RPG-a-Day 2018 Day 06: How can players make a world seem real?
I find a lot of making any world you inhabit in an RPG seem real is to try to build aspects of it into your character’s backstory. This is where collaborating with the GM is great because you can bounce ideas back and forth, seeing if something you come up with would exist in the world. This is great on two levels, one it means you’re invested in your backstory and the places and people you create, and two becose it gives more and more material for the GM, maybe things they haven’t thought of, to put into the world and thus pad it out even more. The previously mentioned Fighter/Runecrafter started off without much backstory, but as the game went on I built up his background to be from a farming family, with brothers and sister, extended family and pets. We had one session when we were low on players where the GM had his sister get married so we traveled back to the family farm and we attended the wedding with all the rural comforts that I imagined he would have experienced growing up, all because I provided the GM with the seed of a background to work with.
The other thing a player can do is to take the time to experience the world put forward by the GM. It’s a small thing, but listening to the descriptions they give, asking for more detail on anything you want to know more about, taking the time to process the information about your surroundings and letting your imagination translate it will make it more tangible.
Ultimately, the world you play in is as real as you want it to be, if you want to experience everything put in front of you and go out, explore new wonderous places, interact with interesting people and be part of the world, you can and will. If all you want to do is hack monsters up, make money and have cool things, that’s ok, I used to be like that. I was all about the killing things and getting cool stuff, I used to track my kills on the back of my character sheet and didn’t really pay much attention to much else, and back then it was fun, but there’s a point when you “mature” as a roleplayer and it becomes less about the kills and gear and more about the character and the story. When I realised this was more fulfilling I wanted to know more about where I was adventuring, who I was meeting, and it grew from there.
Tomorrow’s question is how can a GM make the stakes important…
Got an idea for helping players make the world feel more real, use the comments to share it. Don’t forget, you can follow me @bargtheogre on Twitter, or check out the Inside the Ogre’s Cavern podcast at @itocpodcast