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Role-playing games


drama masks There used to be a day when I had to explain to people what a Role Playing Game is. Nowadays many people are familiar with the term RPG, mostly due to the rise of MMORPGs, which have guided the genre into the mainstream. (For the newbies, that stands for Massive Multiplayer Online RolePlaying Games). Still, the need for explanation stands. People practise several activities in MMORPGs, but roleplaying is only a minor one of them. So, what am I talking about?

The idea of a RPG is that you assume the role of an imaginary character, living in an imaginary world. Game Masters (GM's) or game designers and administrators design that world and your character can explore it. You direct your character in interacting with the gameworld and so storylines start to develop. It's like reading an adventure story or playing in a theatre play, but with the difference that your part of the script has not yet been written and you have to fill in your lines yourself. You can improvise on the spot, but it helps to think about your game persona in advance. If you know your character, you can think up your "lines" in an instant, because you know your role inside out. That is roleplaying.

Types of RPG's

Types of roleplayers

People play RPGs for various reasons, but five main types can be discerned. If you are a roleplayer, you will probably find that you have some of at least one of these types in you.

Personal contributions: AD&D, CC, Lanik, Manik and Totte

During my tabletop-based adventure career I've concentrated almost completely on a game system called Advanced Dungeons and Dragons, created by Gary Gygax and his henchmen, expanded by the guys from Wizards of the Coast, nowaday owners of former TSR, then bought by big game manufacturer Hasbro and now being milked out by them.
AD&D is a shaky system, but it's well-known and has a huge base of installed players. Of course it can be done better, and has been done. In the 1990's I created an extension to AD&D, called Customized Classes. Later I've built several completely new RPG systems, culminating in Totte. This is a system without ties to AD&D, and in my humble opinion, superior.