#RPGaDAY2020 day 8 ~ Shade

There is much of our human nature that we keep hidden in shadow. There are deeds, thoughts, and impulses that we prefer never leave the shade created by the carefully crafted images that we present to the outside world. There are things that happen in the world that we would rather stay obscured by darkness and distance.

All that’s rather disturbing and bleak isn’t it? When I started playing RPGs back in 1981 we really didn’t deal with those facets of humanity or elfdom. Things were clear cut. We were the good guys (more or less), and the truly evil things in the world were altogether evil. This was and still is a fun aesthetic, and we had fun with it.

However, one of the allures of the RPG hobby is that we can safely explore and interact with the shadow side of humanity without the constraints of pesky details like real world consequences, ethics, and the lack of otherworldly threats and temptations in our own drab lives. It can be quite satisfying to take on the roles of people different from ourselves who are faced with difficult choices in a world often shaded from our eyes. We can choose to play characters with their own dark motives and secrets. We can choose to play characters who must confront all that is ugly in the souls of men and who come face to face with the most foul circumstances. Of course we can play characters for whom both is true.

Many RPGs out there choose to examine disturbing and dark themes, or involve play against a backdrop where the curtain is pulled back to expose the underbelly of society. There are so many to choose from you probably could never play them all. If you did, you might be an empty husk of a person by the time you finished.

Go ahead. Step into the shade if you dare. See what lurks there safe from the light. You just might have fun.

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