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.