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Teach me about Roleplaying games

japanjapan Registered User regular
edited March 2007 in Critical Failures
I'm going to be getting involved in a regular game of Vampire: The Requiem, but I've never really played PnP roleplaying games before. I play 40K occasionally, but that's about the limit of my tabletop experience. My knowledge of the WoD universe mostly comes from playing Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines, and I understand that there are differences between V:tM and V:tR.

I have a (borrowed) copy of the V:tR core book, and I've read up on the whole Clan/Covenant system and a fair amount of the setting information. I've even rolled up a character with the aid of the Storyteller and another player, which I'm happy with and they're happy with.

What I really would like to know is the other stuff; what should I expect from the game, is there an etiquette involved, etc. Really, this is a "what did you wish you knew when you started playing roleplaying games" thread, or conversely "what do you wish new players knew or understood about roleplaying games."

Any advice?

japan on

Posts

  • GaddezGaddez Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    Things to do when you are new to a role playing game:

    1: Read the Source book so you know some of your shit. This not only includes having an Idea of how the mechanics of the game work, but you'll also have a better grasp of the atmosphere of the game, and be able to make and pay an appropriate character.

    2: Avoid being "Das uber". People who build utter god moded characters are the ones that most swiftly wear out the patience of the gm and the other players.

    Gaddez on
    Richy wrote: »
    But I think the resistance I’m getting more has to do with “rawr! Loklar said it! Rage!” than anything else.

    No, it has to do with the fact that you're done nothing but throw lies, blatant flasehoods, and downright dumb statements at us so far.
  • LeumasWhiteLeumasWhite New ZealandRegistered User regular
    edited February 2007
    Gaddez has it. Regarding other players and characters: just make sure people are happy with what's going on, and if you're unsure, ask them. Just don't be a dick, really.

    Oh, and try not to twink out. Storyteller system breaks pretty hard once you start pushing at it.

    LeumasWhite on
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  • japanjapan Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    I'm definitely not playing a combat monster, my character is (deliberately) newly embraced. The thinking is that I can more easily play a character whose motivations still come from his human sense of morality. I'll be picking disciplines and the like based on advice from the Storyteller, since he knows the game inside out.

    japan on
  • SquashuaSquashua __BANNED USERS regular
    edited February 2007
    japan wrote: »
    I'm going to be getting involved in a regular game of Vampire: The Requiem

    Any advice?

    Yeah; don't get caught up in one system/one genre.

    Make sure to broaden your horizons.

    I see way too many gamers caught up in D20 and more specifically D&D to give even the most remote thought to (1) trying a different game systems (2) trying a different game setting or (3) god-forbid trying a different GAMEMASTER/Storyteller/Narrator/Friend Computer.

    There are better systems and there are better games.

    From my own poor (read: bad) experience with any WoD product, and most of the snooty-insular gamer personalities that go with it, I wish you luck and to have an open mind.

    As a new gamer; always ask questions.

    Squashua on
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  • japanjapan Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    The people I'm playing with are all people I know reasonably well, and there were other systems considered. We're all starting this together, with all-new characters and a new setting, so I'm not walking into a chronicle that's been running for a while.

    We went with Vampire because none of us really wanted to play a combat-oriented game which seems, based on my admittedly limited experience, to be the case with D&D and D20 modern.

    We all seem to share a similar vision of how we want the game to go, so I'm hoping we'll be able to avoid any personal conflicts and rules-lawyering.

    japan on
  • SquashuaSquashua __BANNED USERS regular
    edited February 2007
    japan wrote: »
    The people I'm playing with are all people I know reasonably well, and there were other systems considered. We're all starting this together, with all-new characters and a new setting, so I'm not walking into a chronicle that's been running for a while.

    We went with Vampire because none of us really wanted to play a combat-oriented game which seems, based on my admittedly limited experience, to be the case with D&D and D20 modern.

    We all seem to share a similar vision of how we want the game to go, so I'm hoping we'll be able to avoid any personal conflicts and rules-lawyering.

    Any game is combat-oriented depending on what the Narrator (who I will refer to as the GM) throws at you.

    You can easily have a perfectly non-combat game in any D20 system setting just as easily as you can have a 100% combat game in Vampire.

    The one thing that really makes the game is your GM. The GM will throw clues your way and if there is a 100 orcs army in the way, maybe you find a way to use diplomacy.

