2017 was a long, brutal year. On top of political strife, industry shenanigans, and personal/professional chaos, it was also the first full calendar year I spent out of school and thus removed from automatic contact with a big group of my friends. But in the last few months, games not only gave me an explicit reason to reach out and connect with a group of people whose company I cherish, but also an outlet to explore stories I would never otherwise have told.
Zora Gilbert cares a whole lot about words, kids, and comics. Find them at @zhgilbert on twitter, and find the comics they edit at datesanthology.com.
Before I gave them a try, all I knew about roleplaying games (RPGs) was the tropes I saw on TV: a game master (GM) sitting behind a trifold with I-don’t-even-know-what printed on it, players mouth-breathing and rolling twenty-sided dice, Tolkien-esque orcs, machismo-heavy dwarves, sexy elves, and players responding with cheers or groans to tell those watching the cartoon whether the story within a story was going well or poorly. At its best, this was disinteresting; at its worst it was arbitrary (GMs deciding outcomes based on unknown mechanics), crude (killing monsters to level up and get coins), and sexist (damsels in distress within the narrative, and no non-male players).