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What about tabletop RPGs played online?


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Hi folks,

I'm more than 30 days in my detox and feeling great about it, the cravings have not been as frequent nor as intense as I thought they would be, which is helpful.

I used to play D&D with a group of friends IRL until the pandemic hit us. Wanting to go back to tabletop RPGs while staying safely at home, I just started a D&D game with strangers using roll20 (2hrs weekly), and I'm having a blast! I'm also planning to do some one-offs or maybe embark on another RPG campaign (star wars) with IRL friends through the same website (roll20), virtually.

All of this got me thinking - Is playing a tabletop RPG virtually considered "gaming"? Am I putting myself at risk of going back to gaming by doing this? Should I carefully analyse my RPG consumption to ensure I do not drift into addiction territory?

While I'd like your honest opinion/perspective, I can assure you that I haven't been consumed by this and am still living quite a balanced life in the circumstances, and I'm not planning on putting all my energies on this fun adventure. All in all, looks like a fun hobby to me, just like learning the piano or other projects I'm taking on or might embark on in the upcoming weeks. Feels like if it does not take over all my free time, I should be able to indulge into this activity and grab the benefits it gives me (social activity, rewarding experience, fun, etc.).

Any thoughts? Anyone also on the fence about playing tabletop RPGs?

Edited by Le North Dreamer
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I think thats the best way to assess whether or not its a safe option. For some people, even just watching a video game trailer is enough for them to reinstall steam games and binge. For others, they are a bit more resilient to triggers. I never played these kind of games personally but it sounds like something you need others for, which is a barrier of entry to getting addicted or playing too much. You can't be into your 12th hour of the session at 3 am if you need other human beings to play. I say continue it if you enjoy it, and if you find yourself feeling tempted for more variety aka video games or mobile games, take the proper precautions. If its causing problems, it is a problem. If not, then I wouldn't worry about it too much.

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I recommend just imagining yourself play, and while doing that trying to track your emotions and thoughts. For me, thinking of playing anything online gives me the same kind of excitement I get when playing videogames, which in turn gets me thinking of video games. Yesterday, I played Terraria with my partner, and even though that caused a lot of gaming "triggers" for me, I was able to resist the urges after we stopped playing and simply turned my PC off. 

If you think that playing the RPG with friends is more or less safe, I still recommend you have a set of actions/reminders to do in case you get strong urges to game after you are done w/ the RPG. For me it was turning the PC off and proceeding to watch a TV show for 15-ish minutes instead. 

Cheers!

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@Twin @Pochatok, thank you for your insight. After thinking about it a bit more and having a deeper look into my  reactions before, during and after playing tabletop RPGs, I can safely say that so far, my brain seems to somewhat completely separate tabletop rpgs from gaming and playing tabletop RPGs has not given me a lot of urges to play video games. I do get a similar excitement as when playing video games, but I seem to perceive these 2 activities differently.

I'll keep track of urges, and Pochatok, I'll make sure to have a set fallback so I can resist any urge that comes in. So far the RPGs triggered a need to chill out after the sessions, so hopefully it just stays this way!

Thanks for the feedback!

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