Roleplaying? Isn’t that for Nerds??

This week we have another question from everyone’s favorite librarian in training.  The question is about tabletop gaming in general, and while I have answered it in regard to roleplaying specifically, everything applies to all Geek games for the most part.

How does one successfully convince friends to try tabletop gaming, rather than putting it off as “too nerdy”?

Tabletop roelplaying isn’t for everyone.  It’s sad, I know, but it’s true.  Some people just aren’t into playing pretend.  Some people don’t like the rules.  Some people don’t have any attention span.  And some people are just wrong.  But what is also true, is the fact that many more people enjoy tabletop roleplaying than you might assume.  I know this, because I have successfully convinced most of my friends to try it at some point, and the vast majority of those have stuck with it for an extended period of time.  I have had many friends, over many years, throughout many cities, so I see this as an accomplishment, and something I’m quite proud of.

The question then is how did I accomplish such a feat?  Many of these people (the majority even) were not the biggest of Geeks.  They were not sci-fi and fantasy nerds.  They didn’t play Magic: The Gathering.  They didn’t care who Joss Whedon was.  They weren’t in a World of Warcraft Guild.  They were just people.  People I convinced to see the merit in tabletop roleplaying.  So once again you ask, “How!?”

Nerdiness and Geekdom have a stigma attached to them.   It might be hard for some of you to hear, but there is a reason for the stigma: Geeks can be flipping annoying as shit.  Honestly, I won’t roleplay with most gamers.  I am, first and foremost, a HOBBYIST gamer.  I do it only for fun, and I don’t ever like my fun to get too serious.  In fact, I don’t like it when my life gets too serious. 

There are 3 types of people that I love roleplaying with:

1) People that have NEVER roleplayed before
2) People that have ONLY roleplayed with me
3) People that have roleplayed once and didn’t care for it

I target these demographics because I find them more fun to play with.  They don’t have the hangups that hardcore gamers do.  They don’t whine as much.  They don’t try and “optimize” so they can “win” at roleplaying.  They play with one thing in mind: having a damn good time.

The last group (people that have tried it and didn’t care for it), can shed some light on the reasons why people shy away from roleplaying.  Most of the reasons people give for not enjoying their experience are among the following:

1) The DM was an asshole
2) Everyone took things super cereal
3) They didn’t understand the rules
4) Everyone was really judgemental

The last reason is something I find among a lot of Geeks.  And let me clarify things by saying judgemental behavior is a common theme among ALL subcultures, and is not in any way unique to Geeks.  The point here is that it’s difficult (and intimidating) to break into a subculture you’re not a part of.  People have encountered judgement on some level, and therefore avoid strange groups and stick to the stereotypes they know and understand.

So, the first thing you need to do in order to convert non-gamers to tabletop roleplaying is be a warm and welcoming individual.  I have at least a 26 in Charisma, so that helps me out a lot.  Also, I’m really annoying and generally don’t take no for answer, which brings me to the second important thing: persistance.  In some cases it took me a year or more to wear people down and get them to try it out. 

One good trick that works is to invite a non-gamer over one night when you’re roleplaying, and be all like, “Oh shoot Jerry, I’m sorry I invited you, I forget we were playing tonight.  Why don’t you have a beer and watch?”  This can be intimidating for some players, and make them feel like they are the ones being judged, but if your players are comfortable with it, it works REALLY well.  People get interested in roleplaying when they see others having fun doing it.

It helps to know the person you’re targeting well too.  I always describe roleplaying games to potential players differently, depending on what I think they might like.  For some I might emphasize character creation, for others combat, and for others acting and theatrics.  You just need to know what appeals to whoever you’re talking to, and use that to manipulate them.

I feel that I should also point out that I hang out with a lot of alcoholics.  People that like to drink a lot, will usually do anything once you get them drunk, and people have a lot of inhibitions about playing pretend.  Beer has been my single greatest weapon in getting people to roleplay.  This has one potential drawback: if you get people drunk for their first time roleplaying, they will probably always be drunk when they are roleplaying.  For me, this is fine, for others this may get annoying.