    Of course, outside of gaming conventions, there has never been a GM that I've played with that hasn't resorted to combat. It's why I usually GM; we play Cthulhu.

    Squashua on
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  • japanjapan Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    Oh, I know there will be combat. As far as I understand it, the idea is to run a game where it's possible to have a character whose stats aren't entirely centred around combat abilities and still have fun. This appears to be a particular bugbear of one of the players and the GM, along with teenage goths who are only interested in playing themselves with vampiric superpowers.

    Cthulhu was considered, but I know nothing about it. We'll probably switch about every so often.

    The vibe I'm getting here is that everybody needs to be enjoying themselves or the game won't work, which seems pretty self-evident.

    japan on
  • NerissaNerissa Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    Squashua wrote: »
    You can easily have a perfectly non-combat game in any D20 system setting just as easily as you can have a 100% combat game in Vampire.
    Yes, but...

    Some systems are designed more with an eye toward combat while others are designed with an eye toward other things.

    If you pick up a core D&D rule book, for example, (especially pre-3.0) it appears as if non-combat solutions are an afterthought. Storyteller system is designed to be more flexible, and handles non-combat situations better. (i.e. the GM doesn't have to work as hard to make the rules fit the situation)

    Nerissa on
    Personally, I like D&D because I find OCD much more interesting than ADD.
  • ReynoldsReynolds Raving Rabbit Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    If you want the game to run for more than a few sessios, make sure everyone can clear their schedule off that one day. And I don't think I could be more in Squashua's camp.

    Reynolds on
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  • SquashuaSquashua __BANNED USERS regular
    edited February 2007
    Reynolds wrote: »
    And I don't think I could be more in Squashua's camp.

    If you wake up with vaseline around your rim, don't tell anyone, 'kay?

    Squashua on
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  • DeVryGuyDeVryGuy Registered User
    edited February 2007
    1. Learn to speak in turn. I can't stress this enough. It sucks when everyone starts shouting their actions at once, especially with a larger group, because no one will be able to get a word in edgewise, and the storyteller will get confused and start missing things. Exception: Your character is interrupting someone else's character on purpose.

    2. Do anything you can to help your Storyteller/GM. This might be arranging tables, handing out pencils/paper to everyone, offering to be bookkeeper or taking care of ordering initiative. The person running the game has enough on their plate, so help them out whenever you can.

    3. Let the little things go. Sometimes a rule gets misinterpreted and you get screwed as a result, or someone says something that pisses you off a little bit. Let it go. The less time you spend arguing the more time you can spend playing and having fun.

    4. Have as much done ahead of time as you possibly can. I don't know how it works in vampire, but if you are going to have to make character build decisions mid-session at some point, it'll help a lot if you made those decisions prior to the session so you can just jot down the level up adjustments and start playing again.

    If you ever become a GM/Storyteller:
    5. In the event of a fuzzy ruling, always favor your player. The NPCs won't complain if they get slighted.

    6. Don't confuse "advantageous" with "unbalancing". A lot of GMs try to maintain such scrupulous control of their world that the players can't do anything fun or different because the GM doesn't want to have to deal with it, and they start throwing out the word "overpowered" and "unbalancing". If you PCs want to do something that is within the rules of the game, then try and find a way to let them do it unless it's something like Pun Pun, the Mighty Kobold or Buster, the 200-guard dog wizard. (hee :D)

    7. Cartoons/Anime are a great source of inspiration for adventures/plots. Most themes can be ported to just about any setting given the right touches.

    DeVryGuy on
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  • DeVryGuyDeVryGuy Registered User
    edited February 2007
    Squashua wrote: »
    Any game is combat-oriented depending on what the Narrator (who I will refer to as the GM) throws at you.

    You can easily have a perfectly non-combat game in any D20 system setting just as easily as you can have a 100% combat game in Vampire.

    The one thing that really makes the game is your GM. The GM will throw clues your way and if there is a 100 orcs army in the way, maybe you find a way to use diplomacy.

    My PCs managed to talk a goddamn angel into betraying his divine mandate to protect a dangerous relic. Granted, since they didn't kill him they didn't get to loot his +1 Holy Undead Bane Cold Iron sword, but still.

