I’ve been a huge fan of pen and paper role-playing games for a long time now. They were a perfect fit of fun, and well… games, and a chance to work on writing, storytelling, world-building, and audience involvement. My game company of first choice has always been Palladium Books(R), almost entirely due to its owner and chief author, Kevin Siembieda. Kevin said in some interview or the like somewhere that “RPGs are, after all, part novel, part text book, part instruction manual, part art book and all imagination.” You can just see where I get my eclectic creative drives that just can’t seem to stay in one single vein. I don’t know where I would be without the hobby. As I said it kept me writing, creating, dreaming while awake, even while I tried to learn and utilise a quicker path to a lucrative skill set. Without them I’d have been in the audience only for years.
I’ve been thinking about of this all because I have an urge to advocate the purchase and consumption of role-playing games by fiction authors. One doesn’t need to actually play them or figure out the rules or anything like that. Most are settings books, though you can find more technical ones. They have places, people (from archetypes to individuals to nations and beyond), conflicts, plot hooks, and overall ready-done research. They do have to be treated like reading other people’s books, which is to say as inspiration rather than a source out of which to lift elements directly. Then again you can’t exactly plagiarise reference books either, so this shouldn’t be a foreign idea. There are even books on game design that cover everything you might need to build your own settings, mythoi, and all the nitty-gritty. Call this my advocacy right here.
Music: Rag Doll by Aerosmith.