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Foxfire and Afira's Handbook to Role-Playing

The anguish, glory, and laughter shared with your first game should always be the reason you keep comming back to play. However, when it comes to prolonged playing, people within gaming "cliques" tend to either: keep playing enjoyably, or, they get bored-real fast. We have several solutions, even if this isn't the problem-this is still a helpful section to read.

What to do if you are bored...
First and foremost, evaluate why you are bored. Is it the environment you are gaming in? Most can comfortably game in a garage surrounded by boxes and empty beer or coke cans. Others find this environment too... unimaginative, or they might need a little help envisioning this place. Even I know some excellent role-players who need a little kick to help them get started. Try moving your gaming group to a local park, or maybe some local sewer grates for an encounter with a Nosferatu vampire. Remember kiddies, always listen to the pipe of the sewer grate to make sure no rushing water is coming. Other good suggestions are local zoos, if you are working up a game in the Amazon jungle; local malls and nightclubs, on some dark and slightly dangerous street-accompanied by a huge group of people, flashlights, and the good sense not to leave each other alone to play a game of hide and go seek when you're gaming. Although, it's always safe to remember not to get too upset if the people around you start looking at you lke you're mentally disturbed once you start screaming, "THE WEREWOLVES ARE AFTER ME!"

Next, is it the group of people you game with? Even though you may or may not wish to believe it, sometimes, it's not always you who is the problem. Perhaps you know someone in the group who doesn't participate. I should know-I've been one of them. My experience may be different to everyone elses, but it was because I felt uncomfortable with the set of role-players who "adopted" me into their group. I felt out of place. Perhaps you, as one of the group, or as the newbie into a group of roleplayers ought to get to know each other better. Do things other than just gaming together, and talk, before and after the game. Tell them what you feel is good about their style, and *kindly* tell them what you dislike, and feel is disruptive to the scene. Or maybe, disband the group, and find a new one. No one *should* have ever forced you into a gaming group, and no one says you still can't be friends with them. It could be that they always like to play specific characters the same way-i.e. a big, strong, not-so-intelligent barbarian, with a mighty temper, and a courageous attitude-or that the storyteller's lines are idoitic, way too simple, or way too complex to fully develop with the characters that are made. It may seem right then, that I would critique the ability of the storyteller to create plots, but there is some give and take.

Another factor could be the characters, NPC characters, or storylines that you develop as a role-player. Some individuals get trapped into playing their characters, over and over, and never face any resolve. This may be okay if that was the original intent, but in my opinion, I believe that to make a good story, the characters have to be affected in some way. Change is the key factor. If you have some amazing mage that can't be touched on or off the battlefield, maybe it's time to put him to rest, give him a good last battle to the death, and start a newbie character. Or even worse, you find yourself creating the same character, over, and over, and over again. Never let yerself do that. It's abhorrent to gaming in general. Try to think of new concepts all the time, write them down, and utilize a little bit of it. Perhaps, if you wish to keep the same character, develop a sudden fear to something, have a flashback of a tramatic experience which affects your resolve for several days, remember something vital to the existance of mankind-or it's destruction thereof, meet a person from your past that brings up a different side of your emotions. Not all characters are one-sided. How does this person react to a lost love? Pain? Anger? Of course, always let the storyteller know beforehand. All of these factors could affect the storyline significantly. If it's your storyteller who is the problem, take over for a bit of the game, and start doing things that are in character, but will add spice. Perhaps "Joseph" the loving father of three wonderful children, drinks a little to heavily one day, after seeing another man with his wife, and goes driving, injuring another man who turns out to be a long lost friend, or his wife's "friend".

Happy with your gaming abilities?
Then why are you here? No-I jest. There is never a point in which you are the absolute best, even if everyone bows down to worship the Level 993 Kri'sarian Warlock you made in three days. There is always room for improvement. Slow down, and start thinking about your fellow players. Instead of being a player, play the storyteller, or help others come up with new concepts. Create a character who's ambition isn't to help the group, but to covertly create havoc-without the knowledge of the others. In other words, do more. You are essential to the game, just as much as the other players are.


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