    And they did end up using a suggestion spell, which the Angel failed horribly.

    DeVryGuy on
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  • ReynoldsReynolds Raving Rabbit Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    http://video.google.ca/videoplay?docid=-5825493270005637835

    "Lord Squashua, you have a very hospitable posterior."

    Reynolds on
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  • LeumasWhiteLeumasWhite New ZealandRegistered User regular
    edited February 2007
    Adding onto the GM advice: http://www.io.com/~sjohn/plots.htm - this is recockulously useful when you're stuck for ideas.

    But yeah, there's a pile of different games out there if you find yourself hating Storyteller. My current favourite is Spirit of the Century, just because dinosaurs in jetplanes with rayguns is a perfectly viable plot point.

    LeumasWhite on
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  • japanjapan Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    DeVryGuy wrote: »
    3. Let the little things go. Sometimes a rule gets misinterpreted and you get screwed as a result, or someone says something that pisses you off a little bit. Let it go. The less time you spend arguing the more time you can spend playing and having fun.

    I'd be tempted to introduce "The Hand of Fate" rule from 40K for these. The gist of it is: In any situation where you spend longer than a couple of minutes arguing about the interpretation of a rule, agree on the two most likely outcomes, then roll a die to determine which one happens.

    I don't know how well this would work though, given that the GM's word is supposed to be the final arbiter in roleplaying.

    japan on
  • LeumasWhiteLeumasWhite New ZealandRegistered User regular
    edited February 2007
    japan wrote: »
    DeVryGuy wrote: »
    3. Let the little things go. Sometimes a rule gets misinterpreted and you get screwed as a result, or someone says something that pisses you off a little bit. Let it go. The less time you spend arguing the more time you can spend playing and having fun.

    I'd be tempted to introduce "The Hand of Fate" rule from 40K for these. The gist of it is: In any situation where you spend longer than a couple of minutes arguing about the interpretation of a rule, agree on the two most likely outcomes, then roll a die to determine which one happens.

    I don't know how well this would work though, given that the GM's word is supposed to be the final arbiter in roleplaying.

    The one I go with is "GM decides on the spot, then checks the rulebook later". If it was something critical, give the people who lost out a bit of a boost next session.

    LeumasWhite on
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  • DeVryGuyDeVryGuy Registered User
    edited February 2007
    japan wrote: »
    DeVryGuy wrote: »
    3. Let the little things go. Sometimes a rule gets misinterpreted and you get screwed as a result, or someone says something that pisses you off a little bit. Let it go. The less time you spend arguing the more time you can spend playing and having fun.

    I'd be tempted to introduce "The Hand of Fate" rule from 40K for these. The gist of it is: In any situation where you spend longer than a couple of minutes arguing about the interpretation of a rule, agree on the two most likely outcomes, then roll a die to determine which one happens.

    I don't know how well this would work though, given that the GM's word is supposed to be the final arbiter in roleplaying.

    The one I go with is "GM decides on the spot, then checks the rulebook later". If it was something critical, give the people who lost out a bit of a boost next session.

    That's generally what I try to do, but some GMs are overly... democratic about the whole process.

    DeVryGuy on
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  • SquashuaSquashua __BANNED USERS regular
    edited February 2007
    Adding onto the GM advice: http://www.io.com/~sjohn/plots.htm - this is recockulously useful when you're stuck for ideas.

    Ah, Sjohn. Hilarity ensued.

    Squashua on
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  • i am sam yuei am sam yue __BANNED USERS
    edited February 2007
    hey guys, can i touch ur ball sacks?

    i am sam yue on
  • LeumasWhiteLeumasWhite New ZealandRegistered User regular
    edited February 2007
    Squashua wrote: »
    Adding onto the GM advice: http://www.io.com/~sjohn/plots.htm - this is recockulously useful when you're stuck for ideas.

    Ah, Sjohn. Hilarity ensued.

    Is that good or bad hilarity? I'm not familiar with the dude, just that document.

    LeumasWhite on
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  • SquashuaSquashua __BANNED USERS regular
    edited February 2007
    Squashua wrote: »
    Adding onto the GM advice: http://www.io.com/~sjohn/plots.htm - this is recockulously useful when you're stuck for ideas.

    Ah, Sjohn. Hilarity ensued.

    Is that good or bad hilarity? I'm not familiar with the dude, just that document.

