I am not a roleplaying game girl. I think I've been roped into playing Dungeons and Dragons twice. The first time there were some very cute kittens in my friends basement that I really wanted to go play with, so I asked the dungeon master to kill me. Don't judge, I was like 9 years old. The second time was slightly better with a group of four on a long weekend in a cabin. I died then too, but not exactly on purpose.
Obviously I'm not an expert, but my husband is a huge fan of roleplaying games, and I've been through it a few times. What happens is this, you spent copious amounts of time assembling a character including what they look like, their chosen attire, their skills, their weaknesses, their favorite band, their least favorite beer...I feel like with some games this could take a good two to three hours. And that's if you're quick. I spend less time on my novel characters. Anyway, once your character is assembled, you plop them down into a campaign that the Dungeon Master has thought up where they join with the other player's characters in a mighty quest to defeat evil and win the day.
The fighting bits are fun. Even though my eternal shunning from the dice gods always gets me more wounded than I would like. It's the bits in between that are, for me, annoying.
Pretty much, the players (that's me) pretend they are their characters, and have conversations as if everyone playing were there characters. This isn't the annoying part. This part can be totally fun. No, the part that makes me want to punch something is when the characters aren't sure what to do, and someone always jumps ahead and starts doing something stupid that is likely to get all of us killed, or they argue back and forth until someone gives (which hardly every happens) or the assertive person in the group forces them to stop and focus on what part of the quest we have to do next.
I'm a fan of cooperative board games, but not this.
I think it's because I'm used to being the author. My characters really don't talk back to me, nor do they generally question my orders. In this world I have no control, which then makes me grouchy and reaffirms to me why I never played team sports. Sometimes I'm not a team player. Plus, I can't run to save my life.
So the other night my brother-in-law put together a campaign for a game called Feng Shui. It's not as complicated as D&D (my character only took about 15 minutes to assemble) and since it's based off of action movie tropes and characters, it doesn't really take itself too seriously.
The only reason I agreed to play is because my hubby said I could play as Agent Bunnynose.
For those of you not familiar, I wrote 5 seasons of a spy satire called Babes in Spyland. It's hilarious, and is hardly ever serious. Agent Bunnynose is one of the main characters. So I caved and said I would join the campaign.
...And it was kind of fun. Playing her. Trying to get into her head and figure out what she would do if she actually had to work with the Techno guy who regularly uses his laptop as a shield and drives random cars off of docks as a distraction, the Killer who literally fell on her face when she was trying to pull a Chuck Norris and round house kick three guys in the head at once, and some crazy mystic from the future that sucks souls to power her flying boots. And she couldn't just shoot them.
I know a handful of authors that actually do this sort of thing all of the time. I almost see the appeal. I also see why so many people who play Dungeon Masters a lot feel like their campaigns could be books. I also see what most of the time, that's a really, really bad idea.