Role-Playing Game Basics

This article is part 1 of 4 in the series Role-playing Game Rules
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Back around 1997, I was writing a set of rules for a paper & pen role-playing game. And when I say I was writing, I really mean that the group I was playing RPGs with was rewriting the rules we were playing to the point that they didn’t resemble the original any longer. At some point development of these rules split, and I worked on a set of rules on my own: there were substantial similarities to what we’ve come up with together, but there were also crucial differences.

Now this set of rules I’ve been working on have been sitting around on my shelf for a long time. I’ve dusted them off now and then, added or refined a few things, and then had to shelve them again. Like it or not, developing these things take time, and there’s only so much of that to go around.

It’s been a long time since I last looked at them. By now, my expectations for what I’ve wanted them to become have changed. My attitude towards role-playing games in general has changed. While this set of rules isn’t too far off being finished, I’m no longer convinced that they’ll be better than any other rules I’ve played by. That rather robs me of the motiviation to ever finish or publish them.

This new series, therefore, is an attempt — not a promise — to regain that motivation and finish them, albeit in piecemeal form.

And if that bores you already, don’t even bother continuing. It’ll get worse from now on.

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Of Dice and Men

This article is part 2 of 4 in the series Role-playing Game Rules
A matched Platonic-solids set of five dice, (f...
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To kick off the series of articles on RPG rules, let’s first discuss dice. Dice rolls in RPGs serve a few different purposes, and it’s fairly important to understand these before trying to come up with other rules.

But first, some gaming conventions about dice. Apart from the six-sided dice used in pretty much all board games these days, any self-respecting games shop will sell you an assortment of dice with a different number of faces. These usually come in the form of platonic polyhedrons, which gives us at least five different dice types to choose from. There are also ten-sided dice, which aren’t platonic solids, but few people will care about that when playing games.

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Dice, Damn Dice and Statistics

This article is part 3 of 4 in the series Role-playing Game Rules

I think I’ll stop with the puns now1, and dive right into today’s topic.

In Role-playing games, the character you play is described — as far as the rules are concerned — by a number of stats on a character sheet. And already I’ve probably written the wrong thing, because stats in RPGs usually refer to a specific subtype of the stats I meant.

Broadly speaking, your character has a number of different types of, hmm, let’s call them properties instead2. Some of them are innate, others are attained through various means, and each controls a different aspect of what you can and cannot do with a character.

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  1. No promises. []
  2. Mostly because I’ve not come across this term in connection with RPGs. []

Gaming is one of the Leading Causes of Statistics

This article is part 4 of 4 in the series Role-playing Game Rules

In the last article in this series, I cut the description of stats a bit short. In this article, I’ll describe the rest of the stats used in my RPG rules1.

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  1. The title is probably not accurate, by the way. []