Cate C.

EL AMOR

¿Qué mundos tengo dentro del alma que hace tiempo vengo pidiendo medios para volar? 

                                   –Alfonsina Storni

I fell in love with games when I was very small. I grew up in a family where they were simply part of the normal rhythm of our weeks. The sound of dominoes at my grandparents' kitchen table was a sure sign that it was Friday night. Saturdays were spent with Lotería, Clue, or what I realize looking back now was probably my first tabletop RPG — Life, complete with a little car and blue or pink plastic game pieces. Games were a comfort, a sanctuary. We moved a lot and I learned very quickly how to use my imagination to fill the lonely, scary spaces for myself and my brother. I made up games for us — stories, puzzles, worlds that we could hide away in and be anything we wanted to be.

Fast forward about twenty-five years later to me sitting in the car park, windows up and music blaring, crying ...okay, sobbing ...okay, screaming. I did this sometimes. Things would pile up. All the crisis and misery that I dealt with every single day without a break would threaten sometimes to break me. A person can only see so many autopsies, can only hear so many details of how things will never be the same. A person can only navigate a certain amount of trauma before it ends up killing you in all the ways that matter. So when I say that gaming saves me? I'm not joking. I have always sought outlets to help cope with all the ugly shit inside my head that I can never unsee. I write. I create art. I dance. I keep myself busy and joyful. That's my big middle finger to the whispers trying to convince me that the world is only ever a hateful, hard, and hopeless place.

 

It is gaming, and role-playing in particular, that brought me back completely to that secret spell I'd forgotten from my childhood. The people I interact with and the stories we create together are so much of a sanctuary for my brain-full-o-trauma that it feels very much like finding an enchanted realm. Oddly, my roleplay is often as dark and awful as the events I am seeking refuge from; so maybe it is not escape so much for me as a way to process some of the residue, a way to let go of it in small handfuls.

 

The Secret World was the first RP I ever did in an online game. I'd never been interested before, but the setting and stories just hooked me from the first time I played. It was a place that, strange as it may sound, felt like home. Someone joked to me that I work in the "Real Secret World"— not far from the truth, really, and probably what made me love the game so much. It is made for the language I speak, for the experiences I have survived, and for those I have been tasked with remembering for those who did not.

My love for the game has expanded over time to the people who play it with me. I have made some dear friends over the last couple of years and met some incredible talents. It's amazing, really, to think of how many bright, creative people inhabit the world of roleplay. I feel very lucky to know just a few of them. Every time we write together, plot a scene, or just chat out of character about random things, it reminds me that I am okay. My interactions with the people in the SWL RP community reinforce in a profound way what I absolutely need to remember as often as possible — that there is still love, hope, and magic in the world, and that there are always stories to tell.

For me, Multifarium is my love letter to the people and gameplay that save my life in the best ways every day. I hope that we will make this a space that celebrates the best of what gaming can be without shying away from the more interesting or difficult issues that are out there.

 

I want to thank everyone who has taken the time to hold my hand along this journey, from a shy and anxious first-time RPer to a hardcore advocate of RPGs. I still have so much to learn and I don't always get it right... I'm pretty sure the same may be said of this project as well at some point. We'll keep trying, though, to always offer the best of what we can, and hopefully provide ways for the creative people in the gaming community (and its many suburbs) to celebrate and appreciate each other.