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What is Roleplay Gaming?

ROLEPLAY GAMING is similar to group storytelling: each player takes on the 'role' of one or more of the Player Characters (PC) in the story, much like an actor in an improvisational play. Unlike reading or watching a film, both passive forms of storytelling, a player in a roleplay game takes an active part in the story, participates in events, and influences the progression of the plot. In a roleplay game (RPG), unlike a novel, there is no fixed plotline, no certain outcome: just as in real life, you are never certain of how things will turn out in the end.
Indent: dot clear gifYou experience the excitement of the story through your Character's adventures. When your Character succeeds in some task, or resolves some riddle, it will be your success as well. You will find it a uniquely satisfying form of entertainment. By keeping two fundamental questions in mind, you will be able to grasp the basics of roleplaying:GIF: Trolls

Roleplaying is a very social form of entertainment. It forces you to interact with your fellow players. Cooperation is usually necessary to ensure a successful conclusion to your adventure. At its best, roleplaying stimulates additional reading, research, and interest in other subjects (such as history, science, invention), as you seek to improve your personal background knowledge. This extra knowledge gives your Characters an edge during the game and makes it more enjoyable.
Indent: dot clear gifIn every roleplay game, one of the players takes on a special function: they act as the Gamemaster (GM). The GM directs the flow of the of the story action by managing the other players' participation in the game. The GM fabricates setting and plot elements as needed along the way. The GM integrates the the actions of the Characters into the game, including their interactions with the environment informing the player about what their Character hears, sees, smells, tastes, touches (and if applicable, senses supernaturally); plus they provide Gamemaster Characters (GMC; people and creatures created and played by the GM). The GM performs this task by:

GIF: The Book of NedWhat About Rules?
Most roleplay games consist of two parts: a description of a world or setting designed to inspire adventure, and a collection of rules for generating and playing a Character. Through this Character, you may explore and interact with the inhabitants and environment of the roleplay world. In most RPGs, only the GM is required to be familiar with the setting -- indeed, it is better if players discover it gradually through successive adventures.
Indent: dot clear gifIn addition to the rules for Character generation, everyone must be at least somewhat familiar with the rules that limit the ways in which Characters can interact with the lifeforms, objects, and the forces of nature in the roleplay setting. The GM provides the player with the sensory information that their PC gleans from the world around them.
Indent: dot clear gifOn Murphy's World chaos reigns. There is no need for extensive and complex rules. All decisions about what a Character ultimately can or cannot accomplish under any specific circumstance are left to the discretion of the GM — we have provided some rules and suggestions (see below), but they are all optional. It's possible to play Murphy's World without using any rules at all! You can spend your time roleplaying, rather than learning new rules and how to work with — and around — them.
Indent: dot clear gifTo get started, you need to find others interested in playing. Ideally, you should join a group of people who already have roleplaying experience. Most gaming stores can put you in touch with roleplaying enthusiasts.
Indent: dot clear gifA world of adventure awaits!

Your First Time Gamemastering
Well lucky you. You've been conned into running a roleplay game. During a roleplay game all participants gather in close proximity (usually sitting around a table). One is assigned to be the Gamemaster (GM) while the others are players. The players generate Player Characters (PC) with which they participate in adventures much like the lead characters of a film or novel. As GM, you create and administrate those adventures. An adventure advances as you provide the Player Characters with the information that each requests in turn about what their Character's senses can detect (see, hear, smell, feel, taste, plus any supernatural senses).
GIF: Aesgardian Giant SingerIndent: dot clear gifYou can bet your players are pretty smug knowing that you must spend every waking hour before the first game concocting every detail of the entire planet right down to where left socks and loose buttons go when they vanish. Well, piffle to all that! You need remember only two things:

The amount of time and energy you invest in the production of adventures, setting details, Gamemaster Characters, creatures and strange items, is entirely up to you. Here's the really good news. If you develop a knack for monitoring the action of the adventure and noticing opportunities to exploit where a silly element (whether a new character, item, or event) might be injected, you've got half the battle won. The only other thing you need to develop is a sense of whimsy and appropriateness so that the elements you inject not only entertain but actually serve to advance the plot. Admittedly, this can be a challenge. However, we've provided an assortment of Random Generation Tables for various elements which you can consult either in preparation for an adventure, or during the action.
Indent: dot clear gifA roleplay game is a highly social, interactive form of group entertainment. Roleplay games can be compared to live theatre, but the participants are simultaneously the writers, actors, and audience. This can be one of the most satisfying forms of recreation you can enjoy. Good luck!

Playing Murphy’s World:
Click Here for Some Simple Roleplay Game Rules — Free!

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This page was last updated February 10, 2011.
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