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Orange mage jpgYou read a few too many science fiction/fantasy/gothic/horror novels, and suddenly daydreams of skulking around a castle searching for a lost treasure just don't cut it anymore. You want a bit more interactivity, more excitement, a more complete experience of another world. You could seek professional help, but may I suggest finding yourself a role-playing game.  

Role-playing, put simply, is pretending to be someone else. Many employers use it to test trainees by pretending to be an irritated customer or a troubled student. But most role-playing games seek to capture the spirit of the "pretend" games we played as kids.  

Published games, such as Dungeons and Dragons , Vampire: the Masquerade , and Star Wars (you too can be a Jedi!), give you all the equipment and logistics for a good game of pretend. Each game takes place in its own world. Even games taking place in modern day settings redefine the universe somewhat. For example, the core games by White Wolf occupy a reality that closely resembles the every day world, only darker, more decayed and more violent. The player builds a character that moves within the world defined by the game and makes decisions on behalf of that character.  

sword jpgThe playing of the character forms the core of role-play. You must ensure your character acts within their nature within their world. A good knight who bases his life on honor and righteousness will not rob the dead. A street brawling, punk vampire probably won't sit down to tea, or if he does, he certainly won't behave.  

These games boast no winners or losers. Most of the time players do not even compete against each other. They usually act as a group, undertaking an adventure or pursuing a goal defined by a Storyteller (ST)/Dungeon Master/Gamemaster, who also runs the game.  

The ST devises the plotline, creates the non-playing characters (NPCs) and attempts to keep the players on course. I stress the word "attempts." The ST doesn't tell you what to do. He or she merely sets you on the road to a particular adventure.  

All right, now that you grasp the basic of role playing, or RP -- a great, big game of pretend with rules, regulations and dice, lots of dice -- we can proceed to the next level. Meanwhile, if you have any questions, comments or concerns, drop me an e-mail c/o Crescent Blues <crescentblues@hotmail.com>. 

(To be continued soon!) 

Anne Valliant

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