Last month I spent four days at a local RPG convention promoting The Orc, a local RPG magazine I write for. Those how know me know that conventions aren't exactly my cup of tea, and I can't say this convention changed my opinion.
Being used to be the youngster among my closest friends, at this convention, from the so-called heights of more than two decades of life upon this Earth and a decade and a half of roleplaying, I was by far one of the oldest people around. The depletion of roleplayers which you witness as you advance on the axis of age is understandable, but what is more interesting is to study what happens to those of us who still remain active after so many years.
Just one last comment before I start - this article is completely satirical. All of the following descriptions are based on real players I've known or met, but exaggerated beyond any proportion. If anyone reading this article finds that one of these descriptions hit a bit too close to home - I apologize sincerely. There's no doubt in my mind that I too qualify for more than one of these descriptions.
Description: This player has been playing not only with the same system but also with the same troupe in the same campaign for many years. Perhaps too many. Even after their characters have done it all, these kind of players would be reluctant to disband the troupe that has become their second family, and would find various odd (not mention - artificial) ways to keep the campaign running - an ancient evil that forces the retired adventurers to take up arms again, scenarios played out by the children of the original characters, curses that cast the characters into the past - everything goes.
Quote: "I quit my job and found one nearer to the center of town. This way it'll be easier for me to get to the game sessions."
The Prisoner of Nostalgia
Description: The Prisoner of Nostalgia is similar to The Married Player, but less fortunate than him. Like him, The Prisoner of Nostalgia has also fallen prey to the temptations of a certain system, but on the contrary to The married, he does not have a regular troupe or campaign. Moreover, he is usually a captive of a system that went bankrupt long ago, together with the company producing it, and he is condemned to sleepwalk through conventions preaching about "The Good Old Days".
Quote: "Long Live Queen Torg"
The Don Juan
Description: If The Married Player has been playing in the same campaign for years, then The Don Juan has long since forgotten what it even means. After years of gaming, he no longer has neither the energy nor the emotional fortitude for a long term campaign. Instead, he hops form one-shot (or One Night Stand, as they are more vulgarly known) to one-shot, trying something new each time.
Quote: "Head: the Floating? You say its a game you play preserved heads floating in jars? Cool! I never played that!"
Description: The Collector is a player, or more accurately - an ex-player who lost the joy of gaming. It has been years since the last time he played, except perhaps a random one-shot, at best. His connection to roleplaying remains in his awesome collection of books. It is not surprising to find such players with plastic-sealed books they have never read in their closet.
Quote: "Horror HERO? I've never played neither HERO System nor any horror game, but I want it to complete my collection of books that Jim Warren drew their covers."
The Business Man
Description: The Business Man, much like The Collector has long since forgotten how a gaming session feels from the inside. But not like The Collector that still thinks of roleplaying as a hobby, The Businessman has found a way to mix business and pleasure and to actually earn some money from roleplaying be it as a writer, publisher, retailer or guide to a group of kids who's combined ages don't reach half of his.
Quote: "Did you hear about HERO System? I never played it myself, but there it received very good reviews on the internet"
The Counseling Elder
Description: This is another type of player who hardly players any more, if at all. In his own mind, he has seen it all and done it all, and all that is left for him to do now is to share his knowledge with the younger generation. Much too often The Counseling Elder is not as old as he thinks he is, and he gets himself into ridiculous situations where he lectures to players that were playing before he was reading.
Quote: "If I were you, I'd play Lucian as a tragic vampire, like Ann Rice's classic characters."
The Grumbling Elder
Description: The Grumbling Elder is quite similar to The Counseling Elder, but is basically a less nicer person. Instead of sharing his so-called vast experience he passes his time berating anything and anyone not to his liking under the pretense that "With my age and experience, you see thing differently". The sad truth is, that with all due respect for age and knowledge, the world has simply advanced and left The Grumbling Elder behind.
Quote: "Why would anyone bother to publish this garbage? Who plays D&D anyway?"
Description: The Organizer differs from most players still plays, but the game itself is no longer the main thing he enjoys. Instead, the surrounding logistics and organization are now his main passion. His kick is finding the optimal time and place for everyone, taking care of the food (that could easily qualify as food from a four-star restaurant), transport, etc. Usually, The Organizer would eventually find himself a job organizing conventions he doesn't play in.
Quote: "I can't talk now. I need to find a generator for the laser-beams special effects in a Star-Wars game that starts in another ten minutes."