Roleplaying Philosophy Series:
- RPP-000: RPG Theory Bibliography
- RPP-099: Mad Brew’s Gaming Philosophy
- RPP-100: Defining Game
- RPP-101: Defining Roleplaying Games
- RPP-310: Roleplaying Promotes Wellbeing
- RPP-399: 10 Reasons to Play Games at the Table
- RPP-401: RPG Community
- RPP-450: Roleplaying is a Pastime
- RPP-499: Gamer Elitism
deadorcs: So the question becomes: How do you make #dnd a “pastime” instead of a niche game? What social machinery has to be activated to make it so?
During the course of the discussion, Randall states D&D should (or asks how it could) transcend the status of hobby to be more ingrained in the culture, like grilling or going to the beach (two activities he cites as pastimes).
I believe that D&D, and roleplaying games in general, already are pastimes. Hobbies are inherently pastimes, if that’s what you usually do. To fully understand what I am about to say, we need to define pastime:
What is a pas·time?
- An activity that someone does regularly for enjoyment rather than work; a hobby
- Something that serves to make time pass agreeably; a pleasant means of amusement, recreation, or sport.
- Something that amuses and serves to make time pass agreeably.
From the above definitions, I think we can reasonably say that all pastimes are hobbies, but not all hobbies are pastimes. The trait that separates the two is frequency. Looking at the first definition, a pastime is something someone does regularly.
A National Pastime
What’s missing from Randall’s tweet, and what I think he’s getting at, is a social spectrum qualifier. What would make D&D a <insert community level here> pastime? Much like baseball is referred to as the “national pastime.”
So what would it take for D&D to become a national pastime? It’s hard to put hard requirements down because there are lots of variables. Recognition, intimate knowledge, and acceptance all play major roles (and maybe seasonal shelf space at Wal-Mart). I suppose A-list celebrities might help. But the complexities, requirements, and buy-in of D&D are too great for this too ever happen.
Pastime is Subjective
In the end, I came to the conclusion that, for the most part, pastimes are determined by the individual. I certainly do not consider beach-going or baseball pastimes (or probably many things other people do). My pastimes are playing RPGs, drawing, and shooting firearms (all usually while drinking beer and listening to metal).
D&D is a pastime; whether or not it’s recognized at a specified cultural level is irrelevant to me.