Last night my gaming group settled back into Big J's Basic D&D Greyhawk game, the first session of the new year, with a mind to play it for the next few months. The sessions we've been playing since September last year have been primarily dice-based, and we've had some fun with a couple of dungeons and a whack of wilderness encounters.
All that changed with the last session. Throughout the entire two hour game there were only two rolls made, one to see what the weather was like and one Charisma check. The rest of the game was rest and recuperation from the adventuring, meeting new NPCs and catching up with NPCs we already new to see what other missions could be done, and impressing the Lord of the estate. It was an evening of roleplaying.
I stepped up and did my part. I love roleplaying, actually playing a character and acting out a role, carefully weighing what to say and do and then acting how I see fit. That's what roleplaying games are all about to me; if I just spent the evening rolling combat then as far as I'm concerned it's just a boardgame.
Most of my best gaming evenings have been about the roleplaying. Yes, I've had plenty of exciting combats and I remember the cool times but the dramatic, character driven moments are what stick in my mind. I don;t ever remember doing much of that with basic D&D - although, to be fair, I was in my early teens when I started playing so smacking stuff in the face with a sword was as cool as it got - and it was a great feeling to know that I could get that level of character involvement out of the game. It's like my 1980s teenage 'kill 'em all!' self has joined with my 1990s 'what is my motivation?' personality. I like it.