RLXP – Role Playing for Life

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My husband and I like playing role playing games. 

For those not in the know, role playing games (RPGs) are storytelling games where you create a character and someone narrates an adventure. I’m sure you’ve heard of Dungeons & Dragons, it’s the most popular RPG but by no means the only one.

So Ben and I play these games together, sometimes with other people, but most often on our own and luckily for me, Ben is an amazing storyteller.

Recently, we have been playing a game inspired by the awesome book ‘All My Friends are Superheroes’ by Andrew Kaufman. In this game I am a superhero—an empath named The Empath (or Em) and I do what I love to do in real life: try to solve people’s emotional problems. Ben takes on the enormous task of playing all the other characters in the game and he does an amazing job at coming up with tricky emotional situations to inspire me and make me sweat.

The game is small and personal. Smaller and more personal than many role playing games you tend to see played. Often role playing games are massive, magical adventures in faraway lands, but our game is focussed on interpersonal relationships so there’s no demons to slay (except perhaps internal demons) or gold to be looted. And I love that about it.

I’ve played many different role playing games before and this by far is the most challenging and the best. It’s emotional, realistic (with a hint of magic), in short it’s the kind of stories I like to write and therefore it’s the kind I like to play. For the first time in a game I have to face having romantic relationships and even though it’s Ben I’m having them with, because he is playing a character I don’t know that well it feels new and awkward and hard. I have a brother in the game too, which presents me with hard familial choices (he’s on the rocks with his wife who is also my best friend) and as I play a social worker who deals with Superheroes I am constantly encountering people who need my help in a way that often feels out of my league.

I know, I know, it’s just a game. But because it is so small and personal it feels very real and because it’s just me playing the protagonist I want to do my best and help everyone in the best way I can. It’s intense.

Ben’s been running games like this since he was twelve and you can tell. He’s awesome. And because he’s so excited about the art of role playing he’s started a site called RLXP. He has this theory that you can get some real life benefits from role playing and he wants to test that out. So every week we broadcast our games and talk about the real life feelings they inspired. It’s fun and awkward and I think it’s pretty interesting too.

If you want to check out Ben in action and our games you can find all you need to watch us live stream at Ben’s website: http://rlxprpg.wordpress.com/. Also, you can follow him on Twitter @MrBadgerGM to find out when we’re online!

Stop by and check it out!


My (not so) secret hobbies

This is a post for www.writesofluid.com’s blog writing challenge.  One blog post a day for all of June!  Check it out at the website or on twitter: @sofluid or #wpad!

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I’m not a crafty person.

I can barely sew, I can’t draw and I can’t even cut in a straight line.  I don’t have the patience to knit, I can’t fold very well (although Ben and I once folded a thousand paper cranes – half of mine looked like turkeys) and I don’t have a mind for music.

We play Mythic from time to time (a free association role playing game) and I’ve been known to LARP (Live Action Role Play), but as of right now I don’t do either with enough frequency to call it a hobby.

So really, when it came to the question of my ‘secret hobby’ for today’s post, I had little to offer up from the depths.  Right now I work a lot, write a lot, make videos and watch TV when we can fit it in.  But none of those things are hobbies particularly, so what would I call my hobbies?

The first is walking.  I love walking.  I love walking because it often leads to adventuring.  When I was traveling I hitchhiked a lot and the thing about hitchhiking is that it’s hard to do it in the city.  So I’d get dropped off at one end of a city and then I’d have to walk to the other end to keep on going.  With a heavy traveling pack, this was not the most fun, but it fostered a love for walking that I still carry with me.  When you’re walking you get to see things you never would have in a car or on the transit.  It forces you to look around at the world and offers you the opportunity to take a different path.  I’ve always loved the idea of a walkabout and sometimes the most liberating thing in the world is to just pick a direction and walk.  Walking allows you to think and breathe and explore.  Ben and I walk whenever we can and our most recent claim to fame is walking straight across the city from the Beaches to Etobicoke.  25km in 5 hours.  We learned we walk 5km an hour, very satisfying.

The second is fashion.  I don’t mean to say I am some sort of Dolche & Gabanna wearing fashionista.  Goodness no.  Like walking, I like fashion because it allows me to take a different path.  When I was a kid my Mom dressed me.  I was made to wear these flowery, lacy atrocities that still make me shudder to this day, but occasionally she’d put me in something cool.  My overalls in kindergarten, my Peter Pan outfit in grade three, once I had shoes that had a pocket in the tongue and I was in heaven (I would put pennies in the pocket and call it treasure).  I remember my fashion liberation well, it was grade seven and I went downtown for school and lucky for me, my school was right beside kensington market.  From there it was vintage tops and rainbow tights.  I discovered sparkles and ox blood doc martins and hair dye.  My graduation dress in grade 8 was a bright blue number and I dyed my hair a shocking orange to accompany it.  From there my love for cool clothes grew.  Now I have wings on my shoes, a bin full of striped tights and tutus and a handful of adorable dresses which I refer to as ‘clown chic’.  My inspirations are the circus and the world of fairies and the names of my favorite clothing stores involve the word ‘fairy’ or ‘cyber’.

I guess there’s a theme to the things I like: liberation.  I like being free to think and act and do what I want.  I like making choices for myself and forging my own path.  So whether on foot or in fashion I would definitely say my not so secret hobby is being free.

What about you?  What do you love?