February 18, 2020

Building Community Through Playing Stories

We see communities built all the time around famous stories: Star Wars, Game of Thrones, the MCU…people of all walks of life coming together to share in their love for their favorite stories.

They’re immediately able to relate to others through the characters, scenes, quotes, and choices. Those stories provide a common foundation on which to have conversations, build relationships, and create a sense of belonging. Finding out another person shares the same – or starkly different! – views on what you’ve read or watched can be an incredibly validating experience, one which naturally creates a sense of community.

Playing Stories Together Builds Community

New and prospective tabletop story players: playing stories with your family, friends, or even complete strangers can absolutely yield similar, if not even more potent, results.

Instead of watching your favorite characters progress through an amazing story, you are that character. And your fellow players are with you, making choices as their own characters. The story you’re all collectively experiencing grows and evolves with the consequences, good and bad, of those choices.

The more you’re all confronted with these choices, the more decisions you’ll make, and the more the story progresses. Whether it’s taking the road less traveled, or exploring a large city near the end of the world, or encountering a mysterious graveyard, you’ll have many paths before you and you’ll need to choose where to go and what to do.

And that’s half the fun; as the players, you have a massive degree of influence over the twists and turns of the story simply by choosing where to go, what to say, or how to act. Like any story world, the environment will react to your group and will progress what you’re all experiencing.

And as your story develops, you’ll be laughing, you’ll be surprised, excited, thrilled…you name it. Because you’re all in the thick of – and an intimate part of! – this story, you’re forging a community of shared experiences.

You’ll have a group of people, just like those communities who love those famous story worlds, who not only know the story you’ve been playing, they’re a core part of it too. And that shared experience creates lasting bonds, happy memories, and forges new perspectives.

So if you’re ever thinking about trying this whole tabletop RPG thing, just know, if nothing else, you’ll get a great community from the experience!