It is called “Role-play” not “Dice play”

It is called "Role-play" not "Dice play"
Do you know how to role-play?

Playing with the words “role-play” and “dice play” is purposeful. What I am sharing in this article relates to the way people perceive role-playing games (“RPG” for short) especially text based role-playing.

Back in the days of D&D basic red box from the 1980s the rules of the game were simple and the character sheet very easy to understand. The idea then was to spend time imagining and role-playing a character to have fun. As time progressed it seemed that every version of D&D (other systems included) decided to become more complex by making it “Advance” or tacking on higher version numbers: 2, 3, 3.5, 4, 5… get my point?

A Degree In Role-playing

Many role-playing games of today require you to read thick manuals, understand statistics and matrices and tally up numbers as though it were an algebra class: “You get a +2 for X but a -1 because you’re character is a Y.” This new system of play was meant to make each character more specific and unique but what it also does is causes players to focus more on dice and rules rather than actual role-play.

In the ‘old days’ of table top gaming we usually played a character via a role-played choice. For instance, if your character tries to listen in a dark dungeon you would say in character, “Shh… I need to listen to what’s beyond this door” then you would roll some die and your dungeon master would either say what you heard or the classic “You didn’t hear anything”.

When you played a class (fighter, magic-user, cleric…) you played more with a visual mind of your character’s abilities rather than a rule set that constantly dictated your every move.

Making Fun Very Complicated

In games of today there are big arguments about what a character can and cannot do, which version of the rules you are playing and if you are using the correct dice, bonuses, etc. One would almost need a diploma in how to play a modern day RPG in order to please all the gaming geeks that have spent hours studying the manuals of the game.

Wasting time on making sure you are playing ‘right’ also takes away from the fun of the game. It also limits who you can play if you are busy making games exclusive. While there is nothing wrong with having games set the way you want them you need to make sure you are not indirectly excluding others. That may work when you invite your friends to YOUR home for table top play but online its a different story.

Do not get me wrong, I am not saying that dice should not be involved, but that is supposed to be a guide to an action’s outcome rather than the reason for an action or the game itself. Dice is a tool to help in role-play, the dice and rules are not the center of the game unless you make it that way.

Lets Make This Asynchronus

Since we are on time… our busy lifestyles do not always allow tabletop or online live playing. The method of using text based RPGs is one of the best solutions as was covered in What Is Play By Post Role-playing?

Basically, you use text to record your character’s actions. Other players read it at their convenience and then respond. Even playing via this method can cause some RPG nerds to nitpick every rule known to man and bring you up for “not playing properly”. Ever played a new game where the players kept telling you how wrong you were or how incorrect are your game moves? Not a nice feeling is it?

An Unique System Like None Else

This is where games like Ruler Of Kings II (“ROK II” for short) comes in. First, you can play on your own, anywhere, anytime with no special apps or having to download anything. All you need is an internet connection and any browser. You can create a guided character as detailed as you want without knowing any rules or having to roll dice because it is all done for you!

The good thing about ROK II is it also allows interactive play with other players. You can go to the tavern, have a drink, take a challenge or just say “howdy” to other player characters in the area. No one will look down on your character for not playing right because you will be calling the shots about how you play the game. Its like a game within a game. A full list of features can be read here.

Let’s Do This By Play By Post

Soon, ROK II will be hosting play by post games (“PBP” for short) where you create a character via the automated system and then join in a game with other players at anytime. When an action or combat has to take place it all becomes automated so you can concentrate on actual role-play and not rolling dice to play.

Now, I often read people say things like “Play by post? That’s so old!” when you mention this type of play system. Such ignorance abounds in people so caught up in the digital age. They have forgotten how to read, write and do not understand the pleasure in meticulously detailing character actions that cannot be done in a live group. Leave them be, you and I know where its at. *wink* Start here.

Browser Text Games

Browser Text Games
Browser Text Games

Text games played on your browser

Text Browser Games refer to any kind of game played via your web browser (Internet Explorer, Chrome, FireFox, etc). The game itself is based on written content or simply “text”. In other words, you are playing a game that is story centered. For instance, a browser text game could have a main theme of medieval fantasy. You will play the part of a knight that has to make correct choices to rescue the princess or slay the dragon. This has been explained more in the article: Writing Your Own Exciting Fantasy Adventure Now. Normally, you will play this via a visually intense video game, however in a text based game you let the words of the story bring everything to life. Through your mind’s eye, better known as your imagination, the world is more vast than in the video variety.

What types of browser text games are there?

There are many categories of browser text games such as plain text stories as already described or limited graphics where a 2D character walks around a 2D world using text to communicate with in game characters. Some game creators have also created vast worlds and stories that allow you to not only read the story but create the story as well. This is very much apparent in a game called, “Ruler of Kings II RPG“. Ruler of Kings II or “ROK II” for short is a medieval fantasy game that you play via your browser. In this game you start a story that involves your character. As you read the story you make choices and take certain actions towards the progression or digression of your character. Thus, the game becomes a story and takes shape into your own miniature novel.

