While most Star Wars fans enjoy the films, some may not be aware that there are other, more immersive ways to explore the universe. For example, Tabletop Role Playing Games are a fun way to explore new characters and familiar Star Wars systems. I had the opportunity to chat with Susan White, a newcomer to the gaming world, and Dice for Brains founder, and current season Game Master, Ross Rockafellow.
Dice for Brains is a podcast based gaming group that seeks to create an inclusive environment for all players, regardless of gender or previous gaming experience. Players are currently engaged in an exciting campaign of Fantasy Flight’s Star Wars: Force and Destiny.
For those who have never played an RPG or narrative story based game, listening to the podcast sounds a bit like tuning into a pre-television era radio adventure. Star Wars: Force and Destiny gameplay is divided into episodes, with twelve episodes per season. In the true spirit of Star Wars, Ross has divided this particular adventure into a trilogy, 3 seasons. Susan’s character, Bher, is a force sensitive female swept up in a chance (or maybe force driven) adventure in the Anoat Sector, shortly after the destruction of the second death star. For curious hardcore Star Wars fans, the Anoat Sector is an outer rim territory that includes the systems Hoth and Bespin.
Susan, a lifelong Star Wars fan, had played only one Dungeons and Dragons game prior to beginning this campaign. True to the Dice for Brains mission of inclusion, Ross invited Susan to join the more experienced players at Dice for Brains after noticing that many of the players he encountered shared the same age, interests, and gender.
“Many of the players looked….well they looked like me!” said Rockafellow.
But how best to encourage those who are intimidated by role playing games? Ross believes that by incorporating a diverse cast into its game play, Dice for Brains can demonstrate to the inexperienced and female players that no previous experience or gender stereotypes are necessary to have fun. “The adventures of Bher have been exciting and even emotional at times,” according to Susan, who is now in the second season of the game. With the assistance of a great dice roll and a seasoned game master, Bher and her companions have even combined their force powers to boost a sensor array, overcoming a more difficult gameplay challenge.
While Susan was invited to play this game regardless of being a newcomer, not all groups feel as welcoming. Joining an established gaming group, like anything else, can be intimidating. Dice for Brains hopes that by listening to podcasters, newcomers male and female alike can get a feel for gameplay, how characters are developed, how plotlines unfold and how crucial decisions are made all while feeling like some part of themselves are represented in the gameplay. Not all role playing/narrative games are the created equal. Some require cooperation from the players, some require intense competition, some require tremendous amounts of improv from the players, and some have strict guidelines. There is a game out there for everyone. Visit a local game shop, search for gameplay on meetup.com, or use social media to find other likeminded players.
Want to find out more about Bher’s adventures? Check out the season two finale airing on www.diceforbrains.com
Jennifer Hayman is a wife, mom, and all around Star Wars fanatic living in Southwest Florida. Jennifer is also an active member of Rebel Legion, the “Good Guy” branch of the Star Wars costuming and charity group, the 501st. When she isn’t talking about Star Wars to anyone who will listen, Jennifer also loves racing sailboats, table top games, and crafting gifts for her friends and family.