While there's a bit of a learning curve with RPGs, it's well worth the effort. Here's what you need to know about being a beginner with tabletop RPGs.
What are RPGs?
RPGs— Role Playing Games— are a combination of "choose your own adventure" story, board game, and theater. In this gaming experience, you enter a storyline as a fictional character and make decisions that ultimately impact the outcome.
RPG tabletop games are an exciting alternative to traditional board games. Rather than just moving pieces around a board, you're strategizing, storytelling, and creating a unique experience every time.
Why Play RPGs?
The main reason to play RPGs is that it's fun to do so. Beyond that, RPGs also help you develop creativity and problem-solving skills. They're a great platform for socializing and getting to know people better and give you the opportunity to explore scenarios you wouldn't in real life.
Playing RPGs can become an engaging hobby that stands the test of time.
Types of RPGs
There are lots of different types of RPGs to explore. While the focus here is on tabletop RPGs, this is also a common theme for video games and even live-action events (LARPing).
Within the tabletop RPG world, some of the genres include:
Choose the Right Game
The first step when starting to play RPGs is to find the right game for you. A beginner-friendly RPG game should be easy to follow while piquing your interest. Fortunately, many of the big players in the tabletop RPG realm have introductory games and starter kits for new players.
Once you've chosen your game, take some time to yourself to understand it before inviting people to play. Read through the game and figure out the nuances that make it interesting. You should feel comfortable explaining the basics of the game before inviting people over to play.
Finally, get everything you need to add to the experience. If you need a variety of dice, you can try D20 Collective to find a set that works for your game. Think of where you'll play, what music you can add to set the tone, and what other elements will create the ideal atmosphere.
Choose the Right People
RPGs aren't for everyone. Choose people who you know will engage in the game and are open to experiencing something new.
If you don't have friends who are interested in playing the same genre of tabletop RPGs as you, reach out to local interest groups. Local game and comic book shops might already have gaming groups in place. Apps like MeetUp can help you connect with like-minded individuals.
Set the Expectations
If getting together for an RPG is going to be a regular occurrence, it's important to set and manage expectations so that everyone stays on the same page. These expectations may be game-specific or could pertain to the gathering itself.
For example, discussing who is bringing snacks, and what will be provided is a non-game expectation that should be set in advance. You might outline a hosting schedule with a group of friends. These are things that you can figure out at your first gaming experience.
You should also set some ground rules for playing. Here are some common examples:
Remember to relax and have a good time. While RPGs can be emotional, they should come to an end with good spirits and camaraderie.
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