We work together with our friends, watch them grow stronger and revel in their successes. We support them in their missteps and when tragedy strikes. Internally, we experience these peaks and valleys as if they are happening to us personally. Over time, the bonds we have formed with the people we adventure with grow stronger. And once our band of heroes have become to feel like kin, I believe that is when the real adventures begin.
Many (though not all) adventuring parties travel the countryside, leaving each sleepy hamlet or bustling trade city they pass in better shape than when they found it. They work as a tight knit group, with each member playing to their unique strengths and talents. And although there are several reasons why it is not plausible to take up arms and hit the road as a traveling band of sell-swords, (mortgage payments, lack of affordable taverns, law enforcement, chafing, … ) there is plenty of work that a party of do-gooders can accomplish in the real world.
There are a number of worthy causes and charitable organizations that are looking for help, but If you’re like me, you may wonder what you may have to offer. We may not share the power to summon food and water or some of the other impressive abilities our in world personas may have acquired, but there are still a lot of applicable skills we have picked up during our quests. We can work well within a group and work toward a common goal. We have learned how to communicate effectively with others who may not share our worldview or morals. In addition, we have practice forming short and long term plans and adapting to unexpected obstacles without notice. These are just some of the marketable skills that charities, non-profit organizations, and other similar groups seek out when vetting volunteers.
If your table is on board and you are ready to advance to real world heroics, here are some examples of ways you can make a difference in your local communities (or even internationally). Common examples of local volunteer opportunities include mentoring or after school programs, food drives or volunteer kitchens, blood drives, animal adoption or neighborhood and beach clean ups. You can check with community centers, town or city websites, or even social media for opportunities to make a difference.
You may wish to consider larger scale organizations or causes for your party. One of the quickest and arguably simplest transitions is to seek out a gaming related charity, such as Extra Life. With Extra Life, volunteers seek donations while playing games to the benefit of local (United States and Canada only at the time of this writing) Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. Tabletop Roleplaying Games qualify, and so your regular game session could swiftly begin earning money to benefit children in need.
Any road traveled is a worthwhile journey, both within the games we play and the causes we support. Whether these roads are real or a collective fantasy, the journey makes us stronger. We should strive to use our talents for good, and that extends beyond the table. Once you take the party outside you can grow to become real friends, and true heroes.