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So this is how you and your friends start playing role-playing games

Captain CarrotCaptain Carrot Alexandria, VARegistered User regular
edited January 2011 in Critical Failures
Entering the world of pretending to be a mysterious elven mage:

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You get the idea.

These are role-playing games: you get people together, and you have fun writing your story. One of these people needs to be the Dungeon Master or Game Master, the person who runs the sessions. In order to do this, you need to understand how your setting works, both the physical place where the characters will be playing, and the ruleset you'll be using. And there are lots of these available, some for free on the Internet and some for purchase online and/or in actual, constructed stores. The GM or DM also needs to come up with a plot for the players to follow, either purchased, obtained somewhere or written on your own. Again, you can find lots of these for free (although ripping off a book or movie your players are familiar with is not likely to go well).

Wait, hold on. First of all, how do I find people to play with?

Well, there's this forum, for starters. There should also be groups at your local gaming store(s), should you have any, and you probably will if you look. Some organize entirely online, and you could even ask your friends if they want to try.

Okay, I've got a group, now what do I do?

Now you pick what you want to play. And there are a lot of options, yes. You can play stuff set in the medieval fantasy of D&D, or you can play the grim dark of future war, or various other options. There isn't any right or wrong, it's all up to what you and the other players are in the mood for. Maybe you want to kill lots of monsters with warhammers and fireballs, or maybe you want to become a vampire (if you are a Twilight fan, sorry, you cannot actually do this in real life), or maybe you want to slip through an intricate web of lies and intrigue yadda yadda yadda. You get the point.

Okay, got that done, now what?

Well, you generate your characters. Each person who wants to play needs pretty much two things: a character concept, and a character sheet. The character concept is who you're pretending to be, which obviously has to be tailored to the setting – you can't be a wizard in a game without magic, for example. Apart from that, it's all up to you, similar to choosing the setting in the first place. In many systems, the concept will be restrained by what the system will let you do; for another example, Dungeons and Dragons has a class system, and you have to be one (or more, but initially one) of those classes. (Okay, there's also homebrew and such, but let's not get into that.) Then you use that concept and fill out the sheet that that system uses. You might have to pick stats, saves, powers, feats, skills, aspects, etc. This part really depends on what ruleset you're using, so you'll have to read the relevant book(s).

So how do we start playing?

You, and everyone else, will have to decide what method you'll use for that. If you all know each other in real life, you might spend a few hours every Saturday night at someone's house, or an available room in a public building, or the abovementioned local game store. If not, then the major options are text chat, where you'll be playing in real time, voice chat, same deal, or Play by Post, where you'll post what your character does and the DM will say what happens in your imaginary world after that. There's no right way, it's just a matter of what you want to do and what suits everyone's schedules and preferences best.

Ack! I'm the DM! What do I dooo?!

First of all, calm down. Breathe. You good? All right, let's start. As mentioned above, you have to devise a plot, and if you have no players yet, you might advertise for some with teasers about that plot and details about the setting and rules (i.e. “D&D second edition, low magic, no halflings because they're dumb and I hate them”). If this is your first time running a campaign, you may want to buy or find a premade module, and most (if not all) rulebooks come with one or two precisely for that reason. Either way, it'll be your job to figure out how the world reacts to the players' actions: what the other characters, the ones not controlled by the players, say and do, how their plans change or stay the same in consequence, and so on. Keep in mind that there's no one right way to do this, and as long as everyone's happy and having fun, you're cool. If people are having problems, it largely falls on you to find out why and resolve the situation, and I'm sure that mature, responsible adults can accomplish that.

I want to play, but I'm broke. Is there any way to do this without shelling out cash?

Actually, yes. Some books are free, like Basic GURPS (Generic Universal Role-playing System) [though that's quite limited, and you may run into some issues running a campaign] and D20 Modern, which is what I'll be using on the campaign I'll be GMing soon. There are also plenty of adventures available for free online. Take a look!

I don't see anything in these books about winning. How do I win Dungeons and Dragons?

It's not about beating a game, like in Halo, Half Life 2, or Dragon Age. It's about a shared story and experience. Or just about smashing the shit out of goblins, if you prefer. Either way, you don't really win. You just play. You pretend to be someone else, engaging in heroism, villainy, or trying to stay alive and make your way in the world. And if that doesn't sound like fun to you, that's okay, this might not be the hobby for you.

Captain Carrot on

Posts

  • MarshmallowMarshmallow Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    I had always assumed the funny shaped dice were ammunition.

    Guess I better put my slingshot away if I want to be a proper GM.

    Marshmallow on
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  • FaranguFarangu I am a beardy man With a beardy planRegistered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Correction: If things aren't flying through the air, you're not a proper GM. :D

    Farangu on
  • MarshmallowMarshmallow Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    I like to think I've left an indelible mark on each of my players.

    Or indelible marks, rather.

    Them gamescience dice got mighty fine edges on em, coincidentally.

    Marshmallow on
    9l2rdaimg4tb.png
  • TheOtherHorsemanTheOtherHorseman Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    How to win an RPG depends on what your role is. If you are a player, your goal is to somehow utterly destroy the plot and scenarios laid before you by the DM within the bounds of the rules.

    This may be something as simple as glimpsing a family portrait while raiding a hostile facility and intimidating the villain into surrendering with multiple critical successes in a row by threatening to slowly murder his family (heroically?), and maybe on the way out you accidentally shoot him because he was meant to be a recurring villain.

