The following post has not been designed to offer a practical tool, device, website, or any sort of the usual contribution to your tabletop game. I have instead chosen to discuss the nature of the game and several matters pertaining thereof in a philosophical context. If such a thing doesn't interest you, please feel free to disregard the contents of this message.
I won't mind, really.
To severely abridge a somewhat long and convoluted story, my personal motivations for engaging in tabletop activities have been recently brought into a scope of deep introspection. Certain influences within my life had forced me to sincerely prioritize the significance of this time-consuming hobby in relation to other, seemingly more productive expenditures of my free time. With my deep infatuation of constant self-improvement looming overhead, I found myself in need of a truly valid reason to continue in this leisurely pursuit. Failure to do so would turn this once cherished past time into something of a guilty pleasure, as I was certain to give myself much grief over engaging in an activity deemed to be 'wasteful'.
Fortunately, I was able to resolve the matter in a timely fashion; as evidenced by the continuation of this Blog, my enjoyment of tabletop activities remains regular and guilt-free. The matter, as strange as it may sound to some, wasn't about refining social ability or improving my basic arithmetic skills, or any of those other commonly-touted reasons; a revelation that came with much surprise when contrasted by my aforementioned love of self-improvement. It was instead a preservation of a less mature 'self', an infantile part of my being that, no matter how jaded, bitter, or disillusioned the 'adult' me would become, would still take the risk to believe that a form of magic still existed somewhere in the universe. My inner child had spoken in favor of role playing, and I was compelled to listen.
I may have lost some of you just now with the admittance of such unconscious innocence and naivety. You may believe that I'm alone in my willingness to preserve this 'inner child', but I've recently become of the belief that everyone, no matter how old or experienced, keeps a flame burning for that one day when destiny may call on them to embark on a journey greater than they've ever known. As children, we learn of these stories in which some ordinary, everyday protagonist is suddenly stripped of their normal lives and thrust into a foreign role to fulfill some task that only they can accomplish, often in a land entirely alien to them. Other times, these stories may detail a special individual that appears without warning, seemingly out of nowhere, and forever changes one's life for the better (or more interesting, at least). This feeling of escape into an exciting realm of the unknown fascinates us, making those who hear these tales yearn for their own adventure of fantastic proportions.
So we wait, watch, and hope for the signs of our impending journey. We dream thoughts and scribble pictures of our glorious quest to be. Birthday wishes are spent conjuring the catalyst that will change our lives forever, but it never comes. Year by year, we grow weary of awaiting the distressed damsel or the shining knight's call and the magic fades, kicked to the side by the inexorable realities of life. The fantasies of escapism that once occupied our every thought are soon placed on the same dust-covered shelf that holds our forgotten toys and undersized clothes.
Most will call this a natural stage in the process of 'growing up' and for the most part, I agree with this sentiment. It's quite unhealthy and unrealistic to preserve the expectation of someday being rescued from one's mundane life (that requires solely personal intervention, but I digress). The part that troubles me is the loss of child-like escapism; that is, to say, there's absolutely nothing wrong with playing pretend, as long as you have a firm grasp with which to facilitate your return to reality. Growing up is fine and healthy and all that, but there's no reason to lose your youthful sense of wonder and curiosity, even if it's seldom used.
Obviously, this is where things like tabletop/role playing games come into play, thus allowing said imagination a structure in which it can take refuge and flourish. This recreational activity, however, is not available to most, due to a combination of widely varying factors, such as insufficient funds, inadequate company, or just simple ignorance of the game (which you just lost). Such inhibitions, while far from the worst fate that can befall a person, are quite regrettable, as these individuals can miss out on the very escape from their 'normal' lives that had been so greatly anticipated by them so many birthdays ago. I'm not going to say that every session around a cramped table whilst flanked by sweaty neckbeards is going to be magical, but when the day comes that an experienced Host is joined by awesome Players, the resulting events can be quite memorable, if not downright moving.
That rare spark of genius, that one-in-a-million adventure that will forevermore stand out in the Player's mind; that is why I play, and more importantly, why I act as my group's regular Host. Not too long ago, through the charitable actions of several individuals now close to my heart, I was introduced to the wonderful world of tabletop gaming. This discovery bettered me as a social individual, revived my once-forgotten sense of childish escapism, and gave me the tools I needed to honor their contributions to my life by passing on the kindnesses they've shown me to others. Whether it be someone who's only heard of 'D&D' in passing or an experienced vet who designs his own miniatures, I've decided to dedicate my career in tabletop gaming to providing the most well-crafted, immersive experience I can muster.
For my Players, the under privileged, the ignorant, and everyone who's never had the adventures they dreamed of as children, I shall press on.