Are you someone who used to play roleplaying games, like Dungeons & Dragons, back in the day? Why’d you stop? Did life get too busy for that sort of thing? Have you started to miss those good times you had, perhaps as a teen, and wonder if it’s possible to recapture them?
Over the past few years, I’ve come across dozens of people who want to get back into tabletop roleplaying games. The standard advice would probably be to go find a group, join a game somewhere either local to you or online, and dive straight back in. If you can do that, more power to you but, honestly, that’s not usually how it works.
Most of the people who find a way back to the table do it in small incremental steps. I want to share the first of those steps and point out a few different ways in which you might take a second or third one too. Why? Largely because I want to encourage you back into the best hobby in the world but mostly because I know it’s not easy.
With a busy life, possibly a family, and all the pressures of the modern world it seems like everyone wants a piece of your attention. You have only such much attention to give every day and before you know it, most days, you’re exhausted. No more attention to give. Roleplaying games are rich and exciting but they also require your creative attention.
Step One: Make yourself a tiny sliver of time in your usual schedule. Just 5 minutes of hobby time is doable for most of us – slot it in somewhere in the week when you can grab 5 minutes alone. When the time rolls around, go find the game you used to play. If it’s in the house, ferret it out and hold it in your hands. If you sold it or gave it away, spend 5 minutes Googling it and seeing if you can find a copy.
Most old games are available in digital form. Some are on eBay, sometimes at exorbitant prices but often relatively cheaply. I started with Traveller and D&D Basic, both of which can be grabbed from DriveThruRPG.com for a few bucks as a .PDF.
Go grab that old game you loved. And just hold it, look at it. Allow the nostalgia to come. You have my permission – there’s no shame in enjoying a moment of past joy.
From there, you could just schedule a few minutes to start reading it again. Flip through the pages. If it’s printed and on paper, dare to give it a sniff and inhale the mustiness. But connect back to that old game. Give yourself permission to get curious again.
No need to play yet. Maybe just gather the bits you’d need to play – the dice, a pencil, some paper. Maybe roll up or design a character. Flip around and give yourself an opportunity to test drive the fighting rules. Whatever it is, just let it flow. If the joy is there, you’ll want to find more of it. If not, well… it was a nice memory.
The way back to the table is a journey that you take in your particular way. Make a sliver of time. Permit yourself to explore the games you remember enjoying. Experience again the memories. From there, we’re all waiting to hear about what you want to do next.