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Social Skills RPGs

How can RPGs Help My Child?

Role-playing games like Dungeons and Dragons are used in a guided setting to practice cooperation, communication, collective story-telling, and social skills in and out of character.
Here’s a little more about how applied RPGs can be used to practice certain skills:

Communication Skills

As the Game Master, Kendall is able to guide each player towards individualized goals for communication.

At the table, an introverted player can practice being more assertive through their character’s choices. By stepping up for the group, players learn in a safe environment that it’s okay to put themselves out there more in real life, too.

On the other hand, people who tend to dominate conversations have to learn how to dial back their energy and make room for everyone in the party. Characters who won’t share the spotlight often see in-game consequences, like annoying a potential ally or drawing unwanted attention at the tavern. Feedback in game helps players practice picking up on these social cues in the real world as well.

Cooperation

RPGs are at their core collective story-telling and require cooperation amongst players that few other games do. Characters are part of an adventuring party that often includes a diverse set of character traits, goals, and drives. Players cheer on collective successes, and grapple with the ramifications of shared failures as well. If players don’t learn how to use teamwork to their characters’ advantage, the whole group feels the repercussions.

Conflict Resolution

RPGs provide opportunities for players to solve problems in any way that they can come up with. Characters have different motivations, so sometimes two characters disagree about which direction the group should take. In a safe, supported environment, players can practice conflict resolution skills with the group.

Sometimes issues arise between two players as well. Kendall has experience guiding these interactions out of character so that everyone is respectful and listens to the other point of view.

Perspective-Taking and Empathy

By its very nature, the process of character building in RPGs forces players to consider their character’s strengths, flaws, goals, and motivations. Reflecting on these character traits when making decisions in game helps players recognize different ways of looking at the same situation. Players also learn to be more tolerant of their characters’ companions, forgiving others for “mistakes” (no one can be blamed for an unlucky roll or for playing their character true to their faults) and finding self-compassion for their own character, flaws, foibles and all.

Players can take this practice IRL to acknowledge different sides in a conflict, to be more tolerant and forgiving, and to see more nuanced shades of gray in their social interactions.

Problem-Solving and Strategy

As a team, characters face challenges that can have any number of solutions; one group may persuade a foe to join their cause while another group may sneak their way around it. A third may attack while a fourth may use deception to trick the enemy.

RPGs can include puzzles or riddles, and there is a surprising amount of math involved using a variety of dice. Players practice strategy in combat, but there’s room for everyone to play as they discover for themselves different tactics or approaches. There are no “right” or “wrong” answers in role-playing games; a good plan can go awry with some unlucky dice rolls, and creative solutions are rewarded in game as well.

Creative Writing & Artistic Expression

RPGs really are at their core, collective story-telling. Not even the GM knows where the story will go, and it is a true collaboration.

Players describe what their character does and what they’re thinking. The GM describes the setting and non-player characters. The dice provide randomization that create story opportunities for heroic successes and epic obstacles to overcome.

Members often get inspired by their characters to create their own backstories, character art, and other forms of artistic expression.

Patience and Frustration Tolerance

Players inherently have to take turns and spend time listening to others at the table as characters “take a backseat” from time to time. Every member is guided to “share the spotlight” with each other, which requires patience as someone else gets a chance to take a more prominent role in the story that session.

The dice themselves in role-playing games play a part in creating drama and at times, disappointment. Just as in life, we don’t always get to write every part of our characters’ stories. Some players become upset that their brilliant plan didn’t work out after all, or feel jealous that a “weaker” character got the finishing blow. In these guided sessions, Kendall as GM capitalizes on these instances to help players accept obstacles and frustrations more appropriately and apply that in the real world as well.

Self-Esteem

Players can develop confidence as they inhabit a character at the table. Being a hero feels good – especially when you’re helping the whole group!

Consent

Before we begin any adventure, we start with a “Session 0.” Before the first game, each player will confidentially submit a consent form regarding violence, romance, and other issues so that everyone feels comfortable at the table.

High School RPG groups

We are expanding our social skills RPG groups to include sessions for current high school students. Please indicate your interest in joining a high school group by filling out this form: