Can roleplaying help people?
All of us who game know how a good game can make us feel. Like all hobbies, participation in gaming makes us happy. Being made happy can make us forget our troubles, and particularly role-playing has the power to inspire us to become stronger, smarter, and more active, much like how ancient Greek stories inspired the B.C.E Greeks to emulate heroes such as Perseus and Odysseus.
So with that power to distract and inspire, I thought to myself: how can gaming actively and directly help people? Immediately, children with terminal or chronic illness came to mind, especially the older children (teens and college "kids").
I was thinking: some times these people have to spend weeks in the hospital, with no one to talk to and no one to do anything with. Even reading can be a chore, since chemo I hear can make your eye-sight blurry. Being in a roleplaying game could potentially make someone in a dire situation feel better, even if only for a few hours. If they really got into it, they could spend their time in the hospital building characters, writing backgrounds, or preparing for the next session.
I was thinking about putting up a Fundly or Kickstarter (Fundly, more than likely) for such a project, like Murky's Kids or something. I would got to hospitals on Wednesdays, maybe with a few friends, and run Pathfinder campaigns with teens and young adults that are staying for the long haul. The Fundly monies would be used mostly to pay for gas and compensate my friends for their time: everything else we need is either in our heads or available at our city library.
I feel as though I need to do something useful with this hobby of mine. What could be better than making someone happy?
How do y'all feel? Is this naïve and silly? Will kids who are really sick have no interest in playing? If a terminally ill patient's character dies, will I really hurt that player? Would I just be a pest? Let me know in the comments.