It's no big secret that I'm a huge closet nerd. I love Star Wars, Anime, Star Trek, and a laundry list of fantasy, horror, science fiction, Magic the Gathering, et cetera. I've been forum based roleplaying significantly longer than what I have tabletopped. It started off simple, roleplaying on AOL chatrooms. That character was then migrated to Your Battle, an ezBoard forum based Dragonball Z rp. We sometimes mingled with Senkyoku (A more omnibus board ran by Sila. Ask her. She remembers me, and how terrible I used to be.)

I didn't start tabletopping until years later. I'll never forget my first game. It was a D&D 3.5 Campaign named "Orcs, Orcs, and more Orcs." My character was a half-elf rogue/ranger (two levels in rogue, the rest in ranger as gestalt was unheard of at the time) named Anellig. His favored enemy was anything orc (makes sense for the campaign he was in), carried a composite shortbow and a scimitar, and (because my DM was either moronic or hated newbies) gave him chainmail armor. So, first session, the PCs are searcing for a relic that was supposedly stored away in this castle. So, we're scaling a wall, and I fail my climb check. I fall and the smack of my chainmail hitting stone floor alerts some guards. And then I thought to myself, "Why would this guy wear chainmail? Leather is much more stealth and dexterity based." And that was the last time that I let the DM pick out my gear.

My very first tabletop game that I ran was a Star Wars game. I used a lot of NPCs based off of characters from the "other guy's board" because despite the owner being a huge -insert cruel slur of individual curses-, a vast majority of the people were wonderful. Wonderful writers with wonderful characters who made wonderful stories. These were my clique. The group of people I loved writing with. Because I wouldn't be bothered with writing out five paragraphs and getting a two sentence reply. Call me an elitist. I've come a long way since Your Battle. Hell, I look at my posts from 3 years ago and think they could have been better.

Anyway, it was a Dark Side campaign, and although we had to shorten the campaign closer up because one of the players was going to jail, it was one of the only campaigns in the history of my group that we ever finished. Seriously. For every 1 campaign we legitimately finish, there are about 15 that are abandoned, sometimes as quickly as after the first session. And that, to me, is one of the most frustrating things about tabletop gaming. You spend hours trying to figure out which configurations you want for that character specifically. Only for that character sheet to go to waste.

Or even worse, your character dies very early in the session.

Our second DM was a guy we met at our local college, where we first gamed, through the student organization that our first DM was a part of. Stopped going to the first DM's games, because they were lame, and started exclusively going to our second DM's game. Anyway, started off as level 5 characters. The whole campaign was centered around the antagonist Vetrium and his quest to exterminate all life and raise it back from the dead. In case you didn't get the reference, dude was a Necromancer. And not just any Necromancer. But a super ultra mega bad mamma jamma necromancer.

I played a psychic warrior because, yeah. It was my second D&D character, so why not overly complicate things with the ridiculously overpowered, original 3.5 psionics. My buddy, Chris, made a barbarian. Half orc female. He was so thrilled about this character. It was all he talked about for weeks before the game started. Well, first session, we're in a city. Mayor hires us in order to kill Vetrium. We walk outside the city, and there's Vetrium, talking that smack. We're level 5's. Sure, there were like 7 of us, but there was no way we'd have been able to touch him. Well, Chris, playing true to character, threw his barbarian in a rage and charged Vetrium.

Vetrium extended his hand, touched the barbarian. Fortitude save was failed. Barbarian died and came back a zombie. Vetrium rode off waving his middle fingers, and we had to put down a barbarian zombie. In the first half hour of the very first session, my buddy lost his character that he had worked so hard on. Studied everything he could about barbarians in order to really make everything click. And, going through many character deaths be that by the hands of the DM or my shady party members, I know how frustrating it can be.

There's no guarentee against death in tabletop. Sure, there are miracles from deities and resurrection spells, but we were never around a high enough level cleric, or had enough gold, to be like, "Hey, bro. Bring our bro back from the grave." There's always that sense of consequence. You always have to think, "Okay. If I do this, will it have any negative consequences, and if so... Are they greater than the reward I receive?" We were taught by one of the greatest tabletop rpers I've ever met on how to not only play character, but how to coup-de-grace like a champ. But also, the consequences of doing so.

If you're travelling with a few peeps, and Dude A murders Dude B in his sleep because Dude B had some sweet gear Dude A wanted, how well are you going to trust Dude A? You have to look out for yourself, always. But, when you're in a party, you fill a niche. Each character plays a role whenever you all are fighting together against something you can't handle on your own (read: pretty much everything the DM throws at you). Death is around every corner. Hell, all you have to do is get under the DM's skin well enough and, "Rocks fall. Everyone dies."

That fear of mortality isn't present in most, if not all, forum based rp's. The only way your character can die is if you allow them to die. Sure, you may be put in a situation where there's not a lot of escape from the Grim Reaper's grasp, but ultimately, it's your decision if he kicks the bucket or not. And in that, it somewhat cheapens the roleplaying experience. Well, cheapens is such a harsh term. But, there's less consequence that you have to really deal with.

Whenever a platform is reached, or a great foe is defeated, it just isn't quite the same as when you know that there's a very real chance that could be the last attack your character delivered. Even if he missed. But, is that really so bad? In that net of safety that the rules place on forum based rps, your character can suffer a great loss. But, that character will live to fight another day. It makes for good story. It tests you as a roleplayer, and not just your ability to manipulate rollplays. (See what I did there? If you don't get it, you're not nerdy enough for me, bro.)

You can switch characters whenever you want. Shelve ones that your muse has dried up on, and maybe even start a new one directly from scratch. It's comforting knowing that whatever situation you throw your character into, they're not going to keel over unless you give the okay. You write your own hero's (or villian's) journey. And when you're bored with one story, shelf it and start writing another. I love Avicus DuSang. He's grown into something larger than just me. Many writers have come to me and told me, "Hey. The way you write with Avicus has shown me a different perspective in that. I apperciate the change of view." And many times, even when he was still a knight, people would tell me that he was very relatable. Out of all of the Sith they had seen, he was the most human.

But, Avicus didn't start out as a Sith. Or even a human. He was a character in Vampire: The Masquerade. A True Brujah who had lived over a millenia. Great character. And then he was a Headmaster of Hogwarts in the unsuccesful Hogwarts board I made. Going to a HP rp board was the whole reason I got started into Star Wars rp. A buddy of mine (Darth Umbra) was on the same HP board. Brought me over. I brought over Avicus. And the rest is history. Really miss that guy. Wish I could've talked to him when he was going through what lead him to his suicide.

But, I digress. It's really impossible to give a definitie answer on which is better. Forum based or tabletop. They both have their pros. They both have cons. But, the importance is the similarities. I've met a lot of good people who I consider friends through both tabletop and forum based. In both, I can express my creativity and have a break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. And as for being a staffer, it's not all that different from being a DM or GM or Storyteller. You have a system of rules that you have to enforce, while still making the overall experience enjoyable for the people you're working for. It can get stressful at times, and sometimes you gotta take a break. But, overall, I'm a big fan of both.

Thank you for reading. Muah. You're beautiful.