Monthly Archives: November 2013

Roleplaying 103 – The Essentials

First off, apologies for the late posting. That’s out of the way, so let us begin!

Last time I posted about why you should roleplay. This time I will attempt to explain what one needs to start to roleplay. The list, as you might expect, is not long.

The first thing you’ll need is imagination. Roleplaying is a game of make-believe when brought down to its most simple level. Imagination is what helps a group of people immerse themselves in world that doesn’t exist and inhabit the shoes of people who will never be real. A character sheet records all the details of a character, their background, their personality, their strengths and weaknesses, but it is through the imagination that a character becomes real. Without imagination, you’ll be spending a few hours of your evening pushing a ball of numbers around a world you don’t believe exists.

This leads me onto my second item. Time. Roleplaying is time intensive. Whether you roleplay once in a blue moon, or regularly, your time commitment will likely be significant. My regular session is about three or four hours of an evening, and another (irregularly run) game I take part in has lasted over five hours or so before. The nature of the roleplay will dictate the length of the session, as will the players, the plot and the atmosphere. Roleplaying electronically (over Skype, IM, Roll20 or similar) might take longer than a face to face session (certainly with IM, it’s not unusual for the session to run twice as long as a face to face would take). One option that I know some people take is, rather than roleplaying once a week, devoting a day a month or so to roleplaying. Time and imagination are two of the more important things that you’ll need for roleplaying and they’re likely to be the only two things you can’t beg, borrow or scrounge from others.

As may be expected, dice are quite important. Whether it’s the traditional d6 or the much ignored d12, you’ll no doubt need at least one dice to resolve challenges to your character. The benefit of dice is that they’re easily portable and easily lent. While someone may not lend you a particular dice due to their own personal dice superstitions (many of which exist and some of which I might talk about in the future), they are likely very happy to lend you another. That said, it’s likely that you’ll end up with your own set of dice in no time. I certainly did and it wasn’t a purchase I regretted.

As well as dice, imagination, time and the obvious pencils and paper, the last thing I want to talk about and advise that you seek out is a good group of players to roll the bones with. There is no point in spending large amounts of time with people you don’t get on with. I’ve been fortunate enough to find good friends to play with, but I’ve read many a horror story of a dysfunctional group. While it is, I would say, imperative that you get on with your group, another good thing to have is an experienced member within it. Having at least one person who has a handle on the rules is very helpful, and having two is even more so. Ideally this experienced member should be the GM, or it is possible that the whole experience might be ruined.

I think that’s it for now. As always, if you have any thoughts, feel free to leave them in the comments below.

– Bubbles/Ryan