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Thinking of Role Playing

 
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kyleg



Joined: 07 May 2007
Posts: 2
Location: New Zealand

PostPosted: Mon May 07, 2007 10:27 pm    Post subject: Thinking of Role Playing Reply with quote

Dungeons & Dragons or equivalent
Ok so this has always interested me...always love rpgs on PC but thought i might look into the paper version. So a few questions: Can it be played solo? (like the old Fighting fantasy books). Sounds like a no-mates question but I'm potentially looking for something i can just pickup and do (and convince my partner to take part in). Is there a campaign set in modern times or future?
Or is there something like rpgs that i could look into that is not computer based?
Suggestions would be great.
Thanks
Kyle
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artemis



Joined: 20 Jan 2006
Posts: 718
Location: Wellington

PostPosted: Mon May 07, 2007 11:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi

Welcome to the boards.

As to your questions roleplaying generally cant be done solo, its a social activity that requires at least 2 people although a normal group will probably be between 4 and 6 people.

One of these people will be the GM (or DM or narrator or storyteller or whatever you want to call it, they all mean the same thing) and he or she will be responsible for describing the world, portraying all the Non Player Characters (NPC's) providing adversary and conflict to the players and generally providing the plot.

The rest of the people make up characters that fit in the world and play them.

There are naturally a variety of settings available in a variety of different systems ranging from fantasy to sci-fi. As well as a very large range of Modern occult games. So describe what you are interested in and people will happily point you at one setting or another.

Hope this rambling was mildly helpful, if you are just wanting a taste of gaming to see what sort of thing you like there are often short term games going on which get advertised on this board or you can turn up to one of the conventions that happen round the place. depending on were you are the next one in Wellington is Confusion on the first saturday in August, however if you are in the Auckland region the have one much sooner.
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TrollForHire



Joined: 17 Oct 2006
Posts: 397
Location: Under A Bridge

PostPosted: Mon May 07, 2007 11:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There isn't any proper RPG you can play solo or even with 2 people and have much fun, I'd say the minimum for a decent RPG session on paper would be 4 people, especailly for an ongoing campaign. Most games rely on group dynamics utilising the skills and abilities of a range of character classes, and an ideal group would include something for every situation.

D&D works best as a Fantasy System but the D20 Sytem that it uses can, and has been adopted to many things. You can get D20 Modern, Horror and Sci Fi (Star Wars D20 for example).

D&D is currently in version 3.5 and is a whole lot better than it ever was at the AD&D level and it has good and bad points. It's good side is simplicity and relevant clarity. The rules are clear and although occassionally ambiguous they're easy to follow and simple to reference and most people have minimum issues understanding them. On the bad side it's bloody restrictive and if followed to the letter can hinder good ideas or suggestions, but this is mainly a DM issue. Some DM's have a problemwhen it comes to improvising a situation that isn't actually observed in the rule books. It's a good system to get into the RPG scene in regards to developing group skills and generic RPG knowledge, but there are hundreds of far superior and more comprehensive systems out there, it just comes down to preference in the end and the skills and imagination of the DM or GM and players contributing to the game. Tools are a part of the trade but basically it's all about talent.

I understand your prefernence for solo play, I play MMO's and rarely group with other players, and I prefer small groups for pen and paer roleplaying too, having said that however, one of the best things you can do is jump right into a game with a bunch of complete starngers and get involved.

You should go to the next WARGS meeting in a couple of weeks and talk to people there to get an idea of what is available these days. The venue Wargs is held at has a few different RPG systems for sale so you can browse a little too. See the "WARGS" thread under the "Society" subsection on the main page of this forum for more info on the next meeting. If your partner is not currently a geek then it will most likely be quite difficult for her to become affiliated with P&P RPG"s unles she has an actual desire to participate, it's quite a radically different social scene compared to mainstream human interactions.

Of course there is always the option of getting another computer and the both of you playing MMO's or other RPG's together. I recomend Lord of The Rings online at the moment. This gives you the benefit of playing together in the same room and on the same "team" with the convenience of a home based venue and the safety of not having to interact directly with a bunch fo strangers.
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itowlson



Joined: 20 Jan 2006
Posts: 276

PostPosted: Tue May 08, 2007 12:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Agreed re solo games, but I think there are some games that can be played with 2 people (1 player and 1 GM) and work well. "Vampire" springs to mind, and I've had great experiences with "Call of Cthulhu" as well (though the GM needs to design scenarios suitably).

