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Telling Non-RPers About Your Hobby


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Have you ever told a non-RPer about RPing? I've been asked in the past about my hobbies, and if I ever said "Role Playing", I always got strange looks. People never really understood, or  they thought I was talking about something...different. I now just say, "collaborative story writing" and when I frame it that way people think it's cool, usually.

What's your experiences when telling non-RPers about your hobby, or have you considered telling someone but got too nervous?

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Have you ever told a non-RPer about RPing? I've been asked in the past about my hobbies, and if I ever said "Role Playing", I always got strange looks. People never really understood, or  they thought

DnD is so popular now that it’s easy for a lot of people to understand “It’s like DnD without being super hung up on stats and randomizing outcomes”. I usually start with saying it’s collaborative sto

I always just say... "collaborative writing" or "we're writing a book"... Roleplay makes people look at me funny.

It's not something I talk about often, though I do talk about writing sometimes.

 

My domestic partner was familiar with the SCA pre-meeting me, so they had some concept of what it was before I brought it up. I think a lot more millenials have an existing idea of what roleplaying is from media D&D jokes and a general desperate need for escapism. :)

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Everyone I'm close to knows I RP, and that I run a few RP sites, and it sometimes comes up in casual conversation even with acquaintances if we're chatting about hobbies. I've never gotten any weird reactions from it, but my circle is also super nerdy, and my place of work is super nerdy. And my town is pretty nerdy. Pretty much everyone knows what RP is--even if they don't know what PBP RP is, they usually at least know what it is in the context of tabletop gaming and video games.


 

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It has come up in conversations a few times (normally when I'm asked what I'm going to do over the weekend or something) Most of the time people get interested to come over and try in a future game so I just ask the groups or w/e if they could try.

 

Quite a few have come to enjoy it and continue playing but never again play with me going to their own groups, SAD!

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I do the same thing, calling it 'collaborative writing'. Just about anyone who knows me knows that I've been writing for a long time so none of them have seen it as weird or anything. I'll explain it a little more for people who ask more questions, usually just a quick outline of how people have character ideas and will join a site to write those ideas with other people. Most people are only vaguely interested but when my dad found out I was adminning a site he got pretty curious and he asks me how my site's doing about once a week. 

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8 hours ago, Jaxx said:

I do the same thing, calling it 'collaborative writing'. Just about anyone who knows me knows that I've been writing for a long time so none of them have seen it as weird or anything. I'll explain it a little more for people who ask more questions, usually just a quick outline of how people have character ideas and will join a site to write those ideas with other people. Most people are only vaguely interested but when my dad found out I was adminning a site he got pretty curious and he asks me how my site's doing about once a week. 

 

Something like this for me too. Everyone knows I am writing an interactive story in English, with Americans, Scandinavians and other foreigners: my family, my friends, my former work colleagues (whom I was asking for fight ideas, the ones who had been active police officers, or other ideas 😛 ) I remember once I asked a work colleague to hold my wrists in a certain way, to understand if my character could make realistically a move to escape.  Some colleagues were asking me about story progress for their favourite characters every morning.

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Pretty much all my friends RP too, now, so I don't really have the opportunity to tell non-rpers about it. But when I did explain it to others, I explained it as collaborative Round-Robin style writing, and that was always much easier a basis to come from than calling it role-playing. My mother actually got really interested in it, because she was also a writer, and she helped me proofread some of my early fan-fiction works, and that was kind of nice in a weird way. So yeah, given how well telling people seems to go, I don't really shy away from it. I'm just very careful how I present it, and as most of my friends already are role-players, there's... no need to broach that subject anymore.

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DnD is so popular now that it’s easy for a lot of people to understand “It’s like DnD without being super hung up on stats and randomizing outcomes”. I usually start with saying it’s collaborative storytelling, drawing a comparison to DnD, and then explaining mechanics to folks who are interested. So many people get RPGs in video games and at least the basics of tabletop role playing games— It’s not super hard to explain on a basic level. 

 

I don’t usually get into it, because I’m a SCORPIO (Shoutout to people who like astrology humor), but I’ve found explaining how it works to be increasingly easy. The confusion comes in more when people don’t get why you’d bother spending hobby time on this, but they seem to get it pretty quickly when they know you’re a writer and you note how helpful it is as a means of expanding your range as a storyteller and testing out new ideas.

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Yes. And I've actually convinced some of them to try it, too! I think my best success was with my sister. She's really taken to it quite strongly and she's always learning and improving. It makes my heart happy because she's dyslexic and all our lives growing up, she would have me read to her because she loved stories but she hated having to read them. Having her doing something that involves reading and writing has been an excellent way for her to develop skills she never thought she could have AND it's brought us even closer together~ 

 

 

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Luckily all of my friends also roleplay, in fact-- several of them were made because of it. 
However, that's exclusively all that know, I prefer to keep that part kind of quiet unless I feel like the person I'm discussing with already knows what it is and is okay with it.  I feel like it's less awkward that way, haha! 

It's not like we're doing anything wrong or dirty, it's just something that is kind of hard to explain? 😕

Collaborative writing is a good one, though! I'll have to keep that in mind!

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A question for the native English speakers - I see you use mostly the word collaborative story when talking about RPGs. I use interactive story. Is it a difference of understanding for you? For me, it's rather similar, but highlighting the fact that we aren't writing a chapter each, but our characters are interacting together.

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1 hour ago, Elena said:

A question for the native English speakers - I see you use mostly the word collaborative story when talking about RPGs. I use interactive story. Is it a difference of understanding for you? For me, it's rather similar, but highlighting the fact that we aren't writing a chapter each, but our characters are interacting together.

 

I'd personally think of something more like a choose-your-own-adventure book if someone said 'interactive story' but that could just be me. 

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I agree, 'interactive story' seems more like something pre-made or pre-planned, but I can definitely see how it could work to describe what RPing is since it IS interactive! I'd say 'Collaborative Story' wouldn't necessarily imply that we each contribute a chapter, but rather that it's just a multi-person effort.

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