How can I start playing a RPG?

What is a roleplaying game, anyway?

So, a roleplaying game is a cooperative, improvisational storytelling experience. You typically play a roleplaying game with a group of friends, and the size of the group can range from two to six people (or more). During the game, you and your friends take on the role of a char- acter in a fictional setting. You and your friends con- tribute to telling a story in this setting and, in this story, your characters are the main characters. They are the heroes (or perhaps the villains) of the story you create.

What makes this a game, and not just a collaborative storytelling event, are the rules. We call those rules the Narrative Dice System, and we’ll get into more about them later. The rules exist so that as you and your friends play, you can introduce an element of risk and randomness into your game. The drama of success or failure at critical points in the narrative make the sto- rytelling more fun. That element of risk (instead of just saying “my character does this, and they succeed!”) is the core point of the rules.

What better way to spend a cold winter evening with your friends than to conquer space without leaving your living room to buy a book or dice?

I’m the Game Master! What do I do?

Each group of players has one Game Master. If you’ve decided to take on that role—congratulations! Being a Game Master (or “GM”) is a lot of fun. You’re going to run the game for your friends. This means you create and present the plot of the story, describe the world, and adjudicate the rules. You’ll need to think on your feet, and respond to unexpected actions from your players. Often, you may need to adjust your story when your players make unexpected choices while play– ing the game. Just remember, your ability to alter the game and the story to take your players’ decisions into account is what makes a roleplaying game unique.

Most importantly, your job is to make sure every- one—including yourself—has a good time. This is always more important than the rules.

I’m a player! What do I do?

As a player, you’re going to take on the role of an individual character. You’ll usually create a character to play at the beginning of the game, and you control their actions as they experience the adventure that your friend the GM invents. It’s similar to episodes of a tele- vision show or series of movies where you play the part of one of a group of recurring cast members.

Adventures last for one or more game sessions. With each adventure, your character becomes better at what they do, and the story evolves as the characters make choices and alter the world around them.

Getting started

So how do you get started playing a roleplaying game? As it happens, we have a great, and free, way to try them out! 

Below are the links to adventures using the Genesys system, which is one of our own rulesets for roleplaying games. The great thing about these adventures is that the first half of each is a simplified version of the Genesys rules. Each also contains several pre-made characters that your group can use. 

Genesys does require a special set of dice to play. However, as long as you own an Android or iOS device, you can download our free dice roller app! This app allows you to electronically roll all the Genesys dice you need, so you don’t have to spend a cent to try out a roleplaying game.

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