[Note: This is a beginning of something that will probably become a manifesto eventually.]
One of the complaints I hear a lot in the “large LARP organization” I’m in is that people feel left behind because plot is going to the same small group of players. I’ve also noticed that this seems to happen to a lesser extent in tabletop games and smaller group games. I will admit that for a very short time I considered the possibility that it was true, that there was some sort of Old Boys Network to whom all good things flowed, and from whom must be beseeched fun times.
Of course, then I noticed that the people who were saying this the loudest were also the people most likely to complain that they didn’t know anyone, and they didn’t know how to get involved, and shouldn’t the ST/GM/Whatever be trying to rope them in, and…the list really goes on. And to these players I have something important to say.
Roleplaying is about making your own fun.
One of the things I’ve commented on in the past is that there seems to be this shift in people who are attracted to role playing who seem to think that the ST/GM/MC’s job is to deliver the plot to them in appropriately sized chunks that are just challenging enough without being too challenging, that will always reward them with XP (and a convenient dopamine spike), and that they shouldn’t have to work for it at all.
Roleplaying is about working for it.
How do these two principles connect?
We,, you get from an RPG what you put into it. If you approach it with the mindset that you’re going to get involved, care about what’s going on, and try to pick up on something to make fun with it, you’ll have fun. Have a motivation for your character (even if that motivation is “I’m going to slay dragons and win gold). Have a goal. Have enough of a backstory that you know why your motivation exists.
This isn’t to say that there aren’t GM/ST/Whatever types who will completely ruin all this, but if you come to the table (or group) without being willing to put in work and look for the parts that make it fun for you, it’s never going to be fun.