Jul 12 , 2021
The concept of tabletop role-playing games (TTRPGs), for individuals who have never immersed themselves in them, can be a little intimidating. Games like Dungeons & Dragons, Call of Cthulhu, Cyberpunk Red, and others present limitless options for players to come together, craft and interact with unique worlds, and have an enormous amount of fun doing so. Sounds great, right? What’s so intimidating?
When people hear the term “gaming” many of us immediate think of video games. That’s only natural considering the popularity of video games in modern society. Also, most TTRPGs come with rulebooks. Yes, actual books! This can be a bit daunting for younger players and even for adults who simply aren’t in the habit of reading, but the walls of text are usually well broken up with beautiful artwork, anecdotes, and even interesting historical facts.
Tabletop RPG's, or role-playing games, are designed to be shared with friends and are, therefore, inherently social experiences. In today’s digital world of text messaging and TikTok, the concept of interacting with other people IRL might unnerve some people. And, until the COVID-19 global pandemic, TTRPGs were almost exclusively played in person. Many people thought the pandemic-related lockdowns would mean almost certain death for RPGs. However, the TTRPG crowd rolled their collective 20 sided dice and scored a critical hit. Game developers and fans moved games to online platforms and the industry had it best year ever! .Even we here at Forged Gaming got in on the action and thoroughly enjoy our weekly online D&D sessions (DnD dice box and adult beverage included) with party members from all over the world!
We’re not going to get into explaining the mechanics of each game. Each individual game has its own characters, concepts, rules, etc. That, in itself, is an entirely separate blog!
RPG's – What's Involved?
To explain the rules, books are usually involved. Physical books are probably still the norm, but more and more developers are also creating digital versions. If you’re not an avid reader, don’t lose heart. Most RPG basic rules are professionally written and concise. Sure, you can always go down the rabbit hole with additional source material and fan publications, but the core rules are usually enough to get you started.
There might be a game board, there are likely some dice (Oh how we love Dice!, character will generally sheets play a role , and then, of course, there are the players and the game master.
If you think of traditional board games like Clue or Monopoly, there are elements in these games that still apply to RPGsT. However, rather than being overly prescriptive about the course of play, RPGs rely greatly on the imaginations of the players and game masters to weave the story of the game. RPGs score high for replay ability as the imagination is the only limitation on possible storylines.
Tabletop Role-Playing Game Goals
Naturally, the goal is to win, right? That’s not always so black and white with RPGs…and that’s what makes them so exciting! For one particular game, maybe your characters wake up in a dungeon cell with nothing, but the clothes on their backs and no memory of how they got there. In that case, maybe “winning” simply means surviving the escape. In another, perhaps you are investigating a mysterious cult and you must discover and defeat the ancient cosmic horror that fuels their twisted religion!
Generally, for in a lot of RPGs , you must uncover a plot of the story and determine the courses of action you and your party will take , avoid obstacles and traps, battle with monsters, and survive. If you die,you likely won’t win…but that’s not always the end of the story! There’s always the old saying “You haven’t truly lived, until you’ve died.”
Game manufacturers or independent creators publish supplemental adventures for many RPGs that define the plot of that particular story. Game masters then use that material to develop that world and offer clues to guide players in a particular direction. However, most RPGs support truly open world play. That is, just because there is a plot that the GM has in mind, doesn’t necessarily limit the players decision making.
The bottom line here is that for a truly great TTRPG experience, imagination is the key driver that will enhance the experience for everyone, players and game masters.
Wait, what the heck is this “game master you keep talking about?” The Game Master is responsible for the story, for the world. They decide who and what the players will interact with, what monsters they will face, and how the rules of the game are applied. Even though the players are making independent decisions, the GM sets the scenario. Game masters can have different names in different games – in Dungeons & Dragons it’s Dungeon Master – but their role is generally the same.
Role-Playing Games – The Favorites
The most popular and most recognized TTRPG is Dungeons & Dragons (a.k.a. DnD, D&D, etc.). It says so right on the book cover: “World’s greatest Role Playing Game”. But it’s not the only game in town – literally.
For younger players, there are an increasing number of options from the My Little Pony RPG to one of our in-house favorites for the 4+ set, Amazing Tales (Raf Cordero did an excellent write up for Geek & Sundry. Check it out!).
Also mentioned above is Call of Cthulhu which is based on the writings of H.P. Lovecraft and deals with mysteries, monsters, ancient demons, eldritch horrors, and more, as if you were truly immersed in an H.P. Lovecraft horror story.
There are sooo many fantastic RPG options available today. If you take nothing else away from this article, I hope you consider taking a closer look at the TTRPG genre. If you made it to the end of this blog, I’m certain you will find something that captures your imagination!
Where to Find Your Favorite RPG Accessories
Forged Gaming is your one-stop-shop for TTRPG accessories, metal dice sets DnD dice boxes,dice trays, dice towers, and more.
See all we have to offer today!