A discussion I had recently was with someone had meandered into how they feeling like people were going to alienate them for their lack or knowledge of a game system. I can understand that feeling of being like you would be cast to the outside as I grew up as one of those outcasts in school, the kid who was too unfit to be a jock, too nerdy to be preppy while being too socially adjusted to be a stereotypical nerd, even wore second hand clothes well before the practice was acceptable. I just had my clique of friends I hung out with and was made fun off by the kids in my class. So I know all about alienation.
However, one place none of us should be alienated is at the gaming table. I know we all had experienced some sort of experience where we felt like the outsider, maybe not the same way as I have but there is always that view of being a little different, a little stranger than all the others. I don’t think we should have to feel that from the group of players of a game we enjoy. These days, RPGs are a lot more acceptable than they were in the eighties and nineties when I was growing up and interested in them. I think part of this is because of the advance of video games, like Baldur’s Gate, Dungeons and Dragons Online, Elder Scrolls, and so forth getting people interested in roleplaying games and having some explore the source material. Also it could be due to some of the famous people bringing the hobby into a much better light than it was a generation ago.
You will see Vin Diesel talking about his D&D character, even having it be part of the inspiration to the Witch Hunter movie and writing the foreward of the book 30 Years of Adventure: A Celebration of Dungeons & Dragons. We have Wil Wheaton having a channel on Youtube where he gets to play games weekly and introduce them to people (not to mention the weekly RPG broadcast he did, and others done on the same channel). I would have loved to sit at a table with Robin Williams, if he put some of the zany energy of his standup into his characters. All walks of life including porn stars like Sasha Grey and basketball player Tim Duncan.
This is a great departure from the news of my generation where it was looked at with a much more cautious look, as if we were trying to summon Satan in our basements. Check out some examples of the news reports people would write on this. I mean, this was also the era of the Chick Tracts which were religious recruitment material commenting on the darkness your children would get into doing things like roleplaying. Another being the whole Mazes and Monsters movie as seen in this review. You can see how the idea of being disconnected from the rest of the world could happen because of interest in a game. We would embrace the similar openness of those at our table and rely on a welcoming attitude from them. Even if we disagree on things, we should never fight among our fellow gamers because these are people who think like us and want to spend hours playing pretend, especially in this world of instant gratification computer games and movies at our fingertips.