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Title: Changing face in an alternate universe
Source: redandblack.com, October 23rd, 2009
NOTICE: The following material is copyrighted as indicated in the body of text. It has been posted to this web page for archival purposes, and in doing so, no claim of authorship is expressed or implied, nor is a profit being made from the use of the material.
Changing face in an alternate universe
MICHAEL PROCHASKAThere's nothing that screams "Halloween" more than a night of masquerading inside an alternate universe.
Tonight, Tyche's Games will hold its annual gathering for students to play a character of their choosing and get lost in another world.
"It's a chance to explore a different side of yourself," said Sean Holland, owner of Tyche's. "These are worlds you can't go to otherwise. We wouldn't want to fight monsters if they were real."
In the spirit of Halloween, Tyche's Games will focus on the horror genre, often known as hack-and-slash gaming.
One of these games, The Dreadful Secrets of Candlewick Manor, features a ghoulish orphanage full of mysteries. The characters are orphans who possess unique talents, Holland said.
Another game draws on the mythology of the late science fiction author H.P. Lovecraft. His cosmic horror tale of Cthulhu describes a world where humans are a minority.
Kelsey Foster, a religion and philosophy major from Athens, has been role-playing since childhood.
"I suspect it had its roots in the imaginary friends and imaginary adventures I had when I was 4 or 5," she said. "I really picked up role-playing back in elementary school. My best friend and I just made up characters and went back and forth describing what our characters said and did on their many adventures."
Foster's childhood adventures became a gateway for modern-day gaming.
"Maybe we role-play because we, as individuals, are in touch with our inner children already," she said.
Role-playing is as simple as assuming the role of a fictional character. It's a very social activity, so the rules of the game are not as important as the storytelling, Holland said.
"The important thing is that you're taking the role of a character in a world and it can be as detailed and immersive as the group likes," he said.
The games are typically deep-rooted in a literary experience. Most have a guidebook detailing the rules and the folklore behind the game and many follow the structure of the first published role-playing game, Dungeons & Dragons, in which a group of four to six participants act out roles and overcome adversaries in a fictional world.
"One of the great things about role playing with a group of other people is that when you do something really off-the-wall, it can be adjusted for and the game can still go on," Holland said. "You have a lot more control over what goes on in the world."
He said reality can become more and more fractured as a player explores the game.
Meanwhile, Foster plans to keep on role-playing.
"We get the intelligent human interaction and connection we often lack in our day-to-day lives, it costs almost nothing, and it's so low-tech that nothing can possibly go wrong other than the group dynamic itself," she said. "Also, it forces your mind to contort itself [a certain] way for hours on end."
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