Leadership: The Role-Playing Game

Leadership: The Role-Playing Game

We all have a gamer friend if we are not one ourselves. Those that the best thing you can ever gift them is a game console. People like Alexander Roth – the gamer, in A Gamer’s Day (2005) movie, who see themselves as part of the games they play and are interested in nothing else but the game.

My gamer friend – Mufasa, introduced me to Role-Playing Games (RPGs) – specifically Dungeons and Dragons (D&D). We spent all our Friday nights religiously playing Sword Coast Legends on Xbox One like the D&D aficionados guiding heroes through quests for treasure, battles with deadly foes and daring rescues. This encounter with RPGs gave me that ‘click’ I was searching for. The epiphany. That one thing for my perspective – something relative to leadership.

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” - John Quincy Adams

There are many different opinions on what makes a leader. I believe everyone in their capacity has exercised leadership, at least if they ever played a game - an RPG to be exact.

Leadership to me is the Live-Action Role-Playing Game (LARP) and just like it, the actions taken by the Player Characters (PCs) within the game setting determines if they earn a black or a white belt - according to a formal system of rules by the Game Master (GM) or game engine.

I have spent a better part of my life trying to discover leadership. I have stood up for every opportunity of leading that comes my way. I can give a lengthy lecture on what it means to be in leadership. I try my best to, at least, lead my life - I have had control of my education, physical and emotional health, finances, and relations! All of these I have done, but there is one thing. One more thing, that I am yet to explore - how to master this game - leadership.

Game Mastery

I believe I am speaking to sharp minds – let’s explore!

Birth of Exploration by Olie Boldador

“Mastery is achieved by understanding the game system, using it fully and correctly, excelling in operation within the system, and assuring that the experience is enjoyable for all the individuals concerned.” – Gary Gygax (1987)

Gary Gygax in his book Role-Playing Mastery (1987) gave the steps that must be taken on the path to becoming a master player. I follow suit. To become a master leader, you need to:

1. Understand the rules of the game

“Understanding is the foundation of mastery.” The rules are the game mechanics that determine the outcome of a PC’s in-game actions.

Tabletop RPGs (TRPGs) like D&D have the basic rules of the game. These rules provide the guidance on how to create a character including information on various races, classes, backgrounds, equipment and other customization options; details on activities in the game: exploration, interaction and combat; the nature of magic in the D&D world: rules of spellcasting, and typical spells available to the PCs; and tools for the Dungeon master including information and stat blocks for monsters, advice for building combat encounters and magic items.

In leadership, there are The Ten Golden Rules of Leadership – Panos Mourdoukoutas condensed them here

These rules are:

  • Know Thyself
  • Office Shows the Person
  • Nurture Community in The Workplace
  • Do Not Waste Energy on Things You Cannot Change
  • Always Embrace Truth
  • Let Competition Reveal Talent
  • Live by A Higher Code
  • Always Evaluate Information with A Critical Eye
  • Never Underestimate the Power of Personal Integrity
  • Character Is Destiny

In D&D, each creature’s ability has a score – a measure of innate capabilities including its training and competence in activities relating to the ability. Leadership score can be measured by how well one understands the above rules. These rules are the ability modifiers, they affect almost every “attack roll,” “ability check,” and “saving throw” of a PC – the leader in this case.

Successful leaders know their roles, what they want and devise ways to achieve them. They know themselves by developing inner clarity and understanding their strengths and weaknesses. It is from this know-how – knowledge about the PC, that they can “combat the monsters” and “conduct daring rescues”.

Real leadership is always embracing the truth and not wasting time on things that cannot change. It is the urge to focus on nurturing the community by providing the right support, guidance and incentives. It is when the leader gives room for constructive competition, exhibit a higher standard of personal code of conduct – not window-dressing, and critic information with utmost caution.

In the fantasy world, possibilities are limitless. So is in leadership. Being conversant with the rules enables a leader to lead right - act right, for the right reason(s), and at the right time.

RPGs - long stereotyped as the provenance of geeky shut-ins, should have a moment. Leave no stone unturned in mastering your leadership play!

[To be continued in Part 2 stay tuned]

A leader in making, 𝒯𝒾𝓃ℯℊ𝒶𝒞𝒽𝓇𝒾𝓈

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