    If you are the DM, your goal is to cause psychological anguish. Make sure that the best choice for the players to make is the wrong choice, the single thing that will lead to ruin and panic. As a back-up plan, have all the other possible choices also be the single things that will lead to ruin and panic. Let their string of failures culminate in an epic confrontation with the main villain which they fail by the narrowest and most unsatisfying of margins just as his or her plan for cosmic annihilation kicks in and the stars begin to wink out slowly and without fanfare, as you whisper an epilogue which consists of their friends and family starving and freezing to death in a world of ice and shadow.

    that is how to win rpg's

    play to win

    TheOtherHorseman on
  • EdcrabEdcrab Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Hah, you might joke, but I've known plenty of players/GM who really have that attitude!

    As pretentious as it might be, the WoD angle of calling the GM a "Storyteller" at least points out the system's focus. Above all the intention of any RP session should be the group's enjoyment. Whether that involves a narrativist, gamist, or simulationist approach is a matter of taste.

    When the GM starts playing at being an angry god or a player puts their character's level progression above and beyond the party, then things get silly and produce fodder for a million "bad RP experience" threads across a thousand forums.

    Edcrab on
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  • OptimusZedOptimusZed Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Farangu wrote: »
    Correction: If things aren't flying through the air, you're not a proper GM. :D
    That's why they give you the shield.

    Screen.jpg

    For the cover bonuses.

    OptimusZed on
    We're reading Rifts. You should too. You know you want to. Now With Ninjas!

    They tried to bury us. They didn't know that we were seeds. 2018 Midterms. Get your shit together.
  • Captain CarrotCaptain Carrot Alexandria, VARegistered User regular
    edited January 2011
    That's only half cover, though. His head and shoulders are still exposed.

    Captain Carrot on
  • OptimusZedOptimusZed Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    It's something, though. You can always duck down to make it full cover.

    But if you're feeling truly besieged, you might need to upgrade.

    dungeons-and-dragons-d-d-dungeon-master-castle-screen_390269345833.jpg

    OptimusZed on
    We're reading Rifts. You should too. You know you want to. Now With Ninjas!

    They tried to bury us. They didn't know that we were seeds. 2018 Midterms. Get your shit together.
  • The EnderThe Ender Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    That's only half cover, though. His head and shoulders are still exposed.

    A 5+ save is better than no save.


    Also, there are a few RPGs on the market now for those players who want a combative experience, where you really can 'win the game' (most of them are indie PoD games).

    The Ender on
    With Love and Courage
  • AriviaArivia Registered User
    edited January 2011
    I didn't think Twilight Imperium was an RPG.

    Interesting thread, Carrot!

    Arivia on
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  • The EnderThe Ender Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Arivia wrote: »
    I didn't think Twilight Imperium was an RPG.

    Interesting thread, Carrot!

    The board game is better known... and, well...


    The RPG sucks.

    The Ender on
    With Love and Courage
  • nefffffffffffnefffffffffff Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Oh man I keep trying to find an IRL group to play some rpgs with, to no avail. All my play by post attempts die by stagnation.

    nefffffffffff on
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  • VanguardVanguard Just float along and fill your lungs Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    edited January 2011
    I recently found a group by just talking to some guy in the Compleat Strategist. Playing a LN Half-Orc Monk. Also, this is probably the first time I'm not going to be DMing the game in like 4 or 5 years.

    Vanguard on
  • nefffffffffffnefffffffffff Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    On that note, anybody in the Seattle area interested in forming a group, or have a group that has some space?

    nefffffffffff on
    camo_sig2.png
  • The EnderThe Ender Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Having gone over quite a few of the old book in my RPG collection recently, I can't help but notice that so many of them are terribly organized. Even the D&D 3.5 PHB I have such fond memories of using is pretty poor.


    What are some of the best laid-out game books people have read?

    The Ender on
    With Love and Courage
  • MatevMatev Cero Miedo Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    On that note, anybody in the Seattle area interested in forming a group, or have a group that has some space?

    I'd love to, just need to find more people and figure out what people wanna play...

    Matev on
    "Go down, kick ass, and set yourselves up as gods, that's our Prime Directive!"
    Hail Hydra
  • Jam WarriorJam Warrior Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    OptimusZed wrote: »
    Farangu wrote: »
    Correction: If things aren't flying through the air, you're not a proper GM. :D
    That's why they give you the shield.

    Screen.jpg

    For the cover bonuses.

    'Dungeons and Drag' eh? I think that's a whole different kind of 'roleplay' territory in that game :winky:

    Jam Warrior on
    TingleSigBar.gif
  • MarshmallowMarshmallow Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    He also appears to be wearing a robe.

    Dedicated.

    Marshmallow on
    9l2rdaimg4tb.png
  • OptimusZedOptimusZed Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    He also appears to be wearing a robe.

    Dedicated.
    That robe was actually made for Troy Denning to wear at ComicCon.

    The guy wearing it in that picture was an editor for TSR, I believe.

    Hopefully that puts the image in context.

    OptimusZed on
    We're reading Rifts. You should too. You know you want to. Now With Ninjas!

    They tried to bury us. They didn't know that we were seeds. 2018 Midterms. Get your shit together.
  • SolarSolar Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    I remember one night we were playing DnD and there was a power cut, so we kept playing by candelight and I wrapped myself in a big blanket which went over my head as a robe. Morvyn "The Magnificent" Callahar destroyed many a foe with his arcane might that fell eve.

    it was pretty awesome.

    Solar on
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