Sharpen your pencils, pull out the Trapper Keeper, and dust off your Crown Royal bags, kids and olds, because it's time for another forum activity.
We're going to pretend to be wizards and elves, private detectives and space marines, superheroes and gangsters, and we're going to do it without fifty-dollar controllers, day-one patches, region locks, or Games for Windows Live. The only hardware you need is the power of your imaginations and the somewhat less glamorous power of rudimentary reading and social skills.
We have a lot of tabletop gamers in this forum, and a lot of other people who are really curious about it and have never tried it, and the one thing I keep hearing from all of you is "I really want to try this, but I don't even know where to begin."
So let me take care of that. You tell me that you want to give this stuff a try, and I will do my very best to find you a group and a game. All you need to be able to do is to commit to showing up for four four-hour nights, one night a week from mid-April (after PAX) to mid-May. if you can do that, you can roleplay.
It really is that easy.HOW DO I SIGN UP?
Simple! PM me with your time zone, the days and times you would be able to commit to, and a ranked list of five or more games from the options below that you would be willing and nterested to play. If you would like to GM a game, indicate that, and list all the games that you would be willing and interested to run. If you are up to GM or play, or to GM one game and play in another, indicate that as well.
Both players and GMS will choose games from a list I am supplying below. This is to prevent a situation where 30 people want to play 30 different games.Signup will be open for one week.
Then I will take the applications, insert them into a spreadsheet, gaze at it and probably cry a little at the insane task I have set myself. I will almost certainly drink, and my cats might be called by certain unfortunate ethnic slurs. After a week of this, I will PM all applicants with a group and a time and a game.
Or I will say "sorry, I could not find a game for you." This may happen if you're the one guy in the Tehran timezone. This is why, generally speaking, it pays to be open to trying new things. I imagine some time zones will be much more strongly represented than others and I'd hate for anyone to be left out because they weren't interested in trying any of the games being offered in their area.
Preferential treatment will absolutely be shown to forumers with good histories and a reputation for getting along with folks. Remember, I am asking three or four other people, possibly total strangers, to put up with your ass. If you have a row of infractions, or have made two posts ever in barely-coherent English, don't expect great things.After groups are assembled
, the GM of that game will be responsible for devising a scenario that can reach a satisfying conclusion in four four-hour sessions. If your players are up for longer sessions, great! If they want to keep going after the Month of Roleplaying, that is fucking awesome and ideal! But shoot for telling a satisfying story in that sixteen hours. I highly encourage the use of modules, pre-generated scenarios, and any other time-saving tools for GMs. The point of this event isn't to tell the mind-blowing story you've been saving up, but just to try and help our forumers discover the fun of the roleplaying habit.
The event begins the week after PAX East, Sunday April 20, and continues for four weeks.
Participants who make it through the month will be awarded badges and all concomitant bragging rights attached thereto. GMs will receive a swank GM badge and the envy of their peers.WHERE WILL WE PLAY?
That is up to your GM and group, but I strongly recommend the two Critical Failures IRC channels:http://www.slashnet.org/channels/cfgameshttp://www.slashnet.org/channels/criticalfailures
Both of which are easy-to-use and have a wonderful dicebot programmed by the forumer Infidel. If your game needs more robust functionality, particularly voice chat or the ability to move tokens around a map, check out https://app.roll20.net/
and their fantastic Virtual Tabletop.YOU SHOULD SIGN UP IF:
- You are a D&D forumer in good standing.
- You have never roleplayed and want to.
- You are a veteran roleplayer and want to show people how it's done.
- You would like to meet new people in a fun, structured activity.
- You can set aside four hours a night, one night a week, for four consecutive weeks.
- You really hate Orcs.WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW IF YOU WANT TO GM:
- GMs are responsible for making sure their players have the resources to play (rulebooks, or character sheets, or pre-made characters, etc.)
- You will have nearly a month to devise a scenario. Use that time wisely; talk to your players, poll them on what interests them, tailor your story to fit what you and they are interested in. To save time for the actual roleplaying, it is highly advised to coordinate character generation before your first night's session.
- IF YOU HAVE A SYSTEM YOU REALLY WANT TO RUN and it isn't on the list, let me know and I will try and match you with players who choose the "GM's SPecial Snowflake" option. If you only want to run your Special Snowflake, I will try my best to find you a group but be warned that it just may not be possible in certain cases and time zones.
- Whatever game you run, take the time to familiarize yourself with the tools of the environment you end up using (IRC, roll20, Ventrilo, or whatever).GAMES TO PLAY:
Players, select 5 or more games from this list in a ranked order.
GMs, list all the games you would be willing and able to run.Dungeons and Dragons
(any edition, Pathfinder, 13th Age, etc.) - The granddaddy of roleplaying systems. You all know the score: take on the role of a mighty-thewed warrior, a cunning rogue, a (sometimes) powerful wizard, or be the guy who heals people. Venture into perilous dungeons, kill monsters, and take their stuff. Lather, rinse, and repeat. There are lots of different versions of D&D that place slightly different emphases on exploration or combat or character-building, but none of these differences are really significant enough to make a huge difference in a four-session game. The exact type of D&D will be the GM's choice, and it will be his responsibility to communicate that to the players.
