Rock and Role: Stealing the Spotlight, the Pros
Let’s face it, there’s a gamer we know that always has an over-acting problem. Sometimes, it’s hilarious and adds a ton of flavor to the game, sometimes it’s just annoying. Truely great over-actors will encourage others to jump in and do the same thing, the bad ones will run rough-shod over the entire group no matter how big the group is.
Part of Role Playing is that Role part…the character part. If it weren’t for that, it would just be playing, or Roll Playing, and that has a cold feel to it, because you’re just throwing dice and using game mechanics. It turns it from a game of skill into a game of chance and odds. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but that’s not what, in this writer’s opinion, table-top role playing should be about.
Let’s be honest, you can Role Play any game if you want to; you can create a “character” or a mindset when you play Monopoly* and some games make it easy for you to get into character for like any of the Mansions of Madness* games. Some board games even begin to blur the line between traditional table-top role playing and traditional board games. However, the key component is the role playing, the acting. Which brings us back to the point…the people who put everything they have into crafting a character and then the focusing of the spotlight on them.
The benefits of that is that it can really show new players what can be done and how to step up their game. It shows them that with a funny accent and holding to what a character holds dear, that they’re not just a traveling band of roving psychopaths that are killing and looting for treasure (unless of course, that’s the adventure that’s being run). Having someone who’s overacting can be intimidating, but it can also force character interactions between the party members that would otherwise have been missed.
It’s very easy to go overboard on this, and my next Rock and Role segment will be on the con side of this, but today, let’s focus on the positive:
- It makes the gaming experience more enjoyable for everyone, if done properly
- It makes it easier for characters to interact in character
- It makes it easier for the GM to know if the player is asking a question or if the character is asking a question
- It makes it easier for new players to see what role playing is all about
- It creates a differentiation of characters under an individual player, even if mechanically they are very similar.
In short, it can be very, very okay to have a player steal the spotlight, but only if it’s done right and in a beneficial manner. Next week, I’ll cover what happens on the flip side of that coin.