Role Playing Games are usually practiced by a very fanatical, dedicated few, who meet on a more or less regular base to spend at least six hours together on a table with dice, lots of junk food, rule books and small bits of paper. Quite often there is also some sort of board made of wipe-able material, on which maps of locations are drawn and small leaden enthusiastically painted figures are placed.
But i'm already getting ahead of myself.
What is it.
I like to compare it to storytelling.
One of the people sitting on the table is the so-called GM, that's short for games master. He/ She usually sits on the head of the table and is shielded off by cardboard-pieces with pict of menacing creatures, surrounded by books and folders and sometimes even a laptop). In his/ her free time he/ she creates (or buys) a background story... something like:
the main characters (i was tempted to call them "heroes" but thought better of it) are resident at a castle that is owned by this duke. One day a couple turns up, she is a friend of the duke, he a rather dubious character. They are planing a trip to her mother and need protection.
So the main characters are asked if they want to join...
The GM would know everything that happened/ happens and will happen in this story, for example could the lady be followed by assassins, the guy could be the son of a demon, whatever...
What the GM doesn't know, is what the main characters in this story are going to do. Because the other players around the table play those characters (that's why they are called Player-Characters PCs).
Each one plays one single very individual character and for the time of the game decides what his character is attempting to do.
Emphasis on attempting! For you can't just say - "i see the assassin sneaking up on the lady, i myself sneak up behind him, knock him out and....", you have to find out if your character succeeds in his intentions by rolling dice. (Lots of different dices there are, 4-sided, 6-sided, 8-sided, 10-sided, 12-sided and 20-sided, even 30-sided dice)
Now you've got rules, dice and a character-profil that varies depending on the games-system you are using, the experience the character has and in this particular case the assassins abilities. You roll your dice and see if you succeed or bodge it up and the GM rolls dice to see if his NPC (Non-Player-Character) notices you.
It is a pretty complicated game, which is why you have to be fairly fanatical and dedicated to play it... and i find it great fun.
So one of the stories on this board is a background storie about Eliah, who is a ranger. I just created the Character to play him the next time round and thought of what might have happened to him before...
That is not essential to the game, but i love to do it.
So much for now, it's 2:03 am now and i just leave it there.
updated 26th of May 1999
copyright by scerijne