I would admit though that these are not necessarily ideal starter games for someone whose main experience so far is computer RPGs. "Shadowrun" or something else cyberpunky might be a viable option though, but again the GM would have to design the scenarios around the "lone hero" and their specialisation instead of the usual balanced group requiring balanced challenges; and again this might be a bit of a challenge for an inexperienced GM.
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Paul



Joined: 19 Jan 2006
Posts: 855

PostPosted: Tue May 08, 2007 8:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you are really pushed for one on one play, there are a few out there that are ok.

I hear lone wolf by green ronin can handle one on one, it is based off a series of pick a path books so they tried to keep that feel in for it.

other than that I would have to think of some really small press games to go down that path.

other than games specifically designed for a small group, there are a bunch of games that fit the bill for the genres that you are looking for.

So just check out a friendly local gaming store for ideas.
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Luke
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Joined: 24 Jan 2006
Posts: 2697

PostPosted: Tue May 08, 2007 8:58 am    Post subject: Re: Thinking of Role Playing Reply with quote

kyleg wrote:
Dungeons & Dragons or equivalent
Ok so this has always interested me...always love rpgs on PC but thought i might look into the paper version. So a few questions: Can it be played solo? (like the old Fighting fantasy books). Sounds like a no-mates question but I'm potentially looking for something i can just pickup and do (and convince my partner to take part in).


The only solo RPGing around that is not on computer are Fighting Fantasy style books. I highly recommend Lone Wolf the series.

As to two player RPGs, there are only a couple that are designed as such, though many RPGs could be played this way.

I recommend Beast Hunters (http://www.berengad.com/joomla/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=13&Itemid=27) which is fantasy RPG desgned by a husband and wife team to be played by just the two of them.

kyleg wrote:
Or is there something like rpgs that i could look into that is not computer based?


There are many board games that use RPG elements and work well for two players. I recommend checking out Arkham Horror (1920s horror) or Descent (D&D on a board). They are both great games, have an element of roleplaying (you control a single character through a story) and work well for two players.
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Last edited by Luke on Tue May 08, 2007 9:00 am; edited 3 times in total
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Luke
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Joined: 24 Jan 2006
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PostPosted: Tue May 08, 2007 8:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Paul wrote:
I hear lone wolf by green ronin can handle one on one, it is based off a series of pick a path books so they tried to keep that feel in for it.


Unfortunately, Lone Wolf RPg is primarily designed for normal tabletop play, though they did have a Fighting Fantasy style intro adventure for free download. It has now gone from Mongoose Publishing's website though.
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kyleg



Joined: 07 May 2007
Posts: 2
Location: New Zealand

PostPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2007 8:27 pm    Post subject: What about online Reply with quote

Ok so what about some people who met online (say one night a week) to play. Is that done or possible?
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TrollForHire



Joined: 17 Oct 2006
Posts: 397
Location: Under A Bridge

PostPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2007 10:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It can be done but it's REALLY hard and you need to right tools, and overall it'sjust NOT practacle.

To run a game properly needs direct communication, so for a starter all of the particpants would have to have an open form of chat. Text based chat is sloppy and slow, but there are several free voice chat programmes out there such as ventrillo, which MMO players use all the time. This can give you a private, hands-free open channel or a "touch to talk" feature. Decent mic's are required and clear speakers.

The biggest issue though is visualising. When you're together the DM can draw a picture of the area, and map out the encounter on a battlemap, although for other games such detail isn't always necessary and more of a storyteller aspect is involved where people describe their actions rather than just move figures around a board and roll dice. However it is VERY handy to have a 3D representation of the battle for games such as D&D where player postion and spell area of effects are crucial to the tactical operations of the game. For example, you have to be in a flanking postion to take advantage of the "backstab" option and a 3D map provides a clear view of when this is applicable, whereas a verbal description will be visualised differently by all participants and may cause confusion and errors and could result in unintentional dead or damaged characters, thus causing unhappy players.

There are a few low quality tools around that can do this online but everyone would have to have the software and a GOOD connection and it really slows down the game having to click and drag stuff around and "mouse map" a dungeon as you go. There is also the problem of dice rolling. Most players prefer to roll their own dice, real ones, and there's plenty of superstition and ritual that goes into such an action. To be fair when playing online you'd have to use random die generators that can be viewed by all, or at least wit hthe DM and that kind of takes a bit of the fun out of things. Or you could just rely on honesty.

And of course the biggest thing you miss out on playing online like that is the social interaction and direct interpersonal contact with the other players. Humour is a big part fo gaming, and a lot of jokes or comments are accompanied by gestures and expressions whcih can get lost when playign online and create a rather sterile and surgical atmosphere which I believe is conterproductive to a good game.