To summarize, the biggest weapons in your fight for new converts are:

1) Your charming personality
2) Your unyielding stubborness
3) Trickery and deciet
4) Lots of booze

If none of this works, it’s probably not your fault.  Chances are you’re just dealing with a person that takes themself way too seriously.  If most of your friends take themselves way too seriously, I recommend finding new friends, preferably ones that aren’t Hipsters.

Roll it like you mean it.
Your Friendly Neighborhood Dungeon Master

We need more questions! Please submit them now! 

If you wish to submit a question to the Dungeon Master, please e-mail them to, or you can Tweet me a question by hash-tagging me (#askthedm) in your Tweet. And make sure to review the disclaimer.

You can also see me in action in One Die Short.

This entry was posted in DM Advice, Dungeons & Dragons, Fantasy, Geek Culture, General Roleplaying, Player Advice and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

31 Responses to Roleplaying? Isn’t that for Nerds??

  1. This text is priceless. How can I find out more?|

  2. Petra says:

    The Tanita brand may be leading the market for several years now concerning producing scales that produce very accurate
    results. Another downside to digital scales is that they naturally
    run on batteries, meaning that eventually the batteries will die and
    need replacing. “Insist on quality, brand strategy is the first international background of economic globalization the only way for Chinese enterprises.

  3. Shawna says:

    As a matter of fact, there are sensors which are essentially
    used for overload alerts. Another downside to digital scales is that they naturally run on batteries, meaning that eventually the batteries will die and need
    replacing. In the least expensive class you have canvases
    of high concentration polymers.

  4. Neal says:

    Hurrah! After all I got a web site from where I be capable of in fact get helpful data regarding my study and knowledge.

  5. You can add an SD card to expand the capacity
    up to 32GB card to hold 10,000 songs, though I can’t
    image anyone who would have that many visitors to get through a playlist like that.
    Again the IC 555 runs in the astable mode, creating flashing pulses at frequencies set by R1 and C1.
    In the past, homeowners of large homes were often forced to accept wired doorbells because of limited frequency ranges of wireless doorbells.

  6. We are a bunch of volunteers and starting a brand new scheme in our community.
    Your site provided us with useful info to work on.
    You have performed a formidable process and our entire community might be thankful
    to you.

  7. Very good information. Lucky me I ran across your website by
    accident (stumbleupon). I’ve saved it for later!

  8. This website says:

    Awesome! Its genuinely remarkable post, I have got much clear
    idea regarding from this paragraph.

  9. Grady says:

    Delco will testify as the lawyer’s forensic expert for Finley.
    Door – Bot is an interesting concept from BOT Home Automation. In addition, you get a Walkie Talkie that can be used for effective supervision of
    the house or business property.

  10. Oh my goodness! Amazing article dude! Thank you, However
    I am having issues with your RSS. I don’t know the reason why I cannot join it.
    Is there anybody else having the same RSS issues?
    Anyone that knows the answer will you kindly respond? Thanx!!

  11. Mozelle says:

    10 to 15 (multi-exercise movement)- rest 90 seconds.
    Aikido focuses on realizing synchronization between ‘ki’ (spirit) and ‘tai’ (the body).
    Body mass Index is a Nokia fitness calculator app that lets you calculate, as the title suggests, your
    body mass index (BMI).

  12. 4:12 AM ‘ A commercial burglary at House of
    Basturma, 2487 Washington Blvd. Suspect(s) entered the residence by shattering the front door window panel.
    The expense of the wifi doorbell furthermore is dependent upon the particular certain characteristic with all the wi-fi
    doorbell since it really is different coming from
    1 entrance bell about the distinct additional.

