It occurs to me that, given the amount of things I’ve talked about up until this point I haven’t spoken about what some of you may call my new claim to fame: RPGs.
New being a relative term as I’ve been roleplaying since 2003 and I’ve only become remotely known for it in the last year.
I would give a tutorial on how to pick your first RPG and lessons on game mastering but to be honest, I’ve attempted such things during earlier iterations of this journal and they haven’t been that remarkable.
Also there are countless videos on how to roleplay and run a roleplaying session available online and I encourage you to research them. Me giving my little two bits on the matter will only dilute attention away from much more high quality work then what I can produce here. Plus, I really don’t think that there’s any one good way to game master in the first place. There are guidelines sure, but no fixed style that decisively works.
For those of you who simply can’t decide on an RPG, to play, just decide what you want out of that RPG experience including the type of gameplay. I guarantee you can find one that accommodates your needs if you start asking local vendors. Go look at some books and decide which mechanics and setting you want.
No, today I’d like to talk about a minor problem in RPGs depending on your own experience. However I’ve noticed recently that I’ve been bitching about things without really offering a solution to them. Since I don’t want to become stagnant nor become a cookie-cutter internet personality I’m going to take you through that problem and give you some solutions on how to overcome it.
The problem is a matter of how to keep your RPG adventure from appearing dull. Especially to new players. The first impression most players have is of a rambling adventure with no direction as they continually try to acquire meagre points and equipment until after an extended length of time battling the same enemies they become something remarkable. From the outside even those who might be partial to the idea of roleplaying a character are often put off by the idea of engaging in a session that could span years. The obvious solution to that problem is to try different settings and systems.
There is, of course, one obvious problem with that: buying RPGs is expensive. While players will be open to the idea, most game masters won’t want to shell out 20-60 dollars to buy a new system each and every time they’ve finished a story arc. And I certainly can’t condone piracy of RPG books. Because I’ll get yelled at.
The truth is that in most RPG sessions a storyteller will offer players an opening adventure and if the players had fun they’ll become invested in the future of their characters and want to put the time into to ensure that a simple band of mercenary heroes becomes the stuff of legend. Most times something will happen on a first quest that will easily motivate your group so long as you have a good dynamic going. But say you have a bunch of people that you know would be good players but aren’t in for that type of experience.
Here are some ideas for you storytellers out there to give your players somewhere to go:
Keep in mind any group of heroes in an RPG can eventually accumulate enough wealth that the social elite will come to try and sway them into their control. You may find that a group of unbeatable heroes are something of a pawn in a larger political game. It’ll be all the more impressive if they decide to go renegade on the whole system and start killing anyone who crosses their path. Or create their own new world order.
Or you can have your players accumulate enough wealth to become local lords of a city or masters of their own guild and start becoming a force to be reckoned with, not just as a party but as a force with real control over finances and their own mercenaries.
If players start setting up shop in a city and form contacts there for quests outside of city limits then it’s not hard to imagine something attacking their home town. Make it a fun and safe haven for the first few adventures so that the players get attached to it. Then have something happen when they leave like an invading army or a massive crime syndicate or even all of those things but controlled by a demon. By making home an unsafe place they suddenly have something to focus their energy on.
If you are playing something like Dungeons or Dragons or Pathfinder and your group keeps its momentum going (or you just want to go big) the Planescape setting is a good way to go. In it players travel across the multiverse fighting gods and demons while encountering strange and exciting creatures.
There are even RPGs that offer players a chance for more escalating situations from the get-go. Pendragon has players as knights fighting through the legends of King Arthur, going from the era of his father Uther and through the generations leading up to the fall of Camelot. It gives a clear distinct path and arc for players to travel. Scion has players grow from simple heroes into demigods before becoming full worshipped gods, all during a massive war in the heavens for the fate of everything!
What I’m getting at with this is that for those of you unsure if the standard RPG experience is quite right for you then change it! Find a system and setting that feels right and go for it and if it doesn’t then modify it a bit to suit your needs. There is a wealth of resources online from both developers and fans for players to help you find the RPG you want.
Though, here’s a free bit of advice, don’t be afraid to switch up games every now and then. Keep it fresh.
So too does this work exist.