D&D 4.0 will include basic free software, and a cheap subscribable online system that will make all this sort of thing a lot easier to do. They have an apparently good mapping programme that allows the DM to create everything before the game and run it smoothyl in a purely online situation. The only drawback to this is it's D&D and it's still not real people all in one place.

As annoying as it is to organise a group of fully employed real people with family, spouses and even children to get together all at the same time and place in person, nothing at all can beat that experience.
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Stephanie



Joined: 23 Jan 2006
Posts: 401
Location: Wellington

PostPosted: Sun Dec 09, 2007 7:39 pm    Post subject: Re: What about online Reply with quote

kyleg wrote:
Ok so what about some people who met online (say one night a week) to play. Is that done or possible?

Yes, Play By Mail can be done. You can get by without Chat - a forum like this one, or something like an LJ starter post with appended comments will do the job, too. I'm a different kind of roleplayer to TrollForHire, so when I've been in PBM games there was little combat interaction and a lot more of talking and description of our surroundings, so our games' needs were different to what he's describing. The biggest issues I had were the time factor (you can spend weeks of your life describing interactions that only take a couple of hours in game time) and the social contract (if not everybody is on the same page about what you can write regarding your and other players' actions it can get quite nasty, and these things are a lot easier to sort out when you're face to face.)

I'd recommend playing in a face to face game at least once, so that you can get an idea of what kinds of things are possible - WARGS is good for that, and bowling up to KapCon this January will give you a good varied introduction and help you put faces to all the names here on the board. If you do run a PBM, make sure that everyone is upfront and clear about what kind of game it's going to be. Also, like TrollForHire says, the social interaction is one of the Really Cool things about roleplaying, and computer based stuff misses out on a lot of it.
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Unslopogaas



Joined: 22 Jan 2007
Posts: 16
Location: Wellington

PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2007 12:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi

Concerning online text chat role playing, (as opposed to face to face and play by email) I agree with most of the above comments, but it can be done, and can be a lot of fun.

Combat can be more difficult and more cumbersome, and game play is generally slower, especially if your typing speed is poor, but there are a number of advantages too. You miss out on the social aspect, but as long as you're not overdoing it (I play about twice a month Sunday nights), you can feed your RPG jones and get your social life elsewhere.

Here are some advantages that I consider text chat role playing has over face to face:

For example, If you like developing your character, as a player you can for narrate screeds of 'brilliant' prose about how your character looks, is acting, behaving, reacting to the environment, eccentricities, what he smells like, what he or she is wearing. You can even narrate what he is thinking, interior monologue. You can do it a lot more easily using a chat interface because all the players can add this to the written shared narrative simultaneously, instead of having to wait for a time slot to speak up and get it right orally on the spot, when there is no edit facility and far less time to think.

Because of the simultanaeity of the chat interface, players can entertain each other more easily with tangential character interactions which can give some neat depth to the game, without compromising the pace of the GM plot progression so much.
 
Also, unless you are a good actor, (and most of us aren't, me especially) convincing dialog is much harder to do live than written dialog. I would guess that many writers (with exceptions) would sound crap if they tried to read the dialog in their stories, and even actors can often do some parts well and others not so well. But when the dialog is well written, your imagination can take over and it sounds like the real thing in your head.

Of course it's all limited by the skill of the participants, many players might be better at speaking than writing dialog.

You don't have to spend and time travelling to the venue and getting home with online role playing.

Both face to face, and text chat roleplaying have distinct advantages, and I would recommend both of them. I strongly recommend Kapcon and WARGS.

I run a D20 Modern online text chat campaign. D20 Modern has rules similiarities with D&D but is set in the modern day and is more generic, and (for better or worse) uses the D20 rules principles commonly found in many RPGs. Here the link to the blog (I haven't updated it for months). If you're interested in trying it out (or anyone else is), let me know. It's a low combat, rules lite, easy going game.

www.mcarniesmob.blogspot.com
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wombleton



Joined: 22 Jul 2007
Posts: 17

PostPosted: Thu Apr 10, 2008 2:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

For two player games, the only one I'm aware of that specifically aims at that is Breaking The Ice.

Judd Karlmann has been running a Burning Skype game, and I think you'll find several people who've done that successfully. However he's extremely experienced; the people who he's playing with aren't tyros either.

For online text gaming there are MUSHes such as Road to Amber (admined by some of the Evil Hat folk). Takes a particular type of patience to play that kind of game. It can be extremely fun.
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