(Ani)TAYbletop Tuesday: Role Play Stories Worth Watching

I am part of what has to be the flakiest DnD group ever. We started our quest for...something...almost a year and a half ago. We are a gnome wizard, a human monk, an orc barbarian, a human cleric, and a half-elf ranger (that's a-me). For most of my party, it was the first time any of us had played DnD or tabletop rpgs in general. As such, our sessions are mostly us stumbling around, flipping through the player's handbook, and asking our DM if this or that is alright. He's the only veteran player, and he's a trooper and is generally patient with us. Oh, and he comes up with some awesomely gross descriptions of monster death. We have fun, but our sessions so far have really lacked creative spark.

Enter Record of Lodoss War. There's a good chance a lot of people around here haven't seen the 1990 OVA, because as far as anime goes it's pretty old school. Lodoss is remarkable for a few reasons. The original novels, by Ryu Mizuno, were some of Japan's first high fantasy novels. Mizuno actually adapted the story from his DnD sessions, which were serialized and published. These replay sessions were so popular it spawned the Lodoss franchise. The group even had to create their own rpg rules to make their story flow better.

The anime itself is pretty good if you like high fantasy. It really is just like watching a very creative DnD campaign. The show follows Parn, a human knight, Deedlit, a high elf (who was played by a sci-fi author in the original sessions), and their friends of different classes and races as they travel throughout Lodoss. There are dragons. There are demon swords, witches, evil sorcerers, and all your favorite fantasy trappings. The story kept me engaged throughout its original 13 episode run, which wouldn't be worth noting if this was originally a manga or anime. As it is basically a DnD game, I felt inspired, but also thought about what my group was doing wrong.

Our hearts weren't so much into the RP of RPG. All of our characters have the potential to be interesting, with their own stories and motivations. In the back of my head I knew that my half-elf, Godfrey, was a bastard child of elven nobility who ran away from home after getting fed up with being the family disgrace, throwing away all symbols of wealth except a nifty signet ring. Oh, and I'm thinking he might actually be a she. It may finally be time to tell the others that secret. After all, they've been travelling together long enough to be trusted. I never took the time to really play this character, though, to think about how he or she would interact with people and the impetus for dungeon crawling in the first place.

After watching Record of Lodoss War and enjoying it so much, I think it's time for my group to put more effort into not only, um, actually meeting, but making these characters and their adventures a good story. This may seem like a no-brainer to some of the more seasoned tabletop players on TAY, but it was seriously a revelation to me about what our campaign was missing. So next time you're starting a new adventure, or need a spark in your current game, ask yourself this: am I playing a story worth watching?