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StephanieAine
August 17th, 2006, 03:54 AM
I'm going to out myself, everyone. Okay... here goes:

I'm forty years old and I've never participated in a Roleplaying Game. I'm an RPV to the RPG. (Roleplaying Virgin, for those who didn't understand that right away.)

Here's the thing... I *do* get the concept of roleplaying, at least in terms of such things as online virtual worlds (for example, I was one of the so-called "founding members" - also known as 'oldies' and 'oldbies' - from a virtual world called WorldsAway back in the old days of CompuServe; the virtual city of WorldsAway was and is known as Kymer on the island of Phantasus. (Initially, WorldsAway was known as Club Caribe, and was run by Lucasfilms.)

Today, WorldsAway is called "VZones." But WorldsAway was owned by Fujitsu back then, from what I recall... later it was opened up to the public on the web, sold to another company and became the Dreamscape, later switched hands again once or twice yet again, and still is going strong. I'm no longer living a virtual life as a Kymerian citizen due to things like getting older and preferring places like MW <g>, spending most of my time working on my book, that kind of thing. Plus, Kymer became very different over the years, and people stopped treating it as a virtual world and began using it as just a way to play bingo, buy/sell virtual items for inworld tokens, and not much else.

I loved the *roleplay* of Kymer back when WorldsAway was still operating in its original manner; of course, the citizens make a place what it is, and I think that once we (the original citizens) started dwindling in number and the community opened to the web, we ended up with lots of very young people who just wanted to join briefly to use it as a chat space. There was a high turnover rate in membership. Roleplay stopped; storylines were forgotten... but worst of all, longtime mythologies created by founders were forgotten, and certain "traditions" that kept the "feel" of the place alive began to disappear. I was bored stiff, but I hung in there for a while.

Well, that was years ago now, and honestly I'm sure I would have eventually left Kymer if only due to focus on my work and my health, but maybe I would have remained involved if people other than myself continued to put their energy in maintaining the community and its history, and put thought toward its future.

With RPGs, I see real potential to engage in stories that keep people captivated because anyone involved in an RPG *has* to contribute to the "world" in order to take part in things. Any time anyone speaks, they're adding to the world, and since it's all envisioned in each person's mind, the world is "visually" perfect by default. Everyone will "see" what they want to see. And unlike virtual words with avatar creation, wardrobes, and so forth, the RPG character is restricted by *nothing* in terms of appearance, ability, age, ethnicity, and so forth. All of this may seem hopelessly boring to people who game in RPGs a lot - but the idea of a *text based* world is extremely appealing to me. Maybe it's because my life is so wrapped up with writing and books, but I love the fact that such a world can only exist so long as people are staying engaged in it... because that's *very* different than Kymer.

(In Kymer, particularly around the time I left but even continuing today from what I hear, it's normal for the streets to be empty, or for 'parked' avatars to be turned backwards indicating that they're either away or ignoring everyone... because they want to stay online to continue to earn their hourly token rate. Nobody is on the same page there; newcomers show up and become totally confused as to why there's nobody to talk to, unless there happens to be a game of bingo at one of the intersections.)

What I wonder, though, is exactly **how** an RPG operates on a practical level. Do the players go in blind, or does everyone follow a rough storyline? How much plotting is involved? When newcomers join, how do they "catch up" with events, and how do they know what to do? (Particularly in the case of RPGs with thousands of pages dating back two or three years, for example.)

Are RPGs generally handled like ongoing novels with a beginning/middle-climax/wrap-up ending, or more like a soap opera with ongoing drama? Or is it more common to have a "world" scenario created, put the characters into the setting, and just chat in that created world in a different persona?

I'd love to see some very clear, descriptive, and basic guides/instructions for total newcomers to the RPG concept. Things to help people get started - whether that includes exactly how RPGs work and how to get started as a player, or helpful forms to use in creating a character or characters, explanations of various abilities (I've noticed a lot of talk about abilities and various levels of skill or vulnerability - and I'm not sure exactly how any of that would fit into game play), what to do and what not to do, and so forth...

... Basically, like a Guide to RPGs for Clueless People.

If anyone wants to post anything in this thread, it might be helpful in the future when other clueless people wander in and start checking things out.

Another thought: I've noticed that a lot of people in the RPG threads tend to be pretty young. That surprised me in a sense, because in virtual words (visual worlds, I mean), there are people of all ages, just as there are in any situation. Do most RPGers tend to be teens/twenties-ish people, or am I wrong about that?

SilverClaw
August 17th, 2006, 04:25 AM
Do most RPGers tend to be teens/twenties-ish people, or am I wrong about that? Uhm there are alot in that category, but I am in the 30 plus group (and I have been roleplaying since I was 19 ):D and I know that I am not alone in this age group either. :D :D

And if someone does not beat me to it I will come answer some of your questions in the moring ok ?

jodarius
August 17th, 2006, 04:29 AM
All your questions actually depend on the RPG. Some are far more open and just about everything is good to go, while others follow a more strict policy. I like the more open ones where you are limited only in imagination and decency. If you looking for a fun and very open RPG look at this thread...

http://www.mysticwicks.com/showthread.php?t=129234

purple dragon
August 17th, 2006, 05:26 AM
Do most RPGers tend to be teens/twenties-ish people, or am I wrong about that?

well I'm 16 and i see no harm in participating in RPGs no matter what your age.

