“We All Become What We Pretend to Be” A love letter to Portia’s gaming group

“We understand how dangerous a mask can be. We all become what we pretend to be.”

Patrick Rothfuss, The Name of the Wind

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This is one of the great truths of my adult life.

It might sound a little strange to someone unfamiliar with the concept of role play or someone who hasn’t spent any amount of time in Second Life. The idea that who we are as people, as human beings, isn’t set in stone – that we can execute a mental pivot and in one moment shift from a person sitting on one side of a computer screen (am I the only one that thinks of my monitor as a window sometimes?) to become a strong, though damaged, hero. A stunning fashion model. A meerkat. Anything.

I think about this a great deal, partly because my own life has become very routine in the last month or so. My family has consolidated itself under one roof – a large and amazing roof that holds quite a lot of love, laughter, and noise beneath itself more often than not – but it’s where I spend most of my time now. Being agoraphobic as I am, it’s not a huge deal; I watch my little nephews during the day (and night because they still come to their Auntie, not really understanding the meaning of ‘nights off’ and ‘closed doors’) and, truly, I wouldn’t change this time with them, with my mother and sister and brothers-in law, for anything. Still, it’s a smaller world than it used to be and I have less free time than I used to have, but I am adjusting to that.

This is where the theme of this post comes into play, however, because my world is only as small as I allow it to become. I have learned to treasure my time with friends, both old and new, because they challenge me to engage mentally and socially when, sometimes, all I would be doing otherwise is curling up with a book and going to bed early. And playing a great deal of Bubble Shooter on my phone. >.>

Saturday has become my favourite day, though, because on Saturdays I game.

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I know I’ve mentioned it before and I will likely mention it again. On Saturdays I meet with three of my greatest and oldest friends over Skype and we role play; tabletop-style minus the table. We have been pirates and warriors; intra-dimensional travellers and the avatars of ancient deities. We have been so many things and experienced so much though our characters. We have battled together, laughed together; grieved, celebrated, and generally laughed our faces off at least a few times a night, every week, for a very long time.

Rather than considering this an escape as some people might, however, I like to look at it in another light. It IS a sort of escape but it’s a way to explore things within ourselves, too. The way my friends and I tackle the “problems” of the world, each and every time, is eye opening. It shows me how different we all are and also how much we’ve grown in all the years we’ve known one another; where we might have charged into combat a dozen years ago, now we think of new methods. We talk more. We negotiate and innovate. When someone falls in combat, as they did last night, it is a BIG DEAL.

And when an NPC (Non Player Character) gives their own life to restore the dead hero in a moving display of selflessness and nobility no one expected to witness, it’s a poignant moment for everone. I’m still a little off-balance because of it.

Role-playing, when it’s good, is like the best movie you have ever seen or the best book you have ever read – only better – because you are a vibrant and living part of those stories. Even when we say we’re In Character that isn’t entirely true; the thoughts behind the actions are our own. The dialogue comes from us. The choices we make matter, sometimes they matter a great deal, because sure, we’re deciding one thing or another in an intangible “game world” but we also reaffirm our values and ideals, we harness creativity, friendship, teamwork, and self-determination and it is that sense of empowerment that stays with me, week after week.

I have said it before and I will say it again. If you aren’t any kind of role player, I hope you try it sometime. There are worlds to explore inside yourself and so very much to be gained from it. ❤

~ Credits ~

~ Style 1 ~

Skin Appliers: amara beauty – Miriela 03 CATWA applier ~ Shantia Soulstar ~ NEW @ We ❤ RP (until June 30th 2017)
Head: Head: CATWA HEAD Annie ~ Catwa Clip
Ears: [MANDALA]STEKING_EARS_Season5 ~ Kikonosuke Eel
Mesh Body/Hands/Feet: Maitreya Mesh Body – Lara ~ Onyx LeShelle
Makeup: .::Nanika::.Gold eyeshadow CATWA Applier ~ Sdevas
Nail Appliers: alme. Grecian ~ Chloe Electra ~ NEW @ Tres Chic (until July 5th)

Hair: Tableau Vivant \\ Seelie and Unseelie hair ~ Gacha Item ~ M4ri1yn Magic

Dress: OSMIA – Olimpia.Dress – White – Maitreya ~ gabby111996 ~ NEW @ Tres Chic ( until July 5th)

Hand Jewellery: Zaara : Siya hand-harness & stacked rings ~ Zaara Kohime ~ NEW @ Collabor88 (until July 6th)

Pose: {NANTRA} Vogue ~ Nancoix Urquan

~ Style 2 ~

Skin Appliers: Lara Hurley-Diana Rose Pale *Catwa Appliers* ~ Lara Hurley
Head: CATWA HEAD Catya ~ Catwa Clip
Ears: [MANDALA]STEKING_EARS_Season5 ~ Kikonosuke Eel
Mesh Body/Hands/Feet: Maitreya Mesh Body – Lara ~ Onyx LeShelle

Hair: DOUX – Aphrodite ~ Dam1710 ~ NEW @ Tres Chic ( until July 5th)

Dress: Mimikri – Embroidered Dress / Justine corfu ~ Mimikri Kit ~ NEW @ The Liaison Collaborative (until June 30th)

~ Set ~

Chair: (fd) Studio Chair ~ Gacha Item ~ Toast Bard
Table: (fd) Workspace Table ~ Gacha Item ~ Toast Bard
Laptop: (fd) Creative Laptop – Website ~ Gacha Item ~ Toast Bard
Art Frame: :[P]:– Heavens Shadowbox ~ Gacha Item ~ Aikea Rieko
Wood Frame: Fancy Decor: Plank Panels (stained) ~ Jake Vordun
Plants: Soy. Shitamachi Alley Garden (Potted Plant G, K, A  & C) ~ Soyoy
Magazines: (fd) Fashion Magazines ~ Gacha Item ~ Toast Bard
Water and Glasses: 1992 // The Glass Set (Silver) ~ Grant Valeska
Incense: The Loft – Incense ~ Colleen Desmoulins
Stones: The Loft – Yoga Tray ~ Colleen Desmoulins

One thought on ““We All Become What We Pretend to Be” A love letter to Portia’s gaming group

  1. I have to say that these words are bang on. Every last one of them. It has been my honor and privilege to be a part of the aforementioned gaming group for close to two decades. Each of us has grown over the years, and there have been times when we have drifted our own ways for awhile due to real life constraints getting in the way. In spite of this, our paths always manage to converge once again, be it in person, or through mediums such as Skype.

    Last night was one that led to potent, poignant moments, made all the more powerful by their unexpected nature. But it bears saying that it wasn’t easy, and in fact there were moments where the emotional pain was starkly, heart wrenchingly real. Some might question why we would subject ourselves to such in what is intended to be a game, but much like any epic tale worth telling, you need the darkness. You need a backdrop that will forge true heroes. There is beauty to be found in tragedy, and the light within us can shine all the brighter because of it.

    Much like Portia, I am also unbalanced by what transpired – it is no exaggeration when I say that our vocabulary was reduced to maybe three monosyllabic words for a good half hour after all was said and done, with the main one being ‘wow’. I’m still trying to process the enormity of it all, and I think I may remain in that boat until our next game. The fall out from what is already a keynote moment in the story is far from over, and I look forward to how the tale unfolds. The best is still to come.

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