For someone unfamiliar with the world of pen-and-paper RPGs the multitude of books and supplemental materials available can be daunting. This overwhelming feeling is what I believe keeps many people from ever trying to play an RPG. The truth is that you really need just a few things to get started with a game, so I’ve put together this super quick guide on the essentials needed to get you started.


1. Chose a Guide (Just One!)

Role Playing Games (RPG) are games designed to exactly what the genre says: put you in a role, and allow you to play out situations in that role. Most games start with character creation, where you get design and assume the role of a person/creature/robot that is ideally much stronger and cooler than regular old real you. You will be making decisions as your character for the extent of your adventure, so keep that in mind during the creation process.  

Often the stories you play through are referred to as “campaigns” or “quests”. Campaigns can be made up entirely by someone in your playgroup, or pulled from a handy-dandy guide. Back in the good old days, a somewhat creative person would have to come up with all the rules regulating combat and character progression which, as you can imagine, was very time consuming. Thankfully, today, the bajillion different guides each have their own rules (with some overlap here and there) so everything is laid out for you. This is the biggest reason you should get a guide. You really just need one guide to start, a core rulebook for whichever system you decide to give a shot. Maybe a small campaign guide too if you’d like. You can always collect more supplemental materials to expand your world if you enjoy yourself with the game you’ve chosen. Do you want to be an android-vampire with guns that shoot fireballs? There is probably a guide with systems that will help you accomplish that.

The great thing about enjoying a pen-and-paper RPG (as opposed to their video-game counterparts) is that ultimately you make all the rules. If you decide that the game is taking too long, or is too hard, just adjust the rules slightly to make things faster paced or simpler for you and your group.  The most important thing is that everyone is having fun.


2. Roll Them Dice!

Though the characters, worlds, and combat systems may vary drastically from game-guide to game-guide, one thing remains constant. Dice. Very few pen-and-paper RPGs can function or be played without dice. Dice add the element of chance and chaos to just about every decision one can make inside of the game. This is what allows every game system to remain unique and dynamic. Most RPGs require more than just your average 6 sided die, so conveniently packaged sets are the way to go for anyone who is just getting into the hobby.

3. Grab Your Friends!

Perhaps the most essential ingredient for any good time (not just the RPG kind of good time), friends are absolutely crucial when playing RPGs. In a traditional RPG one person will need to assume the role of the “Game Master” or “Dungeon Master”. The Game Master calls the shots, narrates your journey, and determines the obstacles, battles, and puzzles that your party will need to overcome along the way. Ideally you would have at least two people participating in the Game Master’s story, fighting baddies and deciding how their characters react in the given situations.  

If you’re having trouble convincing your friends to play with you, then have them read this guide. Maybe their just feeling overwhelmed like I mentioned earlier. If after reading this they still aren’t interested, then you should probably just get some new friends.

As always, Bookmans has everything you need to make sure you’re on the right track with your initial RPG excursion.  Just come in, ask any associate for help, and we’ll get you set up and pointed in the right direction!