So you’ve decided to dabble in the exciting world of roleplaying – hurrah! – but don’t know where to start. You’ve read the articles, watched the videos, and even tried out a couple of the kits, but there’s still something nagging at the back of your mind. Maybe it’s the same for everyone, maybe not: whenever you pick up a roleplaying game, there’s always that annoying nagging voice inside your head, wondering whether or not to even bother.
Whether or not you decide to heed that voice, you need to realize that there’s more than one way to skin a cat. For those of us who do choose to go down that route, the options are endless: there’s actually a whole subculture of ‘how to roleplay’ dedicated to teaching neophytes the ins and outs of this fascinating hobby.
Whether you’re a seasoned pro or an aspiring beginner, this article will help you establish your own betting ring inside your virtual world. We’ll cover everything from how to choose your characters to how to handle the bets once the action has started.
Set The Scene
As the name would suggest, setting the scene is one of the first things you need to consider. You can either set the scene during the briefing before the game, or take the game’s opening moments as your opportunity to fully immerse yourself in the roleplaying experience.
The former is typically the best approach if you want your players to feel that their decisions and actions have meaning. The later, on the other hand, gives you the opportunity to just jump in and start playing without any real context. The best approach will depend on your personal preferences and the style of game you plan to run.
Know Your Character
To play an engaging role in a story, you need to know your character. The same goes for any fictional roleplaying game – that is, any roleplaying game that doesn’t include a complete backstory for each character. Ideally, you want to know enough about your character to have an idea of how they’ll react in any given situation. If you don’t have enough information to do this, then you need to consider whether or not you’re ready to dive into roleplaying.
Understand The Roles
In a standard roleplaying game, there are two distinct roles that the player assumes: the role of the protagonist, and the role of the antagonist. The protagonist is the character whose actions determine the story – whether good or evil, heroic or villainous. The antagonist, on the other hand, is a force of nature, or a character who opposes the protagonist. The antagonist can be good or evil, but their goals generally conflict with those of the protagonist.
These are the building blocks of any roleplaying scenario. Without either one of them, you can’t have a complete story. Take the Battle of Hogwarts as an example: it’s a well-known fact that JK Rowling’s inspiration for Harry Potter came from the Battle of Midway, and the inclusion of Rubeus Hagrid, who embodies the ‘mad hag’ archetype, perfectly fits within this context.
The roles are a little more complicated in web-based and mobile games, where it is possible to switch between multiple characters during the course of a single game. In these situations, it’s usually best to refer to the roles in terms of what each one can do for the protagonist – that is, what each one does for your chosen hero. This becomes important when it comes time to adjudicate on who wins or loses the game. For example, if you’re playing on a computer and one of your characters is hacked, what happens then? Who wins?
Depending on how much you want to know about your character, you can choose one of two different approaches. The first is quite the opposite of what you’d typically do as a real person. Instead of researching online to find out more about a subject, you’d usually turn to someone who knows more about it than you do. In the case of a computer, however, this could mean the internet – which might not be a good idea if, as a responsible adult, you don’t want to hand over your computer’s internet connection to just anyone.
The other approach is to simply make a list of everything you know about your character. If you do this early on, you don’t have to worry about forgetting anything once the game starts. Plus, it’s always nice to have a list of all the good and bad qualities you’re aware of.
Choose The Right Home Base
Depending on how immersed you want to get in the roleplaying experience, you can either play from the comfort of your home or from a remote server. Home-based games give you the flexibility to set the stage wherever you can imagine, while online games give you access to a potentially infinite number of players.
When playing remotely, the host generally operates all the devices connected to the network. In the case of a web-based game, this means that the host’s computer is acting as a server, while any devices you have – such as mobile phones and tablets – are clients.
The first step in setting up remote gaming is to sign up for a free account on a gaming platform such as Steam or Xbox Gaming. After you’ve done that, you can log in and set up your character. On the Steam side, you can choose from a variety of games, while the Xbox has a much larger catalog – generally meaning more options for you.
Once you’ve got your character set up, the next step is to look for groups or communities dedicated to playing your chosen game. You can do this either by searching for keywords within the Steam community, or by going through the game’s official website (for Xbox games).
Rules Of Engagement
Rules of engagement is one of the most important things to consider, especially if you’re playing online. Essentially, this is how you want the other players to behave. Since you’re essentially operating a court of law within a virtual world, you have the opportunity to create some ground rules – such as ‘don’t kill’ or ‘don’t steal’.
The former refers to having an acceptable behaviour in the game. For example, you could have a rule stating that players should never use foul language within earshot of other people. This is a nice way to enforce polite behavior among your virtual court – after all, nobody wants to play in a court where the judge is constantly shouting at the lawyers!
Stealing, on the other hand, is generally bad practice in any game, but it becomes a problem when other players are doing it. Whether or not you want to admit it, when someone is consistently pulling the rug from underneath you, it can get aggravating! The last thing you want is a game where the participants are constantly acting in ways that make the game less enjoyable for you and for the other players. Remember: the entire point of this exercise is to have fun!
There are actually several different approaches you can take when it comes to rules of engagement. For example, you could opt to have the judge only judge the crimes in question, while allowing the players to determine the punishment. Or, you could hand over complete control to a modder who will police their own version of justice.
Choose Your Weapons
Apart from setting the scene and knowing your character, one of the most important aspects of establishing a betting ring is choosing the right weapons. Unlike many other games, you won’t be using a sword or a gun to fight – that is, you won’t be shooting blanks or hitting air. Instead, you will be using special items called wagers, which you can pick up along the way.
The best way to find out which items to choose is by paying attention to what else is available. In the case of a Steam game, you can look at other players’ avatars to get an idea of what is (and what isn’t) useful. Another option is to look at the descriptions of the various items, as these can sometimes give you an indication of how the item will perform. If you want to be extra careful, you can also look at player reviews: this way, you can get a good idea of what other people think about the various items.
It’s important, as we’ve discussed, to be creative when it comes to roleplaying. If you can get creative with the names you give your characters, the setting, or the costumes you wear, then your roleplaying experience will be that much more enjoyable for all involved. This can also open up the doors for some really cool stories, which is certainly the point.