PETALING JAYA, 17th June: Free RPG Day, a one day event that seeks to introduce people to the hobby of tabletop RPGs was held here at the All Aboard Community Gaming Center in Damansara Jaya (behind Atria Shopping Gallery) from 2pm to 11pm.
A great many tabletop RPG enthusiasts or gamers came to attend the one day event celebrated for the first time here in Malaysia.
While most came to try out new RPG systems, some came merely to socialize with other members of the RPG community.
Tables were full at the small but cozy venue with around 7 RPG sessions going on simultaneously among the games being played were Pathfinder, Dungeons and Dragons 5th edition, Cthulhu Dark and Urban Shadows.
Harmeshver Singh or known to many simply as Resh, the organizer for the event was available for comment and had much to say about his involvement in the tabletop RPG community and experience with tabletop RPGs.
He said that while most people are familiar with computer based RPGs or Role-playing games such as Mass Effect, Skyrim, Final Fantasy or World of Warcraft; they are not familiar with tabletop RPGs which is a separate hobby in and of itself.
Unlike computer RPGs, tabletop RPGs are instead played using pen and paper, dice and sometimes even figures on grid map in order to help players visualize the scenario being played.
It is most similar to a form of improvisational radio theatre in which players play the role of a character such as a wizard, fighter or cleric and describe their actions while a Gamemaster or GM narrates the adventure and voices the NPCs encountered within the game.
Typically played by a group of 4-7 players an RPG game usually has one person play the role of a Game Master who describes the scene while the players play the role of adventurers off to save the land from evil in a fantasy setting with swords, magic, goblins and even dragons.
Resh first got interested in the hobby when he introduced to Dungeons and Dragons 12 years by a friend, from then on his interest in the hobby took off and now he seeks to introduce the hobby to an ever-growing community of gamers.
“The best about the tabletop RPG game is sharing an unique experience with friends and remembering about those times even many years after”, said Resh.
There are however some downsides to the hobby with a steep learning curve and thick rulebooks which scare off potential players to the hobby but this process can be greatly made easier by having some else who is already familiar with the game to be the GM and slowly teach the players mechanics of the game as they move along.
Overall, playing tabletop RPGs is a social experience, as everyone on the table are communicating constantly instead of playing by oneself in front of a computer screen.
The game can help boosting in self confidence as the players are able to express freely in safe and more intimate setting.
There have been times in the past like in the 80’s, where church groups in the United States demonized the hobby by calling it devil worship and attributing it to the occult, although this proved to be nothing more than scare tactics to urge parents to turn their children away from the game when in truth playing RPGs is nothing more than a group of friends having fun participating in shared activity together which is no different from playing sports or watching a movie.
Resh encourages younger generations to try out RPG games as it is a fun hobby to pick up, as it helps build imagination, creativity and helps boost self-esteem.
While still a niche hobby in Malaysia the advent of social media has made it easier for otherwise disparate groups of gamers to communicate and coordinate gaming sessions together and coupled with public events such as Free RPG Day help to better break through to the public and spread awareness about the hobby.
Lastly, spaces such as All Aboard provide gamers with a proper avenue to conduct their games as well meet and introduce new people to the wonderful world of Tabletop RPGs.
Article Written by Dan Dan Yap