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Common Questions about Roleplaying
This section is devoted to those who have never played in a Role Playing Game (RPG).
Oftentimes, there are questions that you would like to ask, but might be afraid that they're considered "too" basic. I take the motto that "The only dumb question is the one that you don't ask." If you don't find the answer to your question here, please don't hesitate to Email me; I will answer.
What exactly is a role playing game? A role playing game can be looked at as a story in progress. One person (referred to as the referee, Dungeon Master, DM, storyteller, or other name) 'runs' the game, unfolding the plot to a story. The other people (referred to as players, Player Characters, or PC's) play a part, or role, in the story. Some RPGs, such as Dungeons and Dragons, are set in fantasy settings, but they can take many shapes and forms - there are Star Wars RPGs, post-nuclear holocaust RPGs, BattleTech RPG, and many others.
What is the object of a RPG? Aside from the purpose of any game (having fun), the object of a RPG is to better your character through adventures.
How do you win? This is a point that many experienced players often miss. You don't 'win' a role playing game in the traditional sense of the word. There is no 'winning score'. The idea is to start a character off at the beginning of their adventuring carrer, and to dictate how that character would act in a given situation. As stated above, you try to better your character though good gameplay.
My mom/pastor/friend told me that Dungeons and Dragons was Satanic. How can you say that it's just a game? This is one that has plauged me since I was thirteen. It appears that, in the eighties, the national media discovered that some Satanists played Dungeons and Dragons... and ruined the reputation of the game. I will not go into long arguments here, but let it suffice for now that I am a Christian, as well as an avid fan of fantasy and AD&D (Advanced Dungeons and Dragons). Good fantasy games, like good fantasy novels, are about fantastic and heroic feats; they center on plots where the player strive against evil, not for it.
What if your Dungeon Master tells you that you have to do bad things? The Dungeon Master can never tell you to do anything! His job is to keep up with the rules and to tell the story. The DM tell the players what is happening, and they choose what to do. Since the DM's role is that of a narrator, they should never even give hints to the players... the players must discover, through game play, the solutions for themselves.
But I heard about some teenagers that killed somebody because their DM told them to! These people were not playing AD&D. You do not run around, acting out what your characters does... typically, you sit around a table, and when your turn comes, you tell the group what your character does. This is all of the space that I'm devoting to this topic for now. The remaining questions will be more on the game itself. If you have any questions about the above, please email me!
What are all those numbers for? As stated earlier, when you play AD&D, you say what your character does in a given situation. More accurately, you say what your character tries to do... your DM may rule that you're simply not able to climb a sheer 90 foot rock wall, or slay a giant with one blow. Much of this is controlled by your character's statistics... how strong your character is, how quick, how tough, etc.
How does a DM determine all of this? While a great deal of both imagination and preperation are required for a good game, there are some rules for common occurences... i.e., whether your sword hits that giant or not. You may have seen the strange-looking dice used by AD&D players. These are used, in conjunction with your character's stats, to determine how well you do many things. To avoid confusion, I will explain only the most important: AC (Armor Class): This number shows how difficult you are to hit; the lower, the better. Quick, nimble characters are harder to hit, as are characters wearing heavy armor. Usually, 10 is the worst, and -10 the best. THAC0 (To Hit Armor Class Zero): Your skill in combat. The lower, the better. You must roll this number or better on a twenty-sided die to score a hit in combat. Since most things don't have an AC of 0, you subtract their AC from your THAC0 determine what your roll needs to be. HP (Hit Points): How much damage you can take before being knocked unconsious/killed. The higher, the better.
Thanks to t_catt11 for this contribution!