Tzhebee
August 17th, 2006, 12:15 PM
I'm not about to sit here and claim that I can give a definitive answer to these questions. But I have been RPing for over 15 years now. But, I will share with you MY view on RPG's.

First things first; as Joda said, the answer depends on the game and the person running it. So, no one answer will fit every scenario.

Do the players go in blind, or does everyone follow a rough storyline? How much plotting is involved? When newcomers join, how do they "catch up" with events, and how do they know what to do? (Particularly in the case of RPGs with thousands of pages dating back two or three years, for example.) Both. At the very start of a campaign (more on definition of campaign later) the GM (Game Master, story teller) usually gives you a background. A background of where you are at and what is surrounding you. He may or maynot explain WHY you are there, just know that you are. As the story progresses, the GM has a story line or plot in mind, but many times the characters actions (and consequences thereof) change the direction. I've played in campaigns where our actions were so far off what the GM expected that we had to call it a night for him to think up a new plot line (we accidently killed off a main character in the plot).

Most GM's are good enough to allow a new player to be dropped in at basically any time. That new player would be "blind" to the story up to that point, but would be given the "You are here, surrounded by this and this is happening" background. Much like if you were to walk into a party that had been going on for 8 hours already. You wouldn't know what happened in the previous 8 hours unless you asked people. Same thing in game, you wouldn't necessarily know what had happened before you came along.

As for your personal character, it depends on the GM. Some GM's require a full history background. Where you came from, how you got where you are, how close you are to your pack/sire/family, etc. Then there are some GM's who only want to know what your powers/strengths are and what weapons and supplies you carry.

Are RPGs generally handled like ongoing novels with a beginning/middle-climax/wrap-up ending, or more like a soap opera with ongoing drama? Or is it more common to have a "world" scenario created, put the characters into the setting, and just chat in that created world in a different persona?
The simple answer: yes. Again, depending on the GM and the game (you have fantasy games set in different worlds, modern games set on earth, midevil games, etc.) it can change. A campaign is a storyline, beginning to end. A campaign is supposed to last basically forever. You have a defined character who plays in a storyline and that character is not (usually) allowed to play in any other games while in a campaign. Most campaigns are soap operas, with a loose plot, highs and lows, but no clear beginning, middle or end.

Then you can have mini-games, or what my group likes to call Single-shot characters. It's a story that is only supposed to last a night, or a week. It has a goal and once you achieve that goal, game over, done.

The scenario you are in is based on what game system you are playing. DnD (dungeons and dragons) is a fantasy game with elves and ogres set in an atmosphere much like earth but in earlier/simplier times. Whereas GURPS (Generic Universal Role Playing System) can literally be anything: robots on moons, humans on earth, aliens in multiple dimensions, etc.

One of the most common RPG's is White Wolf's Vampire series. It alone has 4 different settings. Vamp the Dark Ages set in, well, the dark ages. Vamp the masquarde which can be anything from dark ages to modern, Vamp the Requim which is modern times and Vamp the Exalted which I am not familiar with yet.

Things to help people get started - whether that includes exactly how RPGs work and how to get started as a player, or helpful forms to use in creating a character or characters, explanations of various abilities (I've noticed a lot of talk about abilities and various levels of skill or vulnerability - and I'm not sure exactly how any of that would fit into game play), what to do and what not to do, and so forth...
This, unfortunately, I cannot give a generic answer to. It depends on the game. The character sheets, skills, abilities, etc. are drastically different from one game to another. DnD is completely different from Vampire which is different from Werewolf which is different from....etc. etc. etc.

But, I hope that helped at least a little....reading over it, it sounds even more confusing! Sorry. :)

medit8ive_spirit
August 17th, 2006, 08:39 PM
I myself, am in the 40+ group!....and am a contributing writer to two RPG's here at Mystic Wicks. I thought they were just storylines that we all shared....but I've been told they have been defined as RPG's.

StephanieAine
August 18th, 2006, 03:07 AM
Thank you so much, everyone, for jumping in here to help me get familiarized with things. I definitely appreciate it. And, considering that I can't be the only person just learning about this, I think this thread will be of help to others in the future if people continue to share their knowledge. So far I feel like I have a better grasp of things!

I still feel a bit in the dark though - like I'm not quite prepared to jump into a game. It seems like I'm missing something crucial as far as "how to" goes... unless I'm just concerned over nothing. If this is really like a text-based version of what I wrote about concerning the early days of Kymer, then there's no problem. But this does seem to involve parameters that I'm not used to, especially with the variety of different RPGs you're talking about. I don't know how you keep up!

CheshireEyes
August 19th, 2006, 08:50 AM
I don't know how you keep up!
The same way you get to Rockefeller Center..... practice, practice, practice....:) _inabox_

As others have stated, it really depends on the RPG and who you're playing with. I've been RPing for like 20+ years and each time is different. There are those who follow whatever rules/guidelines are in that particular game strictly and those who let things fly. I tend to let things fly, rules be damned...:nyah:

Open-ended RPs, like alot on this board are easier to deal with in that, its basically a story. More complex RPs deal with acquiring experience, using spells, using different weapons for different effects, etc.

I'm sure whatever RP you decide to partake in, the other people involved will understand your newness to the scene and work you in accordingly. :) _inabox_