Guest Article: Aeturnum Gaming – Getting into Tabletop RPGs

Getting into Tabletop RPGs
By Jake Tegtman of Aeturnum Gaming

Tabletop RPGs (roleplay games) have one of the most devoted fanbases of any sort of gaming niche out there. There’s an entire industry based around it. Dice, miniatures, gaming mats, various roleplay games, and pre-made adventures all make tabletop gaming more in-depth and exciting. And it’s not a genre just for older generations. Even avid video gamers (especially RPG players) tend to love the tabletop experience because of the complete immersion tabletop RPGs can bring.

What Makes Tabletop RPGs Different
What makes tabletop RPGs (also known as a TTRPG) different is that they are played 1) with a gaming group, and 2) primarily using imagination – as opposed to graphics, or the artwork present in many board or card games. The “low-tech” of tabletop games, in general, can at first seem a little dull compared to the fast pace of many modern video games. But there’s a timelessness to the slower, more thoughtful approach many tabletop RPGs require. They make players stop to think before entering a trapped room, carefully decide what to say in a tense negotiation with a ruthless merchant, and create plans of attack for powerful monsters.

Gaming with a Group
Tabletop RPGs often require gaming with a group. In one sense, that can make getting a game started more difficult as planning around the calendars of multiple people can be challenging. But in reality, any experience in life is better when shared. Especially when shared with friends and people you care about.

Playing an RPG at a table with others is like talking about something amazing you did in a video game with another gamer. Except you’re actively playing that amazing scene out with them, in real time. You’re creating amazing experiences together that will often last a lifetime (ask any experience tabletop gamer – they will tell you).

It can be hard to explain. But if you’ve ever shared an incredible moment in gaming with another person, you have an idea. But since tabletop RPGs provide so much immersion in their storytelling and experience, those incredible moments are amplified.

Using Imagination as Graphics
Video game graphics are getting better every year; they’ve come a long way since many of us were kids (I remember playing with 8-bit graphics on the Super Nintendo). But using imagination as graphics takes all the constraints off what’s possible in a game. The mind is capable of creating entire worlds from nothing, and taking us there. We can see, smell, touch, hear, and even taste what’s entirely in our imagination. At least until far more immersive VR becomes a reality, you can’t get that level of complete immersion anywhere else, yet.

But even when technology improves to allow for the involvement of more senses – have you ever wished a video game’s story was different than what the creators and designers produced? Video games have boundaries on the world created. It is what it is. But in a tabletop RPG, you and your gaming group can make the game whatever you want it to be. There are no limits on the human mind.

How to Get Started Playing Tabletop RPGs
There are many people out there currently looking for a gaming group, which makes it easy to get started playing Tabletop RPGs. You may start out asking some of your friends. Many will surprise you with their interest in trying it out – after all, they’ve definitely heard tabletop RPGs before. And many more than you’d think have already played.

There isn’t a specific tabletop game that’s best to start with. If you go to your local gaming store, the staff there will have recommendations for you based on what kind of game you and your group would like to play. You might even try picking a couple games, playing a session of each, and seeing which one you like best. Or, try a new game every 6 months or year (you can even make it a yearly birthday or Christmas present to yourself).

Meaningful Fun You’ll Remember
Many people who aren’t even hardcore fans of tabletop RPGs still have great stories to tell about one of their adventures playing DnD (dungeons and dragons – the genre’s oldest and most well-known game) or some other game. It’s a great way to connect with friends and a great way to fill your life with the kind of meaningful fun you’ll remember forever.

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