When I was a kid, my family lived about twenty minutes out of town. We drove in for school and church, of course, but the distance limited most other trips to few and far between. Among other things, this meant that when I was introduced to text-based role-playing in the mid 2000’s, I took to it with a wild abandon.
I learned how to role-play on a Redwall fansite called Terrouge. It was part ezine and part forums, and in addition to being the place where I met a number of my dearest friends, it’s at least partially to thank (or perhaps blame) for my love of writing. It certainly did nothing to dissuade it.
For those who aren’t familiar, text-based role-playing (or RPing for short) is when you and a bunch of other people make up your own characters and proceed to write about all the trouble they get into together. At least, that was how we did it on Terrouge and the Vulpine Imperium, our sister site.
Being a pair of literary minded communities, we did it pretty well, too. Our posts were often long and descriptive. Our characters were usually fun and complicated. We were hardly perfect, of course, and a lot of us were young and still learning to write well, but you can only spend so much time playing with words before you figure out a thing or two.
I haven’t RPed seriously for a few years now, and most of the sites I used to haunt have gone quiet or faded altogether. Visiting the ones that are still up feels a little like going back to your hometown and finding that the house you grew up in has been abandoned. Your family is still around and doing well, and so are the friends you grew up with. It’s just the house that time left behind to turn grey and gather dust. The quiet is a little eerie and a little sad, but only because the memories are so rich and vibrant.