On Why Character Sheets Will Never Die

Three episodes ago, we talked about why board games still have a place in the 21st century.  Now, it’s time to talk about something that feels even older, more arcane… even primal: playing games powered just by your imagination.

Dungeons and Dragons was officially created in 1974, and it hasn’t gone away since.  In fact, thanks to some careful cultivating, it seems to be stronger than ever.  The demonization of the tabletop genre made popular during the 80s and 90s is gone, and the popularity of playing with pen-and-paper seems to keep growing; the successes on Kickstarter, as well as the continued production of games like Shadowrun and Pathfinder prove this.

Why do we play these games?  As with many things, it’s all about the stories and the memories; the stories you play through in RPGs are ones you make with friends. They are uniquely yours. It’s unlike any videogame, taking a whole world, a universe, and playing it through your own brainpower alongside friends.  You can play out stories of glory as elves and dwarves, or let yourselves be terrified by unique systems like Dread.

We talk about ways to make these games even more fun: how to play better with your friends, and how to make the experience even more immersive.  It’s fun to see how new companies are sprouting up, all determined to make the tabletop experience even better: Wyrmwood Games makes amazing wooden dice supplements that personalize what you bring to the table, while Syrinscape creates a soundboard filled with dragon roars and terrified screams to add another element entirely.  The Sprites and Dice staff work through perhaps my favorite review we've done so far on the podcast: reviewing the products of Adventure Scents around the microphone; who knew that smelling tins meant to recreate sewers or campfires could be so fun?   It's safe to say that after sharing the experience, some of my friends will be trying to get a few scent packs of their own to try around the table.

Wouldn't it feel fun to make your friends suffer through a swamp?  Wouldn't it be better if they smelled the experience to make it really last?

Tabletop RPGs feel like a relic of older times, and a brilliant, endlessly renewable way to spend hours with friends.  Yes, there is a lot of time and commitment involved, more than just booting up your computer...but the memories you make, both for yourself and your friends, are worth the effort.

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#006: A Dungeon of Smells