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I was reading through one of my favorite tabletop RPG blogs today, when I came across this post. Its author, a contributor whose own blog I read regularly, posits that there is a dearth of roleplaying in tabletop RPG’s these days. He attributes this (at least in part) to the trend of publishers focusing heavily on the rules, and little to none on roleplaying.

While this may be true, I think it misses a fundamental point. Dungeons and Dragons never really told anyone how to roleplay. Sure, they provided articles in magazines like Dragon to give some pointers to players, but the responsibility for roleplaying always rested in the same place: the players.

As tabletop gamers, do we really need someone to write a book to tell us how to perform? Does the lack of what we might consider an appropriate mention in the core books preclude us from roleplaying entirely? I submit that it does not.

I have heard many people give voice to this same lament, and to them all I say this: Your roleplaying is up to you, and no one else. If you enjoy roleplaying, as I know many of you obviously do, there is nothing in 3rd or 4th Edition D&D that prevents you from doing it. In fact, your efforts to include roleplaying in your games may very well inspire and teach the next generation of roleplayers.

I am currently running a 4E campaign with two virtually brand new players, and they are quickly picking up the basics of roleplaying from the others in the group. They didn’t have to read it in a core book, or buy a supplement. They simply watched the group having fun roleplaying, and decided that it was something they wanted to do.

With the shift in recent game systems becoming more focused on the rules, it is up to us, the players, to educate the new players in the art of roleplaying, and to show them why it enhances the game so much. This more than anything will guarantee that they continue to roleplay, no matter what campaign they find themselves in.

In short, let Wizards, Paizo, or whoever provide the game. We’ll supply the roleplaying from our own stores.

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