    S. John Ross.
    Wrote a ton of Steve Jackson Games GURPS stuff among other things.
    And got booted off their SJG Pyramid boards for some reason or other.
    I believe he badmouthed something or had a spaz attack or was just generally mean. I dunno. In any case, he also edited Pyramid for a stint.

    Very amusing dude.

    He'd fit in well in SE++.

    Squashua on
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  • GaddezGaddez Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    I got another one:

    Bring food and Drinks. Seriously, If everyone chips in for a large pizza or somthing then you'll have one less thing to distract you and it will also make the evening a little more social.

    Gaddez on
    Richy wrote: »
    But I think the resistance I’m getting more has to do with “rawr! Loklar said it! Rage!” than anything else.

    No, it has to do with the fact that you're done nothing but throw lies, blatant flasehoods, and downright dumb statements at us so far.
  • OtakuD00DOtakuD00D Can I hit the exploding rocks? San DiegoRegistered User regular
    edited March 2007
    Live by these. Die by these.
    http://theglen.livejournal.com/16735.html

    OtakuD00D on
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  • FrowbakkFrowbakk Registered User regular
    edited March 2007
    Invent an in-character quirk. Something to identify yourself when taling in character, and when you're talking out of character.

    Example: The Mage in the Dragonlance series of books came completely from the portayal of one gamer who spoke in a sickly whisper while roleplaying. Other characters had to stop to listen since his voice was so soft, but it added gravitas to the characterization he was building.

    Or you could just begin every sentence while in chatacter with the words "Well, Basically... ", or the like.

    Frowbakk on
    Your sig was too tall.
  • SquashuaSquashua __BANNED USERS regular
    edited March 2007
    Frowbakk wrote: »
    Or you could just begin every sentence while in chatacter with the words "Well, Basically... ", or the like.

    Don't play as the Comic Book Guy.

    Don't play a Malkavian. Or a kender. Unless it's an all-kender game.

    And don't get so into it that it runs your life.

    Squashua on
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  • AllonAllon Registered User
    edited March 2007
    It's perfectly acceptable to play a Malka(/o)vian or a Kender! :[

    Just don't be *that* Malkavian or Kender... >_>

    Allon on
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  • AllonAllon Registered User
    edited March 2007
    Squashua wrote: »
    Adding onto the GM advice: http://www.io.com/~sjohn/plots.htm - this is recockulously useful when you're stuck for ideas.

    Ah, Sjohn. Hilarity ensued.

    I've been cramming his Unlimited Mana system into nearly every fantasy game I run, GURPS, or no GURPS. It's just that awesome.

    Many lovingly crafted campaign worlds have ended in spectacular and hilarious ways. :3

    Allon on
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  • SquashuaSquashua __BANNED USERS regular
    edited March 2007
    Allon wrote: »
    Squashua wrote: »
    Adding onto the GM advice: http://www.io.com/~sjohn/plots.htm - this is recockulously useful when you're stuck for ideas.

    Ah, Sjohn. Hilarity ensued.

    I've been cramming his Unlimited Mana system into nearly every fantasy game I run, GURPS, or no GURPS. It's just that awesome.

    Is that the Pyramid ariticle that has the top votes but only because it was one of the very first articles and only 50 people voted on it and everyone gave it a high score as opposed to other articles with hundreds of votes? Haven't been on Pyramid in years, but last I recall, their rating system was broken.

    Squashua on
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  • AllonAllon Registered User
    edited March 2007
    Pretty much. It's great for big explosions and stuff, though. :3

    Allon on
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  • MajidahMajidah Registered User
    edited March 2007
    If you're really interested in the nuts and bolts of Roleplaying (and have a lot of time) read this:

    http://www.indie-rpgs.com/articles/1/
    then this:
    http://www.lumpley.com/hardcore.html
    and this:
    http://ptgptb.org/0027/theory101-02.html

    Then meditate on what you've learned. I reccomend this because I didn't do it. Like most people, I thought for a long time that roleplaying means getting a bunch of dice, and some paper and pencils and making characters, and using some rules to go do "eXreme dipl0m4cy" to some orcy/vampy types. That's just one special case of one part of one type of roleplaying. It's like describing all of cooking to someone by telling them how to make mac & cheese. These articles are all written by guys who write the games so they kinda understand what's going on behind the curtain and can explain why some things are successful and some things suck badly. It's saved me a lot of grief in my role-playing existance.

