Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Hang your head in shame, you dirty roleplayer!

I was musing today on the nature of roleplaying and there is one thing that I have never been about my hobby - secretive.

I've always been quite open about being a tabletop gamer. I don't fling myself in people's faces and declare that 'my hobby is the roleplaying!' but if the conversation turns to 'what do you do in your spare time?' then I'll casually mention that I play roleplaying games along with my other interests. If they ask again, I just say it's like a freeform boardgame for actors. If they enquire further I inevitably say, 'you know... Dungeons and Dragons'. Even if that's not what I'm playing, it's the name everyone recognises.

Because I approach it in such a relaxed 'whatever' attitude I'm never looked at strangely or ridiculed for it. If I find out they've taken the piss behind my back that's their prerogative and a true indication of their character, but in general almost all the people I've said it to just go 'oh, right' and change the subject. And that's fine by me - I'm not interested in botany or football so if someone told me that their primary hobby was planting flowers and kicking balls around I'd probably do the same thing. We're not all into the same stuff.

A couple of people I knew back in the 1990s were good gamers and I knew them primarily through the games we played, but I do remember one night we were getting together to go out for a few beers with some of their friends and I was asked not to mention RPGs. When I asked why I was told it was because 'they wouldn't get it', but so what? I don't get cricket but I'm not going to disassociate myself with someone who does. I had lots of non-gamer friends who had no interest in the hobby, so we didn't discuss it and they never felt the need to take the piss. End of.

So this got me thinking - what is it that makes some tabletop roleplayers feel like lepers when they're asked about their hobby? I've come across idiots who think it's funny to take the mickey out of us and make comments about pointy hats and rubber swords but that's okay - we're a fringe hobby, I guess, and if people don't understand something they ridicule it. But it's never dissuaded me from talking about my hobby if I'm asked about it. I've never made it a secret and, in many ways, I enjoy talking about it if people are interested to hear about it.

Like I said, I was just musing. I've got no real point to make.