What do I have to install to play?

You do not need to install anything! The simplicity of this kind of game is what makes it so attractive. All you need to have is the following:

  1. A web browser on your phone or desktop
  2. An internet connection, it doesn’t even have to be very fast
  3. The ability to read and in some cases write what actions you want for your character
  4. Sit back and enjoy!

Are point and click games the same as text browser games?

Yes and no, it all depends on which text browser games you are playing. Some text games allow you to point and click at predefined actions that take you to another part of the story. Other game may focus on the fact that you must come up with the answer. An example of this is typing the word “north” to go north. More dynamic games like Ruler of Kings II has a little of everything to keep it unexpected so you do not get used to doing one kind of play method via your browser.

Funding Your Awesome Text Role-Playing Game

Funding Text RPGs
Funding Text RPGs

Funding builds Text RPGs

Funding allow you to build, thus Text based role-playing games like ROK II needs funds. It would be nice to live in a world where everything came  free but the truth is to create such an elaborate game the time and money has to come from somewhere. There are many methods that can be employed for raising fund for a Text RPG but only some may work for you. In my particular case, as an Autism Parent I am severely limited to online funding where time allows, however in this article I will outline some of the methods you can use to raise funds.

Where is the best place to get funds?

The best place to get funds are from those already involved in your game or community (members / players / developers). No one knows what you want to achieve better than the aforementioned already playing it or involved in the development. They can see what is happening and are therefore more willing to help you raise funds.

Funding from other places

If you have already exhausted your immediate circle then consider the friends and associates of that circle. People often get involved in things that bring them happiness but may not share what they are doing with others. Get your immediate circle to share what you are doing with your Text RPG so others can can come on board.

You can also try the following if you have a good marketing strategy:

  1. Crowdfunding allows you to directly advertise your project to people who may be willing to fund it. Keep in mind that there are many others who are also looking for funding like you are so it may be a hard sell. There are third party groups that claim that they can spread the word about your funding needs for a fee. They claim that they can inform a certain group of people that are more likely to fund your project but I have never personally tried this. Places like Kickstarter, Indiegogo and so forth are popular hubs for raising funds.
  2. Social groups related to the theme of your project will probably like to know about it but watch out for their rules as they may consider it spamming.
  3. Companies that build games may be willing to sponsor some funding if they can get their name involved or feel that it will help their own company to grow.

How long will my funding last?

People like an explosion in something new and then the excitement tends to die slowly as time passes. This is because the gaming market is very saturated with something new coming out everyday. Its important to gain as much funding as you can during the initial development or release phase. Good luck with your game.

Do you need funding for your own Text RPGs?

Yes, I do. We have a big need for ROK II funding and have setup a special page for anyone willing to become a backer.

Character Name Choices For Your RPG

Choose Character Name
Choosing your character’s name.

Choose A Good Character Name

You’re ready to choose a character name for a role-playing game in which¬† you want to participate. Your character’s name has the same importance as your name. A character’s name sets the stage for the kind of aura your character is carrying.

Let’s look at a couple of examples to see how this is true. You are in a medieval fantasy campaign and create a very muscular six foot 4 inch tall male barbarian with the name of… “Wimpy”. That doesn’t match very well now does it? How about this one, you create a female elf thief with amazing dexterity and name her “Clumsy”. While these names are obvious for their incompatibilities we can also look at other names that do not match. “Tumper the Doomslayer” who happens to be a very weak but intelligent first level magic-user.

How To Select A Character’s Name

As a general rule, when selecting a name for your character keep this in mind:

Make sure your character’s name matches your character’s background, purpose, class and attributes.

Therefore, it actually makes sense to first fully create the character and then select the name rather than the other way around. This may not always be possible where a character’s name is required before the character is built such as in the detailed character building process of ROK II. In that case, you will need to consider the kind of character you will ultimately be creating and a suitable name for him / her.

Should I Select Both A First And Last Name?

Yes you should, but if you have to think so much or think too hard just make it a good first name. Some dungeon masters may not need a last name. You can also use a title rather than a first or last name. For instance, you can be “Dr. Stephen” or “Sgt. Mack” if you are in a modern role-playing game. For medieval fantasy you can choose “Tack the Slicer” or “Melodee the Priestess”. The title can really add a lot to your character’s aura and be very good for role-playing introductions with other player characters and NPCs. In systems like ROK II , there are set titles from which to choose from.

Where Can I Get Character Name Ideas?

One of the best places to come up with some names if you are playing a middle ages theme are history books. There are a lot of historical records of the world’s monarchies and their genealogical lineage. These should give you plenty of ideas when naming your character. For science fiction think of the latest space movies. You can use modern names as wll just tack on something techie like “John the Computer Engineer”. How about someone picking the name for you? For faster access to a name or name generators consider these:

If you look up a name and discover its meaning it can play into your character’s background. Good luck with thinking up a unique character name. Feel free to comment with ideas for good name combinations that you’ve used in the past.