Role-playing games

Yes, a natural 20!

AKA: sitting around a table with friends, eating snacks and sharing stories together

For decades, the Bear has spent countless hours writing, playing, imagining stories, and more importantly playing those stories.

The basic idea is easy to understand, each player has a role, and they play it (I’m rebranding as Captain Obvious). To me, it’s at the crossroads between improv theater and boardgames, with a pinch of “let’s pretend” games we used to play as kids.

And from that basic idea spawns a multitude of possibilities, that are more or less popular, have more or less rules, and sometimes even switch the basic paradigm, with some games having all the players play the same character, but a different personality1, some games having a referee (also called Game Master/GM, or Dungeon Master/DM, or Storyteller, …) and others having no referees with the players sharing everything. And that’s just about the game’s structure.

You can also have completely different atmospheres and genres. Games go from playing as ordinary people facing unfathomable horrors and trying to avoid terrible fates (or just avoid insanity)2 to the classic fantasy party trying to save the world3, but also science-fiction games with space opera vibes4, or post-apocalyptic games5 and many other options. My examples are not necessarily all games I’ve played, but I’ve tried to give somewhat of a range. Wikipedia tries to make a list of them, but there is many indie games out there that can be found on various sites.

In those games, you get to live through a story and orient its outcomes through your actions. If you’re the GM, you’re going to witness your players break your carefully planned steps, but also finding very logical explanations to things you just put there because “it felt nice there”. If you’re a player, it’s going to be split between creating characters and enjoying their experiences, making plans when facing complex situations, and learning that no plan survives first contact with the enemy when everything goes awry, but you still manage to go through.

Events in games bring joy through playing them, and when something particularly funny, extraordinary, or lucky happens, it turns into great stories that will be told and retold by bards (or your group of friends). Some silly decisions creating surprising results will inspire you forever.

All of this and the sharing of food and good time around a table are the main reasons why I really enjoy tabletop role playing games, and why I will most likely be sharing stories, ideas, maybe scenarios of games on this blog. Plus throughout all those years, I have acquired some trivia about various topics because I was looking for information to make it feel more real in the game, or sound plausible. I have also learned to answer with a “yes, and…” to disruptive player actions that derailed the scenarios I had envisioned, which has made me more adaptable. I got used to speaking in front of people, and impersonating characters has allowed me to explore various things and ideas.

If you’ve never played a tabletop role playing game, you should definitely try it. If you have, don’t hesitate to share your favourite games, or even better, do share your favourite stories from games. I love anecdotes, like Sir Bearington.

  1. Like Everyone is John for example. ↩︎
  2. Like the Lovecraftian Call of Cthulhu. ↩︎
  3. The easy example being Dungeons and Dragons, but there is a very wide range of games that have a fantasy aspect and a lot of them bring variety and change to a very used genre. ↩︎
  4. There is Traveller, Stars without Numbers (who has a free edition also). ↩︎
  5. Apocalypse World is a good take on it, Polaris is one I really enjoy for its universe (but I don’t like the system very much). ↩︎

Hello Internet!

Welcome to my little side of the Internet.

How you got there is a good question, but I hope the time you spend around here will be at least enjoyable for you.

The Bear riding towards a glorious future (maybe)

What you have stumbled upon, is my attempt at getting a new routine of writing more because I used to write a lot and gradually stopped, even though the itch of writing is still always there. I often get distracted or carried away by dozens of ideas, or worse by an inability to decide what to write on.

Most of the posts might just stay on private because I don’t feel like it would be very interesting for anybody to just listen to a random person rambling over the internet, but making them online brings a sort of accountability to the writing process.

To briefly introduce myself, I am Freyja, I like bears, Lego bricks, writing, reading, space, and a lot of other things.

Thanks for your time and have a great time on this side of the Internet!