Yes. Girls RP. It’s a long standing joke in every gaming group I have ever played in. A conversation might start like this:
“We have a new player showing up tonight.”
“Oh sweet, what’s he playing?”
“SHE’S playing a druid.”
Sometimes it’s hard for us fellas to imagine that members of the opposite sex indulge in fantastic adventures like we males do. Another excellent example of disbelief would be when April Wade and America Young approached me to write a web series based on an all girl LARP group (though my response sounded less like a verbal double take and more like “stop playing with my emotions”)! They wanted something different, something they hadn’t tried before, something empowering. At first I thought they might just be humoring me.
So much time cloistered away in the ranks of the proud “Nerd” elite, it’s easy to forget that “play” doesn’t differentiate between sexes or species. We’re born with it: an excitement for life, for being alive. The kids out side playing hide and go seek are no different than the cat viciously attacking a deadly roll of toilet paper. Still, was this for real?
Lo, it was true and thus Damsels and Dragons was born. And being an avid gamer since I was a young kid I had no problems throwing myself into the script. I got to be Joss Whedon “for a day”, writing nerdy stuff for pretty girls (FTW)! And what started out as an experimental concept thingy, has now become a full blown web series project that has a humble yet very supportive fan base that is demanding more. And more they shall get.
So check it out. Come play.
-Eric Campbell, writer
D&D was evil. It manipulated vulnerable youth into worshiping false gods, partaking in witchcraft, devil worship and general all around blasphemy. Your soul would be forfeit. Jesus would show up with a Glock 9 and deliver your sorry butt from Satan. The next stage was late middle school to the early high school years, or as some remember it, the ostracism-era. By now we saw that the evil in its raw form was actually as harmless as a pack of melting crayons and the real foe was not the Prince of Darkness, but our peers. Between the two sometimes you could be left to wonder which was worse…
With all the dorky as hobbies out there, somehow Role Playing got tagged as the dorkiest. Not Bird watching, not stamp collecting, not coin collecting, not quilting. Role Playing…you know? The stuff you did when you were a kid, when the voice of your inner-grown up didn’t exist yet and making a fool out of yourself wasn’t a gauge to measure shame, but how much fun you were having. Someone was a Dinosaur or a Robber and you were the wounded hero that had to win no matter what. The fate of the world depended on you! Maybe it was G.I. Joe and Cobra was about to fire it’s missiles on a city and your under powered squad was the only chance the city had. Or maybe you were She-Ra and fought your way out of Hordak’s dungeons. Maybe you were just playing House or Doctor or whatever, but at one point your life you put on someone else’s shoes and went on adventures that your parents would never believe. Your uninhibited mind was your brush, the universe was your canvas and possibility was your paint.
We’ve seen movies that remind us the importance of the inner child: Labyrinth, The Never Ending Story, The Last Starfighter, The Princess Bride and The Goonies just to name a couple. Some people saw these films, shrugged, then went on with their lives. But some of us, legions of us, never forgot them. They sculpted our sense of adventure and remind us to this day of all those times we saved the world, baked the perfect mud pie, found the gold, healed the unicorn or rescued the girl. Still, some of us “grew up”. Some of us left Neverland and forgot about it, choosing instead to delve into the responsible mundaneity of everyday life and forsake our childish ways all together. Maybe someone told us faeries weren’t real or told us to stop being a child or maybe one day we just didn’t want to pick up our Captain Power action figures anymore. Some of us fell away to the rigid judgment brought on by the protective nature of our maturing ego. The innocence and freedom of creation became stifled under expectations, naysayers and most of all, our own self critical natures. At some point in everyone’s life they find out Santa isn’t real, the tooth fairy is a hoax, there are no monsters under the bed and the stuffed animal you had so many conversations with is in fact made out of a cotton fabric blend and its black plastic eyes don’t really see you when you look into them.
…But not all of us.
Some of us confronted the concept of a banal existence, looked right into that stuffed animals eyes and instead of seeing cold black plastic, we saw our old friend wink back at us. Some of us stepped up and decided the inner child wasn’t a phase but a precious part of the human experience. We fought back the cynicism, we fought back the disenchantment. We made the choice to live in the world of “Why not”? I think we all know how easy it is to lose your way in this world. We’ll wake up one morning and say, “god I miss those days when I did this and that. What’s happened to me? Why don’t I do that anymore”? Maybe you stopped taking dance class and life got in the way. When was it that you stopped wearing costumes to Halloween parties?
There’s a lyric in a song by Arcade Fire called ‘Wake Up’. The song itself has been around for awhile now but it has achieved huge popularity since its use the the trailer for the film, Where the Wild Things Are. The lyric goes, “…children don’t grow up, our bodies get bigger but our hearts get torn up”.Yeah…that about sums it up alright.
The truth is, we all Role Play every now and then just like we did when we were young. Sure some of us do it in fancy clothes or in front of someone we are trying to impress, but we all play one way or the other. For the hobbyist Role Player, we come home from our jobs or come home from our school and we wash the world off us by drawing our swords and making sure the village is never plagued by the monster ever again. The Role Player is a total weirdo to the outside world, but really, we couldn’t be any more normal. It’s a hidden little world, where we can put our silly notions of shame to bed and ask the little boy or little girl inside of us to come out and play for awhile. It’s all about play.
You remember how, right?
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