The Magic of Storytelling Within Roleplay

It’s been a while since I’ve spoken about roleplay, and that’s mostly down to the fact that it’s not something I do much anymore. Evenings that used to be spent on my laptop have now become evenings in bed with a book. Most of the friends I have who I want to rp with don’t have much time or inspiration, so it’s kind of dwindled for now. That’s okay though, and it’s something that I do hope to get back to in the future.

But recently, I’ve gotten into Critical Role, and it’s making me think about rp again. I definitely want to try DnD sometime. I’d even like to try DMing a campaign one day. I already have a world I’d like to set it in of my own making. I also want to get back into my typical form of online rp. But the fact I’m listening to an rp, in general, isn’t why I’m interested again. I’ve become obsessed with these stories and characters, and that’s what I’m thinking about.

The end of campaign 3, episode 23 was really something. I’m not going to talk about what happened because there will definitely be people who still need to watch it. But the thing that amazed me the most about it was the storytelling. Not specifically the characters or the acting of the scene, though that was amazing, but the ties to the world and the possibilities that it could lead to. The episode basically ended on a cliffhanger, and it had me on edge just as a book or anime cliffhanger would.

Critical Role is always going to be a little different to other forms of rp as it is meant to be a form of entertainment. The stories have to be ones the players enjoy, but the players also need to play to an audience. So maybe the storytelling is a little amped up a little, but I’ve still experienced this sort of feeling within my own rp.

The best thing about any form of roleplay is that you’re not just creating a story and characters, but you’re creating a story and characters with friends. You don’t always know what’s going to happen, and one line of dialogue from another character can completely change your character’s path, in a way that you didn’t expect. Storytelling becomes very fluid in a way that writing anything else isn’t, even when you’re a pantser.

And the fact is when you do multiple roleplays with the same people or just in a single world for a long time, you can start drawing on things that happened before. It could be something major or minor, but for those involved, it will still be exciting. We’ve been seeing a lot of that within Critical Role campaign 3, but one character’s entire backstory is bringing it to the forefront in a whole new exciting way. I want the opportunity to do more like that within my rp.

Weirdly enough, it also just makes me want to write more generally. I have a whole pantheon of gods and history for my current group rp. I’ve been saying for ages that I want to write something with these gods. And seeing storytelling reach a whole new high within someone else’s roleplay has inspired me. I want my worlds and characters to do the same thing for other people. Yes, I want to gather my friends and write more with them. But I also want to take what they’ve helped me build and make it more accessible to other people in a whole new format. We’ve spent years in this world, and I’ve put so much work in that I was tempted to do a George R.R Martin and write a whole ass history book for my fictional world. I’m no good at non-fiction sounding text, so that ended quickly, but it shows how much work I’ve already put in.

I’ve always loved roleplay because it’s as I always say, “writing a story with other people”, and there’s something so fun in that. Yes, there are definitely times when things get ridiculous, or the writing is definitely not up to par. But I can think of several scenes for my ship that still breaks my heart, and I’d be proud if people read them and liked them. Storytelling is an intrinsic part of roleplay, but it’s not what we think about when we’re talking about it.

Roleplaying is a hobby that no matter how you do it, can improve your creative skills, and one of those skills is always going to be your ability to tell a good story. So if you like to roleplay, look at those you’ve done in the past and celebrate them. Maybe there’s something you can turn into some new work. And if you don’t roleplay, but you like to read or write? Maybe, this is a hobby that could get your creative juices flowing whilst still giving you the opportunities to enjoy more stories.

8 thoughts on “The Magic of Storytelling Within Roleplay

  1. Ooo! What host did you use to RP on? I ran invisionfree and jcink forums for…basically my whole online life. I rped just about everything, too — boards inspired by Harry Potter, Twilight, Teen Wolf, original fantasy, etc. I miss it so very much, but I just do not have time anymore. I miss the creativity, I miss the community, and I miss just having fun writing with my friends.

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  2. I love DnD, it’s one of the hobbies that has absolutely transformed my life! I also started playing after discovering Critical Role (sending all my love to you, there is so much joy and pain ahead just in campaign 2 alone lol) and it’s been such a gift! It has made me connect with friends regularly, gives us shared experiences and adventures to bond over and it’s just such a particular kind of magic to share a story that we all build together. It definitely helps that we’re all storytellers and creatives already but wow, the thrill of coming together for a session and not knowing where the dice will lead us but somehow it all works out is truly magical. Playing DnD for the past years has also definitely made me a much better writer! I find that it’s easier for me to explore options for what my characters might do and how those choices affect the world around them!
    Also hi from a new subscriber to your blog, I just found you and this post alone had me hooked already, can’t wait to read your future posts! Now for the important questions: who is your favourite character from each CR campaign you’ve seen? 👀

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    1. Wow thank you! I don’t currently write much on things like roleplay but I am hoping to change that. Plus include some Critical Role content in general – I have Kith and Kin to read soon! – so I hope you’ll enjoy.

      I very much agree that roleplay helps with character writing. I’ve discussed it with a friend before. Both of us had Creative Writing
      teachers commending us on character and we’ve both been rping since we were 12. It definitely impacts the way you create characters including side characters or NPCs. It’s so fun. I’ve yet to try DnD but I’m hoping to soon – I already have a character in my head – so I’m looking forward to seeing what that form of rp can teach me.

      As for favourites I’m very predictable XD. Campaign 1 – Percy is my favourite. I’m still watching but I doubt it’ll change. The one episode of Campaign 2 I saw a few years ago I liked Beau best but we’ll see when I watch it properly. Campaign 3 it’s Ashton, and also Dorian. I hope we see him back. I also ship those two ha! The original EXU and Kymal, it’s obviously Dorian again and from the first episode of Calamity I like Laerryn best so far! Same question back at you!

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      1. I used to roleplay with a friend at school so I also started at around 12! We used to write in a shared notebook in class haha, our teachers definitely did not enjoy those shenanigans buit we got pretty good at hiding it. And I also love Percy, he is such a compelling character! For campaign 2 my favourite is definitely Beau because I love strong and slightly mean women. And campaign 3 my favourite is Laudna, she was introduced and I immediately went “she’s mine”. But everyone is so cool, especially Dorian and Ashton! I also really need Dorian back, he fits in so well! I just started watching Calamity today and haven’t met everyone yet but Laerryn is incredible, what a cool character! look at me getting all excited with all these exclamation marks.

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      2. I appreciated Beau due to her immediate flirting with Yasha. I was just like oh, so the cool looking lady is gay and flirting awkwardly? I love it! I’m sure my love of her will stick. Laudna would probably be my second favourite in campaign after the boys. Her backstory just…it’s such good storytelling. Also she’s just sweet, funny and…also kinda gay XD. I doubt her and Imogen will happen but I like it. Getting excited is great!

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