Dr Duncan James > Storytelling > RPGs

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Tabletop Role-playing Games

Visit the Wikipedia role-playing game page if you wonder what this is!

I am a big fan of role-playing games. I like the fact they have elements of games (dice rolling, statistics and story-telling) but in a much "freer" environment. If you are playing Risk have you ever wanted to try and setup a base on the moon? In a role-playing game you can come up with an idea like this and explore it. They are also, generally, cooperative instead of competitive. A simplistic way of describing role-playing games is as dice-heavy games and dice-light games. I am a fan of dice-light games as described in a Reddit conversation about rolling less dice.

I have an article called Player and Gamemaster Advice. The article is particularly aimed at other GMs. It is possible to get stuck in the playstyle of your own group and I find reading articles on GMing really useful for improving my own games. Perhaps you will find this article useful. http://www.highprogrammer.com/alan/gaming/gmtips.html is a similar article written by another GM.

I am working on my own very simple role-playing game called Cinematic Games with a focus on storytelling and drama.

Role playing games are played with a lot of talking in character about what you are thinking and doing. Sometimes miniatures or tokens are used on maps on a table to show where you are standing and to help with the storytelling. A low-budget option is to use stand-up paper pictures of the characters. A great website for these is One Monk Miniatures.

RPG communities exist at local, national and international levels! For example, there is an incredible, creative convention in Denmark and there must be thousands of small conventions around the world such as IndieCon in the UK.

Fear the Boot is a great podcast about role-playing games. I get the feeling their gaming group is a lot of fun: that sense of fun comes across in the podcasts which always seem really tightly done with interesting topics.

An exciting version of this genre is LARP or "Live Action Role Play" with just one UK-based example being Unexpected Events.

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