Role-playing can be, like acting, that particular strange mix of enervating and energizing. You do it, it gives you a thrill, but you feel a bit wrung-out afterwards. And that’s not surprising! You’ve been performing, and performing improv no less, in front of a bunch of people for a few hours. We never do warm up exercises before a game,1 or anything like that.
We do have some scaffolding, at least: rules and fortune mechanics do a good job of helping us particularly at those moments when we throw up our hands and say “who knows?” We have games like Ben Lehman’s Hot Guys Making Out that wisely exhort us to give ourselves a moment to think.2 We have a small and intensely sympathetic audience. But it can still be hard.