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

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.

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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.

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JB

Author: JB

I'm an old school DM. I code / write to help my sons on the Autism Spectrum. You can learn more about me at: JeanBorde.com or some of my other sites on our international network.

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