    That said, you don't need to know this stuff to play the games and enjoy yourself, I've just always found it much easier to enjoy RPGs reliably if I could understand what was going on. My brief list of reccomendations is as follows:

    1. Who's sleeping with who? Who's buying the snacks? and Why do we always have to play at Russ's house? are questions perhaps more important to the actual enjoyment of the game than anything you will do in the game itself.

    2. Know what your are supposed to be enjoying about the game and be sure that the players are all on the page about it. A lot of people will tell you not to make a combat juggernaut, but playing combat juggernauts can be fun. It's only not fun when someone else wants to play a conviving political schemer. Cooperate before the game starts to avoid conflicts after the game starts.

    3. Remeber the game is about negotiating for control of a shared imaginary story. Everyone wants to describe what is happening and the rules exist to determine who gets the credibility to make that description. The social rules you learned for interacting with other people still apply though. If you steal the description from somebody, they will be grumpy and will modify their descriptions to punish you for making you grumpy. In short: just because the game doesn't tell you not to be a jerk doesn't mean you can be a jerk without consequences.

    good luck, and tell us how your game turns out.

    Majidah on
  • DevoutlyApatheticDevoutlyApathetic Registered User regular
    edited March 2007
    japan wrote: »
    I'd be tempted to introduce "The Hand of Fate" rule from 40K for these. The gist of it is: In any situation where you spend longer than a couple of minutes arguing about the interpretation of a rule, agree on the two most likely outcomes, then roll a die to determine which one happens.

    I don't know how well this would work though, given that the GM's word is supposed to be the final arbiter in roleplaying.

    Let me say this: If you do not trust the GM to run the game then I have no idea why the fuck you're there.

    If a rules dispute doesn't cost anybody their character let it slide, then bring it up after the session is over with. If it does cost somebody their character I suggest you take a moment to make the case then go with what the GM says.

    Now the corollary to this is the GM has to have a pretty strong sense of innate fairness. Too many new GM's have a habit of the "Us versus them" mentality that is absolutely poison to the game.

    Finally this is what I prefer but the best thing (like all kinds of relationship stuff) is talk this over with the GM and the group and find what works for you guys.

    DevoutlyApathetic on
  • ReynoldsReynolds Raving Rabbit Registered User regular
    edited March 2007
    Let me say this: If you do not trust the GM, then you are playing HackMaster.

    Reynolds on
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  • chatdemonchatdemon Registered User
    edited March 2007
    Reynolds wrote: »
    Let me say this: If you do not trust the GM, then you are playing HackMaster.

    Or old school Paranoia...

    chatdemon on
  • LardalishLardalish Registered User regular
    edited March 2007
    japan wrote: »
    DeVryGuy wrote: »
    3. Let the little things go. Sometimes a rule gets misinterpreted and you get screwed as a result, or someone says something that pisses you off a little bit. Let it go. The less time you spend arguing the more time you can spend playing and having fun.

    I'd be tempted to introduce "The Hand of Fate" rule from 40K for these. The gist of it is: In any situation where you spend longer than a couple of minutes arguing about the interpretation of a rule, agree on the two most likely outcomes, then roll a die to determine which one happens.

    I don't know how well this would work though, given that the GM's word is supposed to be the final arbiter in roleplaying.

    Bit late to the party so Idont know if this was mentioned but one thing Ive seen that I like is that the GM gets the final say in it. So the player can argue his side but if the DM puts his foot down then thats it. Then after the session the GM looks over the rules and if his ruling slighted the characters then they get a little bonus, like some xp, or a couple potions or somethin.

    I just thought it was a good idea cause it would keep the arguing to a minimum (in theory) and the game can go on.

    Lardalish on
  • AllonAllon Registered User
    edited March 2007
    chatdemon wrote: »
    Reynolds wrote: »
    Let me say this: If you do not trust the GM, then you are playing HackMaster.

    Or old school Paranoia...

    Pffft. That's perfectly trustworthy.

    The ones that run Hackmaster, WFRP, and Paranoia AT THE SAME TIME are the ones you have to watch out for...

    Lazy kids these days. >_>

    Allon on
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