I’m Variant Rae! I’ve been an avid reader since I was a kid – books were my solace and escape. There’s something really freeing about immersing yourself in a story. I was also known for making elaborate role-playing scenarios for my dolls and stuffed animals. I was pleasantly surprised when my youngest sister developed similar interests and even invited me to play with her! She decided that I would play both the mayor and the park ranger of her fictional town – jobs I did not take lightly. Halfway through our Littlest Pet Shop™ role-playing session, she gently requested that I “stop with the voices.” I’d given both my characters distinct mannerisms with corresponding voices – my park ranger had a gruff tone and spoke in short, direct sentences whereas my mayor was quite long-winded with a very upbeat tone. While my style of role-play or the flavor I added wasn’t something my sister cared for, I found a group of stalwart adventurers that did.
I joined Variant Ventures because I feel that play is a vital part of how we connect with other people and learn to accept differences. As children we are encouraged to collaborate through play, but as we grow older play is seen as non-essential and immature. I’ve noticed that even in my adult life, some of the strongest bonds I’ve formed have been the result of games/play – like my teammates from the full contact women’s football team I played with for two seasons, or the coworkers I’ve been playing DandD with regularly for over a year. As I am still relatively new to the world of table-top roleplaying games, I feel that gives me a good perspective (since I understand firsthand what it means to be a n00b).
The group I play with consists of seasoned adventurers as well as those who were totally new to TTRPGs. One of the party members is another player’s 11 year old son; been exciting learning the gameplay alongside him. Though he is the youngest of the bunch, he has no qualms about asking questions for clarification, even when the adults are waffling on how to proceed. Sharing the table with him has been a delightful lesson in nurturing qualities like embracing challenges with a positive mindset.
Role playing games aren’t just about completion or reaching a goal – the journey itself is where the fun is found. They help to build confidence with public speaking, develop critical thinking skills, spur cooperation, and much more. In future posts, I will explore how TTRPGs promote personal development as well as why intersectionality and inclusivity are so important in the gaming community.