Saturday, April 13, 2024

Tabletop games have saved my life many times

It’s 2017 and my life has recently gone to hell. I’m out of a job after realizing I deserved better pay, my grades have dropped drastically, the need to label my sexuality was confusing me even more, and my father recently suffered a stroke. It is, overall, not the best year and seemingly nothing can get out of my funk. Well, nothing but tabletop games.

Let me clarify.

A few months previously I’d asked a friend to keep me updated when they were next going to play Dungeons and Dragons. I’d heard a few things about it thanks to Critical Role’s popularity, and despite my shy nature, I wanted to give it a go.

The text came at a time where I was severely doubting my life’s value. The single message of ‘hey, are you still interested in playing D&D?’ was one I could have ignored.

But I didn’t. I’m convinced that it was that electrifying moment where I rolled a D20 the first time that saved me from spiralling out of control. My first character was a cleric Minotaur called Kirin, and I had no idea who she was apart from her mother tried to eat her as a baby. I didn’t fall in love with her at all, but it was the concept of becoming someone else that appealed to me in ways I could barely explain.

After my first taste, I eagerly dove back for more. I’ve had a ton of characters under my belt, such as Freya the ditzy, human pirate who couldn’t afford a ship but tried her hardest anyway and more recently, Yewin the cowardly Goliath barbarian. Each of them feel like as though they’ve had my own traumas stamped on them. Freya’s afraid of losing her friends. Yewin has his own ideals but is afraid to voice them. I have other characters who feel like a burden on others. They are all me and it feels powerful to explore a part of me that I can’t anywhere else.

Outside of therapy I suppose. But tabletop roleplaying is therapeutic in it’s own way. My characters problems may not always be solvable, but they (usually) have someone beside them to help.

And the long and short of it? I’ll probably be playing roleplaying tabletop games for the rest of my life. If it helps me to navigate my traumas, as well as have fun and make new friends? Well, I see nothing wrong with that.

Aimee Hart

[She/They] Aimee Hart is Editor-in-Chief of Gayming Magazine. She specializes in queer fandom, video games and tabletop, having started her career writing for numerous websites like The Verge, Polygon, Input Magazine and more. Her goal now is to boost LGBTQ+ voices in the video games industry.

One thought on “Tabletop games have saved my life many times

  • Thank you for this amazing and beautiful article. I recently was on a panel at the inaugural Reno Pop Culture Con that focused on increasing diversity and inclusivity in gaming. Some of the discussion was on the same topics in your article. Thank you again.

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