ***.” Other people want to have fun, and while you may be an aficionado at making characters, please be considerate of the entire group and don’t allow your character to tear things apart.
Remember that the core of this game is to have fun and to enjoy the time you can with friends and acquaintances. I wish everyone a Happy New Year and hope 2010 is a great and prosperous year for all D&D nerds and geeks!