  13. There are definitely lots of details like that to take
    into consideration. That is a nice level to bring up. I
    provide the thoughts above as basic inspiration however clearly there are questions like the one you
    deliver up the place crucial thing will probably be working in trustworthy good faith.
    I don?t know if greatest practices have emerged around issues like that, however I am positive that your job is clearly
    identified as a good game. Each girls and boys
    feel the influence of only a moment’s pleasure, for
    the rest of their lives.

  14. Darlene says:

    Awesome blog! Is your theme custom made or did you download it from somewhere?
    A design like yours with a few simple tweeks would
    really make my blog jump out. Please let me know where you got your theme.

  15. I’m really enjoying the design and layout of your website.
    It’s a very easy on the eyes which makes it much more enjoyable for
    me to come here and visit more often. Did you hire out a designer to
    create your theme? Fantastic work!

  16. Nice post. I wwas checking cinstantly this blog and I
    am impressed! Extremely helpful information specifically the last
    part 🙂 I care for such information much.
    I was looking for this certain information for a long time.
    Thank you and good luck.

  17. Article writing is also a excitement, if you be acquainted with then you can write or else it is complex to write.

  18. My brother suggested I would possibly like this blog. He was once entirely right.
    This put up actually made my day. You can not imagine just
    how a lot time I had spent for this info! Thank you!

  19. In your area, the temperatures may not be as low as
    to make the lily bulb “go to sleep” naturally and vernalize, cooling period which prompts the lily plant to bloom again. But
    just as one day, as we suddenly realize that we weigh pounds
    more than we want to, we may realize that a stumble or uneven pavement causes a fall that we would have avoided in the past.

    Like it or not, in today’s dating world it is still largely the
    guy’s job to approach the woman and make first contact.

  20. We are a group of volunteers and opening a neww scheme iin our community.

    Your site offered us with valuable info to work on. You’ve doje an impressive job and our entire community will
    be thankful to you.

  21. Andy says:

    Hey there! This is my first visit to your blog!
    We are a group of volunteers and starting a new project
    in a community in the same niche. Your blog provided us
    beneficial information to work on. You have done a wonderful job!

  22. The system starts with an ozone generator chamber where
    a high intensity Ultraviolet (UV) light is used
    to break the bonds of oxygen molecules and create the unstable ozone
    molecule. Lower yourself down to the point where you feel comfortable, then raise yourself back up to the starting position. “Insist on quality, brand strategy is the first international background of economic globalization the only way for Chinese enterprises.

  23. ata kamas says:

    Foam usually stands up to multiple blows without breaking easily, and is safer to hit with.
    Korean kuk sul won also has the long staff in their system and the techniques used are like a blend of Chinese and Japanese moves.

    Gold has two rules: 1) A point worth as much as someone
    who is willing to pay.

  24. metaphysical says:

    Valuable info. Lucky me I found your website by chance, and I am
    surprised why this accident didn’t came about in advance!
    I bookmarked it.

  25. Today, I went to the beach with my children. I found
    a sea shell and gave it to my 4 year old daughter and said “You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear.” She put the shell to her
    ear and screamed. There was a hermit crab inside and it
    pinched her ear. She never wants to go back!
    LoL I know this is completely off topic but I had to tell someone!

  26. Searching for free Jetpack Cheats?

  27. I love looking through an article that can make men and women think.

    Also, many thanks for allowing for me to comment!

  28. With havin so much written content do you ever run into any problems of plagorism or copyright violation? My site has
    a lot of exclusive content I’ve either created myself or outsourced but it looks like a lot of it is popping it up
    all over the web without my permission. Do you know any ways to help prevent content from being stolen?
    I’d truly appreciate it.

  29. Pingback: F#$%ing Noob! (Roleplaying for Beginners) | Ask the Dungeon Master

  30. Great question, Grace!

    Also, I love that you use the word “cereal.” I do that all the time and no one else appreciates it.

    • Ask the DM says:

      thats because they’re all way too cereal to appreciate it. also, another note unrelated to your comment, but related to this post, i’m about to start a new campaign with 2 total noobs. another 2 notches in the belt.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s