A friend at work recently asked me to join his group of friends to play a series of pen and paper Shadowrun games. I happily took the opportunity. For one, it helps me get out of the house once a week. Two, it helps me meet new people which I’ve always struggled to do in real life. And lastly, I have never really role-played before because I’ve never had friends that did that. So this gave me the opportunity to do that.
My character that I built, I built as I usually build for a new MMO. I build something that I think is fairly standard and easy to pick up so that I don’t screw up a lot basically, but with a little bit of flair to make the character interesting. So I made an Elf, dual-gun-wielding physical adept. Despite that there is little in-game benefit to wielding two guns at the same time. I’ve taken multiple traits that aren’t really in-game helpful but went well with the character so I’m not against using two guns because it’s cool even if it is useless.
We’ve done it a few weeks now and I think we are all starting to get more used to each other and the system. None of us had previously played Forth Edition Shadowrun, and none of us have met each other (outside of the fact that we all knew the game master) previous to playing. So there were some obvious awkwardness to start with. I think we are getting a good grasp on the game and I think we are all starting to move in the direction of actual roleplay within the game.
Here in lies my problem. While I have been getting more comfortable every week hanging out with these guys, I am still at heart an anti-social person who tends to have problems speaking up in groups.
I can talk when I have been in a situation just fine for a bit. For instance, when I started my job, I could talk freely to each of my teammates, and oftentimes two at a time. And now that I have been there for almost two years, I can talk to our entire team at the same time without issue. But it took awhile to get there. So while I am more comfortable and can talk to a couple of guys, and even have my moment where I throw something out, I’m still not comfortable enough to really roleplay as I think that is still a strange concept in a real life setting.
I have actually roleplayed in an online setting however, on many occasions actually. However, when you are online, it is impersonal so you never have that issue of doing it face to face which helps allow people to do it more (odd that people still don’t). And when I do roleplay online, I tend to have more fun doing a silly hyper character.
One of my favorite races to play is a gnome just for this reason. The little time I did play WoW I played a Gnome mage who danced on the trains the entire time when traveling because he believed the way they powered the trains was through the awesome dance of the gnomes.
Real Life Role-playing Difficulties
This brings me back to roleplaying in real life. I did not feel that I could be this hyper out of control odd character because, while it is something I can do, it is certainly not something I’d feel comfortable doing in front of a bunch of strange people. 1 So I made my character quiet and aloof.
I figured many things contributed to this. She was an elf that lived most of her lives with elves and may not feel comfortable with other races, and likely looks down on them a bit. And she has a history of being in a military setting that revolved around tracking down people as if it were a hunt, so being quiet was a benefit. She takes orders, does what’s needed, but isn’t one to speak up about her own ideas, and honestly may not even have many.
So I’m trying my hardest to get into a frame of mind in which I am able to go out and roleplay with these guys but I also have to do it in terms where I and my character are comfortable. And I don’t know how to do that. In an odd way, I feel like I am letting my friend down if I don’t, even though I doubt he actually minds. But this is a roleplaying group and having three guys roleplay and one guy sitting around shooting at people can only happen for so long before I’m sure you have to do something about him (even if it is extracting him from the group).
I really don’t want to be the downer of the group, but how do I go against my own state of mind?