I’ve been writing for the Tabletop Hell blog a couple of months now, bringing you closer to the amazing world of boardgames. I love boardgames, a lot, but my true passion have always been playing Role Playing Games (RPG’s). So, when Tabletop Hell started making changes (the biggest being posting articles about various card games), it was time to bring RPG’s into the fold.
And here we are! The first post about RPG’s has come! And I couldn’t be more glad! My first experience with a RPG game has been when I was about thirteen years old. My brother took me to a bookstore that sold a lot of different games and books, and there I was introduced to a game called Palladium Fantasy Roleplay! After picking up a copy, I gathered my friends and we played our first game! That was the moment that hooked me on RPG’s forever.
Many gamers out there know what Role Playing Games are about and how they are played, but for those that don’t or haven’t had much experience with them let me explain a little. A RPG is a game like no other. Every RPG is a game of imagination, acting, improvisation and of course, having a great time with your friends. Not only that, but RPG’s can bring people closer. I met many interesting people while playing with different groups. It is pretty hard not to have fun while playing these kind of games.
But what is it really about? Role Playing Games are played by a group of people (usually 3 to 7, but larger groups have managed to get by) that get together to tell amazing stories. It works like this, every player except one gets to create a character. This character is a sort of an alter ego that you would like to act out in the story. Depending on the game that you will be playing or the kind of story that you will be telling, the character can be very different. If you are playing a fantasy game, you could play a noble knight, a strong barbarian and even a powerful mage or sorcerer. In a sci-fi game, you could be playing a cyborg, or an alien bounty hunter. Maybe you prefer playing horror type games in which you would play desperate survivors that have to shoot their way out of ravenous hordes of zombies and other kind of nasty things. The only limit in a RPG is your imagination.
The characters are usually created by writing down important stuff on a piece of paper known as the “Character Sheet“. These sheets can hold important information about the character that you will be playing like natural abilities (like how strong or agile your character is, is he smart, how good looking and so on), learned skills (what is your character good at, swinging swords, picking locks, climbing and running, does he swim like a fish, can he forge weapons and armor), basic info (like the character’s race, name, gender and so on), and so on, depending on the game that you are playing.
The player that doesn’t get to create a character has a different role. He will become the “Game Master“. As a Game Master he will be responsible for creating the story, creating the characters that the rest of the players will come across. He will create the dangers and monsters that they will battle and the quests that they must face. In different games, this title is called differently (Storyteller, Dungeon Master, Master Operator, Loremaster…) but if you say Game Master, almost everyone will know what you are talking about.
Being the Game Master (GM) is no easy task, but it can also be the most rewarding. You see, GM’s are artists of a sort, making up incredible stories and worlds, populating them with inhabitants and fitting everything together, it’s a lot like writing a book. Of course, not every GM will be a famous writer and that is ok. The most important role that a GM has, is to make the game a fun experience for everyone involved.
It’s alright to “borrow” ideas from movies, books, comics and shows. It’s ok to tell stories that have already been told, because this time you as the players get to relive it and shape the way that it is going to unfold. And this is the true beauty of RPG games, there are no limitations, no boundaries! The DM makes up the story, but the players are the heroes in it, and they will decide which road to take and what battles to fight! Imagine if Boromir took the ring from Frodo, or if Darth Vader didn’t cross over to the dark side, what would happen? Together the DM and the players make the game incredible!
I told you many things but I didn’t tell you how you actually play a Role Playing Game. Each RPG has a set of rules, that are presented to you in the form of big rulebooks. I say big, because these books are really big and they have a lot of reading to them. But don’t worry, RPG books are not like regular books, you don’t have to read them from cover to cover. You usually start by reading the rules for character creation and for some basic rules and you take it slowly from there, as your game progresses.
And your game will progress! RPG games don’t really have an end like boardgames and card games. The story can always go on and, in most RPG’s, your characters will progress and level up, showing that they have come a long way from when you started playing. RPG gaming groups usually meet once per week and play for about four hours (sometimes longer, sometimes shorter) during which only a part of the story unfolds, leaving you wanting for more when it ends! It’s sort of like watching an exciting television show, I guess.
I hope that this was a fun introduction into the RPG world for you. Believe me, one could write indefinitely about these games, but we have to stop somewhere, at least for this post. I believe they will be a great addition to the Tabletop Hell blog.