Trask Versus Player Character Skills: A Gamer Tries Character Skills In Real Life

I begin a new series tonight where I, Trask, shed the familiar cloak of  tabletop role-playing curmudgeon  and share my attempts, both past and present to learn PC skills in real life.  PC skills are the standard things Trask-Tyromancer-Character-Portrait-WebVersion almost every RPG gamer chose for his skill list at least once.  Every D&D players chose “pick locks” at least once in their gaming careers. Palladium Rift’s players always take boxing or athletics or climbing or swimming to bump up their survivability.  Most importantly, just about every game has a small arms skill. I intend to report my experiences  attempting each of these skills in the real world.

This project actually began last year when I found myself wondering how I, Trask the blogger,  might fare as a PC. After a bit of thought I realized I did not have enough real world experience with several “standard” PC skills to really come up with a valid answer. Not that I live in my mother’s basement, I just had never tried several skills players often choose for their PCs.  It boils down to this; how much of my PCs  are me and how much is wishful thinking?

So I came up with a list based on local availability and cost. For example, I  wanted to add race car driving to the list, but the local tracks charge a fortune for a half-day NASCAR experience. Yikes. Need to save up for that one.

Fortunately I live in Arizona, so opportunities to  try my hand at many other  skills are readily available.


Climbing gyms popped up everywhere over the past few years, so this one is easy to get done.

Martial Arts

Though I tried Karate as a child, it was many years ago and there was too much focus on bowing and “forms” (ie choreography) for me to really get into it. RPG  martial arts are all about hitting something and it either breaks or dies. With this in mind, I decided to try Krav Maga for its supposed simplicity and focus on doing real damage. It may all be marketing smoke and mirrors, but it does look good on the website! Krav Maga is from Israel and that appeals to me. I spent two years working in Japan and embracing the culture. The bow/honor your sensei /inner light crap from Eastern martial arts holds no allure for me…and  I look awful in a gi


Crossfit. Any gym that reputedly kills people  and has a “cult-like” atmosphere sounds like a great place to start.


It is amazing what you can buy on the internet these days….

Small Arms

A gun club fits the bill nicely.

Wilderness Survival

Other than making a lunch date with Les Stroud, this one is tough to actually get done. I may take a survival course or just try something like starting a fire with friction.  I am open to suggestions.

Obstacle Course Race

I plan to run a 6-mile obstacle course race put on by Mud, big walls and barbed wire are just what every PC longs for! This may change based on my availability and scheduling, but I really want to do this one.

As a 42 year-old male in reasonable health I know I can do all of these things, but I want to be able to sit down at a table and actually win an RPG rules argument by saying “When I did it…” Besides, it will be a blast!


And so it begins!


Trask, The Last Tyromancer






Trask is a long-time gamer, world traveler and history buff. He hopes that his scribblings will both inform and advance gaming as a hobby.

5 thoughts on “Trask Versus Player Character Skills: A Gamer Tries Character Skills In Real Life

    • March 31, 2014 at 7:54 am

      For some reason, I just skipped that you lived in AZ. Go figure.

  • June 29, 2014 at 8:41 pm

    Regarding Wilderness Survival, I got this one myself, while in boy scouts in various camps, but you can get it with enough effort. Look online for a list of merit badges, then check out all the applicable skills and actually do all of those merit badges. Free copies of the books are available if you look online, and they include information and practical challenges to beef up your skill. Girl-scouts have something similar. It may be best to actually join a troop for a few events as a leader and teach the merit badges, but that isn’t hard to do. There is actually a wilderness survival merit badge. It involves literally “Improvise a natural shelter. For the purpose of this demonstration, use techniques that have little negative impact on the environment. Spend a night in your shelter.” I did this part twice. I learned you don’t need much of a shelter if you have a couple pairs of pants and 5 or 6 long-sleeve shirts.

    This actually applies to almost all role-play skills.

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