Want to Revisit Your Youth? Why Not Try Paper-and-Pencil Roleplaying Games

Third, it’s not a bad time generally to get back into gaming.  As was mentioned earlier, the industry has been having a bit of a renaissance, thanks to crowdfunding, PDF publishing, the increasingly digital economy: the bottom line is that it’s now easier for companies to survive and put out product. And the nice thing about digital product is that it’s a lot easier to have a professional-quality layout and production values. The days of staples-and-hole-punches as a sign of small-business publishing are finally behind the gaming industry.

Fourth, you don’t have to go back to hack-and-slash style roleplaying. Like any art form that has been developing for half a century, RPGs have been evolving. Pelgrane Press produces the two contemporary alternatives (Hillfolk and GUMSHOE: episodic serial and investigative roleplaying, respectively) that I’m most familiar with; but there are other products, like Microscope (which allows you to effectively roleplay epic stories, like the rise and fall of a Galactic Empire) or the regrettably-no-longer-supported Unknown Armies (a postmodern magic game that starts its combat section by giving the player a variety of suggestions on how to avoid combat entirely). So if you weren’t really interested in fighting six orcs in a 20’ by 20’ room again, you have alternatives.

Fifth, you absolutely can go back to hack-and-slash style roleplaying. To give just a single example: an interesting thing about getting out of this hobby for a few decades is that people who did more or less missed the way that Dungeons and Dragons mutated away from AD&D… and then mutated itself back to it, in my own personal opinion. I don’t want to criticize the intervening editions, because many people play them, like them, and will be happy to eat my spleen in the comments section; but I can say with some confidence that the latest edition of D&D reminds me strongly of the AD&D I played in college and grad school. So if you did want to fight six orcs in a 20’ by 20’ room, you still can. Nobody’s going to tell you no.

And that’s back to sixth and last: you are a grown-up now, and can do as you please. I know that I said that twice, but as the robot said, it was worth mentioning twice.

(Artwork by Shutterstock.com.)