I’m the least excited member of my weekly RPG group, and that’s okay

My biggest foe yet is social anxiety.

I’m the least excited member of my weekly RPG group, and that’s okay
Photo by silvana amicone / Unsplash

At some point in the life of every social group, you step back and consider your place within it—view the trees that compose the interpersonal forest and wonder what your individual contribution means. Are you the focal point, the center of conversational gravity, or more of a reserved, load-bearing support who’s just happy to be here? No? Just me? 

Regardless, tabletop RPG groups ease this burden somewhat because everyone assumes a role from the jump: players and facilitators, planners and executors, party faces and supporters. These roles are clear, communicated, and almost certainly an explicit structure demanded by the game everyone is playing. If you’re like me and hyper-analyze your place in groups out of a fear of burdening your friends and loved ones, these coherent distinctions and expectations are a massive relief.

Take my latest RPG group, composed of my partner and two friends all playing Masks: A New Generation. Three players led by one facilitator who isn’t me for a change! I get to sit back, think silly character thoughts and generally roll up to game night having done zero prep beyond reviewing my notes—which, if I’m being honest, remains an infrequently ticked box. Our facilitator is wonderful and everything you want from the head of the table: he’s actively involved in the story, checks in with players between sessions about our character’s arcs, and harbors an enduring love for superhero bullshit.