Complexity: moderate to high
You should play this if: You want the "classic" roleplaying experience and enjoy challenges that test player teamwork.New World of Darkness
(any game) - The preeminent system for personal horror, for stories about corruption and madness. You've heard of Vampire and Werewolf; this system is how you play those games, but it's also a tool to play any other kind of horror story, from hunters pursuing a monster like "Supernatural" to small-town mystery like "Twin Peaks" or "Deadly Premonition." The specific story or game type is between the GM and players, but whichever you choose, this is a system that places a heavy emphasis on creating characters with rich internal lives and strong characterizations. If you're more interested in dialogue and personal drama, and atmosphere than combat or puzzle-solving, this system is a strong choice.Complexity:
moderateYou should play this if:
You want to paly non-Cthulhu horror, or play as the monster in a horror story. You have strong ideas about characters and want the freedom to give them life.Call of Cthulhu
- The original horror RPG and stil lone of the best. What are those weird noises coming from the old mansion on the hill? What's the deal with this creepy statue your old granddad willed you? Why are so many bodies turning up in the city morgue with...sucker marks? Take control of any kind of person from any walk of life you can dream of - a private gumshoe, a hot-shot lawyer, a crusty sailor, a housewife, a spy - and guide them through a horrific mystery in the style of HP Lovecraft. Call of Cthulhu has an incredibly simple die-rolling and character creation system that lets you get started in a hurry, and its "sanity" mechanic, where your character slowly unravels as they experience mind-shriveling horror, is justly famous and often imitated.Complexity:
simpleYou should play this if:
If you're a fan of the Cthulhu Mythos, enjoy atmospheric horror, or relish the infinite possibilities of playing a character from our "real" world.Shadowrun
- In the neon-lit future of the 21st century, hackers and cyborgs butt heads with elves, dwarves, and creatures of myth, all under the shadow of giant corporate skyscrapers (and some corporations are run by dragons). You're a Shadowrunner, a criminal with a unique set of skills - you might be a well-muscled troll street samurai, or a nimble elvish cat burglar, or a hard-hitting dwarven cyborg, or just a human kid with green hair, an expensive hacking deck, and something to prove. An anonymous agent, "Mr. Johnson," has hired you and a team of other criminals to break into one of those skyscrapers and take something that someone wants. The risk is high, but the pay is good - you hope.Complexity:
High. There are a lot of options and a lot of gear to shop for.You should play this if:
You enjoy noir or heist stories, cyberpunk, or the possibility that someone on your team might be willing to betray you.Fiasco
- Ever seen Fargo, or The Big Lebowski, or A Simple Plan, or Snatch, or Reservoir Dogs? This is the game that lets you create your own stories just like those. One of the new wave of experimental independent "storygames," Fiasco is different from a typical roleplaying game in that it has no game master at all. Your group picks a "playset" - a theme and locale, like LA in the 40s or New York in the days of disco, or a corrupt small town in the South in the present day - and devises a cast of characters together. Each of these characters has some kind of desire, like getting rich and ditching their crappy town, or ripping off the casino and banging the mob boss's wife, and all of these characters and situations you create will inevitably colide in a way that's disastrous for them but great fun for you.Complexity:
simple. if you can tell a story, you can play Fiasco.You should play this if:
You want to tell a story as a co-author rather than simply a player. You want to explore a vast range of possible situations and character types from the real world or history. You don't want to mess around with a lot of die rolling.Mutants & Masterminds
- Probably the best and most versatile superhero game currently on the market. The game's power system lets you design virtually anything, from a millionaire playboy with an arsenal of gadgets to a Greek god to a half-man, half-bug. This is the sort of game where if you want to get rid of an enemy by teleporting them into orbit, you can do that, and the rules for it are straightforward.Complexity:
character creation is high complexity; the sheer amount of options can be overwhelming for beginners. Templates are provided in the book, and actual gameplay is only moderately complex.You should play this if:
You enjoy superheroes and want to recreate your favorite moments from THe Avengers or the Batman films. You enjoy designing powerful or off-the-wall characters.Burning Wheel/Torchbearer
- A fresh take on fantasy and medieval gaming, Burning Wheel puts your character's beliefs and ideals first and foremost. Every action you take helps to define your character - what does he or she believe in? what is he or she willing to fight for? what is their breaking point? - and comes back to you as experience and character resources to be spent on future tests. For traditional roleplayers, it's a feedback loop that takes a bit of getting used to, but foregrounds your character and their place in the world like almonst nothing else. Torchbearer is a companion system to Burning Wheel that takes the original game's action and moves it into a deadly dungeon setting.Complexity:
high. It is strongly recommended that GMs wanting to run this be willing to walk their players through character creation personally.You should play this if:
You want a more realistic, grittier fantasy experience than D&D. You want to play in a system where your character's ideals play as much of a role in their development as their physical statistics.Cortex Plus (Marvel Heroic, Smallville, Leverage, Firefly)
- The Cortex+ system - a core system that has been adapted to several different licensed games - is a "narrativist" system, sitting halfway between a traditional roleplaying game and something like Fiasco. Instead of keeping track of concrete statistics like Strength or Wisdom, characters in Cortex+ are defined by what they're good at, and by what is likely to happen to them when they fail. You the player become a co-writer in this story, with abilities that let you affect its plot. Got caught stealing a painting and surrounded by dudes with guns? Spend a plot point and describe in flasbhack how you actually set up knockout gas bombs all oer the room hours ago. The specific variety of game to play - one of the existing licenses or a home-made variant - will be up to the GM and players.Complexity:
moderate. Learning the rules takes a bit, but actual gameplay is smooth and easy.You should play this if:
You enjoy any of those licensed worlds (Firefly et al) and want to play in them, or want a game with a high degree of narrative control for the players.SPECIAL SNOWFLAKE
- By choosing this option, you are saying that you're willing to be surprised and be matched up with a GM in your timezone who wants to run something not on this list. And I, personally, think that's an excellent idea. There are more great games out there than I could ever possibly list. Among the ones people have mentioned wanting to run for this event are the Japanese exploration game Ryutaama, the mystery-themed horror game Trail of Cthulhu (for a True Detective-like experience), or the fantasy Western Dogs in the Vineyard. GMs who want to make e case for their particular Special Snowflake are invited to post in the thread and tell us about it!