The Big Book of Vague Roleplay :
What is Roleplay?
Roleplay, or RPG, is a game. It's a storytelling game where all the players take the roles of characters in an adventure. In the same way that small children play 'Cowboys and Indians' or adults of all ages suggest 'What If?' people are always creating ideas and stories for different situations. Roleplay gaming is a logical extension of this premise.
All variations of Roleplaying is the idea of putting yourself in a different situation and seeing how you would react. Roleplay Gaming is the additional premise of having (though not always) abilities that you don't currently have. Knowledge gained from other sources, Physical abilities you yourself couldn't perform or even supernatural abilities beyond regular human.
To complete the package, one player (The Game Master or GM) writes a basic storyline for the other players to play. He (or she) explains the setting and the players then decide on different courses of action hoping to play through to a conclusion, and hopefully a happy ending, or even just a conclusion.
What is Needed?
Not Needed, but Useful
- People. All that is actually needed is two people. One to create the game and the other to play it.
- Imagination. Not strictly necessary, but playing without can turn into a long and fairly dull game.
- Pen and Paper. Since the game exists only in the imagination and be variously complicated, taking notes can be useful.
- A Rules System. Here's where the money vanishes. There are hundreds of RPG systems and books out there, many of which are fantastic. But many of the best games are done simply from the GM's imagination and are completely homegrown.
- Character Sheets. Depending on the games system you're using, a character sheet is a useful indicator of your abilities, resources and health. Of course, it has been known to play long campaigns without a sniff of a character sheet.
- Dice. Sometimes life throws a curveball. Random chance plays a part in roleplaying just as much as in real life. Dice are just an easy way of seeing if the avalache heard your last shout, if the next person you talk to is the right one, or if the gargoyle you've just grappled has a stable footing.
Random Rumours, Lies and Truth
Roleplaying is for Children and Geeks
Oh absolutely. But since the usual definition of Geek is someone that plays roleplaying games, that doesn't really get us anywhere. The actual accusation is that Roleplay games are immature. Again, this is a very subjective opinion. I can't think of many roleplayers with a low intelligence, but I can think of many rich and famous people who have owned up to (and still do) playing RPG's.
In fact, if you've ever thought 'If I was him, I wouldn't have done it like that' or 'I wish I could do that' then some form of roleplay gaming could be for you. The only people that I would say didn't suit rpg's are people that have no interest in games. And about that, I'll say no more.
Get a Life!
Hard to argue. Spending your entire life roleplaying and spending your free evenings and weekends plotting the next roleplaying session isn't exactly the most worthwhile thing on earth. Though it can be argued that the same goes for watching soaps and big brother day-in-day out, or living your life at the bottom of a pint glass in the local pub. It's always good to have more than one interest in life, no matter what you're doing.
Roleplay Gaming is Devil Worship and evil
I love this one. Who declares it? It's spouted quite often when media or parents need something to blame other than their own influences on wayward children. Rock music, Video Games, TV, Comics and Theatre have all come under this banner at one time or another and yet the cry of 'Devil Worship' never gets re-evaluated. It is true that there are games where the characters are monsters and so on, (notably the games from White Wolf) but for each of these, there are numerous games where the players are heroes set to save the world.
The most notable example, though, would have to be In Nomine by Steve Jackson Games. In this, the players can take the role of Demons from Hell to tempt and twist humanity. On the flip side, players can also choose to play Angels of God sent to fight evil and save humanity from the demons and themselves. It has both sides encapsulated into the one game and to condemn one would be to condemn the other.
Roleplayers don't get laid.
Speak for yourself pal.