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The Role-playing Side of Tabletop RPG’s

In tabletop role-playing games (or RPGs), there are two ways to participate — as either the game master (the one who runs the game), or as a role-player, or player character. In this installment of “An Ogre-view”, we’re focusing on the role-playing aspect. Here’s what you need to know to get started as a role-playing gamer!

Why Play

Simply put, you have the chance to assume a different identity through your character. This means donning your make-believe cap!

As kids, we didn’t have grown-up responsibilities, and our capacity to engage in an imaginary world was effortless. Over time, adulting and inhibitions took over. We went from simply play-pretending to have an adult job, to actually having one. And the make-believe part of us diminished.

In a role-playing game, you’re expected to pretend. You get to “be” someone, (or even something else. And when you role-play, you become absorbed in the story’s world, allowing you to shut out the distractions and stresses of life for awhile.

What It Is

Tabletop role-playing is where you create a character (or use a pre-made one), and with a group of other players, embark on a type of quest or adventure imagined by the game master in the setting of the chosen RPG system. The group’s overall objectives range from finding treasure, to going on a rescue mission, or even gathering information for someone and solving a problem.

Really, the quest can be about anything. You being part of the story is the heart of the game!

Everything the group does is based on the rules and parameters that the dungeon or game master creates. The group, as player characters, abides by the rules and the game master’s prompts to achieve the objectives at hand.

What You Need

The supplies you need for any RPG will vary. Most commonly, they include a set of dice, a character sheet, pen and paper, a player’s handbook for the chosen RPG system, and optionally, a phone or tablet app (in lieu of pen and paper and a character sheet).

Above all, you need an imagination! You can’t tell a story without one, and as you role-play, you are helping to create the story. Additionally, you should have a willingness to problem-solve and work in cooperation with others. As a group, you will encounter many instances where your collective decisions (and dice rolls!) will affect what happens to you.

General Gameplay

Every tabletop RPG is different, but all work along the same premise. The game master creates the scenario and the group decides how to proceed as it works towards the objective.

As a role-player, a bulk of the game involves you thinking and acting as your character, which contributes to the overall story. So besides knowing your character’s abilities, you also want to add personality. Perhaps your character speaks in a funny voice or accent. Maybe he or she is always optimistic, or pessimistic, based on the character backstory you created. As you interact with members of your party, you play the part of your character. So you wouldn’t respond to another player as YOU, you’d respond as your character would.

Helpful Tips

Let your inner kid loose! Role-playing means really getting into character, not just going through the mechanics of the game. The more you let go and let yourself get into character, the more potential for creative fun.

Forget about your phone and the outside world for a bit. Leave the phone, take the dice. You’re on an adventure with your friends, so immerse yourself.

Cooperation is key. Remember, the game isn’t about you, it’s about your entire group. As characters with different abilities to offer, you’ll need to make decisions as a team and hopefully survive the mission at hand!

Popular Games

D&D, Pathfinder/Starfinder, Star Wars RPGs (such as Star Wars, Edge of the Empire, Age of Rebellion, and Force of Destiny), Call of Cthulhu and Shadowrun.

You Might Also Like

Adventures in Middle Earth, Dread, Deadlands, Traveller, and Numenera

Take a Free Class and Learn How to Role-play!

We offer an easygoing way for you to learn how to role-play in our free Intro to D&D class. Our next one is Sunday, 8/5 from 12-3pm. Sign-ups are required by Thursday 8/2. Can’t make it this time around? No prob! We offer the class the first Sunday every other month. Check the calendar for dates and be sure to reserve a spot.

Want to jump into a game? Join our Facebook Group, where you’ll get early announcements for current tabletop RPG offerings and be able to sign up to play.