As you all know, I have a large interest in video games. In a post not too long ago, I made mention of how gaming is just as much of a social experience to me anymore and how tabletop games are a huge influence in that. Lately, I have been playing more tabletop RPG and board games. When I’ve been playing these games, I dare say I’ve enjoyed the entertainment provided by them more than that of video games lately. Don’t get me wrong, I’m certainly not losing interest in video games and I do find them fun to play yet, but for different reasons. There’s nothing like sitting down with a group of your friends and going through a raid in Destiny, but that experience is different from the experience of raiding a dungeon in a session of D&D. Similarities exist, yes, but the difference between failing and succeeding in a Destiny raid is not getting enough damage on the boss, or falling off the edge of the map. Meanwhile, succeeding or failing a dungeon raid or simple action in a game like D&D is determined by a roll of the dice. So you could have your 9th level Elemental you summoned land a critical hit on the boss and just annihilate it and its family bloodline, or end up having your entire party curl up and fall asleep on the nearest table. And yes, all of the previously mentioned scenarios have happened to me.
To briefly continue with these differences, when I’m playing a video game version of an RPG I don’t feel too often that my characters’ decisions actually affect the outcome of the overarching storyline. There’s a whole discussion to be had on this, and we have, but I feel a little disappointed when you come across an NPC and are tasked with saving them (or not if you wish) and the only thing it affects is your “trust level” with maybe your companion, or lets you bring that person along as a companion. Whereas if you come across an NPC in a tabletop RPG and you decide to betray them or something way worse, it might change your characters alignment…or maybe they were going to help you infiltrate the mansion of some city’s nobleman. I guess the short version of this is, I feel that there are more consequences in a tabletop game than in a video game. Make a mistake in a game? Just load your last save. Make that same mistake in a tabletop game? Sorry, your character now is racist towards Orcs. Continue reading