Let’s discover the basics of fantasy roleplay games, a.k.a. tabletop roleplaying games (TRPGs). These usually consist of a thick book of rules, a game master (GM), and a player or six.
I thought it might be nice to revisit this topic in light of the current plague. Fortunately, more vaccine jabs bring us back into social stability, but until you feel comfortable venturing into public socially, these tips can get you started with TRPGs.
I love TRPGs for their versatility. In no other game is a story tailored to individuals’ tastes and actions to the same extent. These games grow and weave around you as a player.
That may be why so many people gravitate toward them too. It’s been a popular pastime to gather for a regular game of wits and wackiness instead of digit dexterity.
We’ll start with the types of TRPGs available. This is by no means an exhaustive list. I’ve broken them down into Fantasy, Sci-Fi, and Vintage.
- Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) – available in many versions that released throughout the decades
- Pathfinder – this shoot off of D&D is a great alternative
- Magic the Gathering – is a card game that gets involved and addictive
- GURPS – yet another system to play
- Starfinder – shoot off of Pathfinder
- Doctor Who – I purchased this game and am still trying to decipher the rules. But the cover is pretty!
- Advanced D&D (AD&D) - D&D 3.5 – The generations have been kind to these releases. There are others like 4e. But that’s all I’ll say about that one.
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – Always a wild ride if you can find it, Dude!
Who should play?
There is a place for anyone at a table. However, not everyone is fit for every table. Be upfront about your playstyle with your GM and other players. It might take time to find the right table for you.
Most big games have a small, free set of rules on their official site. It’s usually just enough to get you hooked.
When in doubt, it is still preferable to get “The Box!” Almost every basic fantasy roleplay game has one. It comes with the basic rules, a fun adventure to get you started, and maybe even a premade character to ensure the quickest launch possible.
With all of these choices, it can be daunting to get started. Choose a game based on availability and what interests you. I’ve said it before. But you can’t get into a massive book of rules about a topic that doesn’t interest you.
For total Noobs, I would suggest D&D 5e. It’s simple to learn, adaptable to any setting, versatile to any player, and readily available at any store or online.
TRPGs are just the types of games that demand you play them.
If getting together in person is a challenge at the moment, there are a variety of ways you can still play the game. My husband and I often play one-on-one. We have one where he is the GM/DM and one where I am. We both enjoy playing a player character (PC) or two in each game.)
When you can’t play in person, technology has blessed us with virtual tabletops such as Roll 20. You don’t even need dice. There is a free or paid option complete with character tokens, maps, and player chat.
However, my favorite is to use my physical supplies and chat over Zoom with DND Beyond pulled up. No matter how you choose to get together, be ready for a great time.
I have found that I often play even when not rolling dice. We take our characters to the drive-thru because we can’t put them down. The Art Park is a favored spot for Monday morning games. Whether it’s making up story or researching character options, fantasy roleplay games are just the type of game that demands you play them.