Recently, I had the good idea of tricking my partner’s twin sister, Cassie, into playing Dungeons and Dragons with Maia and I. It wasn’t particularly hard. I just told her we were playing a storytelling game. I said, “We’re all going to tell a story together. I have an idea for the story arc and I want you and Maia to help me populate that arc with ideas and events – starting with the two main characters.”
From there, it got a little awkward. I found myself having a really hard time avoiding terms and phrasing particular to D&D: referring to her as a player and talking about her character (her player character is what I wanted to say). In themselves, those two particular phrases aren’t strange but in the context of just telling a story I thought they came off as very roleplay-ee. Despite my efforts, though, I found them to be unavoidable. The language of role playing games is ingrained in my conception of that type of storytelling. Those sorts of ingrown assumptions (that inform how one explains roleplaying by what roleplaying is) are exactly what I was trying to get away from. I didn’t actually want to trick Cassie into playing D&D. I wanted to expose her to an experience she may otherwise have been closed to – that of collaborative storytelling.
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