RPG, For Me


Role-playing has always been a big thing for me: "House" as a kid, "Cops & Robbers" after that. When I first discovered the Internet in 1997 (go ahead and laugh), I stumbled upon "Yahoo! Chat" and before I knew it I was freeform role-playing online. The world it opened for me was immense.

Role-playing has always been a big thing for me: "House" as a kid, "Cops & Robbers" after that. When I first discovered the Internet in 1997 (go ahead and laugh), I stumbled upon "Yahoo! Chat" and before I knew it I was freeform role-playing online. The world it opened for me was immense.

I spent, perhaps, 4 years or more role-playing in Yahoo. I got pretty good at it, if anyone really can be considered "good" at such a thing. Based on Yahoo's, looking back on it now, rather ridiculous standards, I was practically top dog. I say practically because I was rather unpopular and that had a massive influence on the whole thing. Also, I wasn't devoted to anime.

What a batch of freaks, eh?

Moving along the line, I one day suggested to our friends we pick up this "AD&D" whatsit some of the more-known folks were talking about. And maybe even some of these "V:tM" games that seemed so popular. After another friend mentioned similarly, we decided this was worth a look. We were, after all, all in to RPGs, especially of the digital variety, so why not make the stories ourselves? It seemed logical.

On a visit to a high-end conglomerate bookstore, we stumbled across the hobbies aisle (which doubled as the anime/hentai aisle, strangely enough, and, actually, a lot of it was homosexual anime/hentai. What are they trying to tell us here?), and there it was. The 3rd Edition. We had absolutely no idea what this meant, but the cover art was better than the 2nd Edition stuff, at least to us, and it actually had a lot of books available. We grabbed all we could. That day we got a Player's Handbook, Dungeon Master's Guide, Monster Manual, big book o' class-specific character sheets, the Boxed Starter Set, and a few little boxes of dice. Luckily it was a friend's birthday and he elected to buy it all. Nice of him. He doesn't play anymore, so we "own" the books - I'll get to that later.

When we got home, we were in a bit of an argument: who would play first and who would "DM," as the books put it? I offered, once, but finally it was decided the friend's father would DM. Something of a mistake, we now realize. But at the time it seemed brilliant, so we went for it.

Our first adventure. I remember it well. We chose the pre-made characters offered in the starter kit, so we could get a feel for the game. Basic level-1 gung-hos out for treasure and fame. Sounded alright to me. I chose Regdar, because he had the biggest sword, a bitchin' longbow, and just looked like fun. Dave, the birthday boy, picked (and forgive me if I'm mistaken) Tordek, and Kyle (again forgive me if I'm mistaken) chose Eberk.

Adventure #1 from the starter kit was simple enough. Go find the Unicorn. Fairly certain we understood what there was to know about the rules, we entered. Step 1, roll initiative. . .okay, I won. What do we see, anyways? Four Goblins, eh? One in each corner? No problem! I swing at him! Which one? Um, that one, in the far corner. It had not occurred to us that strategic movement was a part of the combat process; we assumed we would be moving around as necessary. I caught this, thinking it was an error, as the little rule pamphlets inside the starter character sheets mentioned things like moving in combat, but it was disregarded.

Needless to say, on our first adventure, I, the Fighter, was slaughtered. This was terribly upsetting. Especially because Dave's father's idea of DMing was to look down, roll a d20, look up, point at me, say "5," and leave it at that. "5 damage?" I'd say.


"Oh. Alright. I'm about dead, can one of you heal me?"

He points to me again.


"5 more damage."

"Crap, that kills me. Are you sure we don't move in combat?"

"Pretty sure."

"Alright. Drag my body away, at least, guys."

They did. Such swell guys. Anyways, I picked another character (I believe Kerwyn this time), and we went through some adventures, leveled up, and had a grand old time. I used one of the character sheets we had gotten. They used paper. Why? Character sheets look too complicated. What a crock! They realized their error after a while, now deciding only to use character sheets. It's good to be right.

I took up being the DM next, and was much better at it than Dave's father. My adventures were, at least, fun, and my little habit of rolling up treasure when it was found led to some amusing little outbursts ("Gasp! A special treasure!"). Then there was the whole "trapped skeleton pocket" ordeal. They raid a skeleton's pockets, I roll treasure. Hey! An arrow trap; who am I to argue with the rules? Reflex save. Raid it again? Oh, hey, another arrow trap. Fear the skeleton pocket. It happened 5 times. Maybe I shouldn't have done that.

Speeding along a few years, we find we've played D&D for a long time now, D&D's fun, but we need to branch out. Enter the "RPG Club." An attempt at making a school club where fellow geeks and whatnot can gather and be someone they're not; an honest and necessary pastime these days that miserably failed because the school felt parents would rage against it. No sponsorship, no club. So we just met as students, every day in the band room and played RPGs. No one stopped us, so we continued. It was here I learned of games like Vampire: The Masquerade (fun, and a grand system, but I can't stand reading the books. And our Storyteller wasn't very good, either. Did I mention everyone played a guy in a black trench coat with two katanas, except, of course, for me? I could've sworn I did), Hunter: the Reckoning (see above, but my char got NPC'd one session and was killed by a ST that didn't know my character at all...), Children of the Sun (it looks like so much fun but I can't find books for it and the guy who brought it to us won't start a game! Curse him!), Fallout Pen and Paper (What a game! Possibly my favorite of the bunch! Play it, Argo commands you! No, I don't know who Argo is), and many others.

What, exactly, am I getting at? I'm not sure. Maybe you just wanted to know how a lump of a human being like me got into this hobby to end all hobbies. Maybe you wanted to hear the rant of some mildly crazy individual that shares your passion for tabletop gaming. Maybe this enlightened you. More likely, it confused you. I hope it was in some way entertaining. I'm just going to ramble on until this conclusion is of a moderate level of completeness, then slowly back away while it all sinks in and you realize how pathetic this little column of mine really is. I'll have something better for the lot of you next time.

Strange, ended up soewhat similar myself, though I had a bit of dicing under my belt before the freeform block. And still preffer the freeform block. Wont get into that. Just one commentary.

My D&D/RPG club started at church instead of school. The teachers actully were teaching kids using D&D because they paid attention to it.

People tell me this is weird.

Your church teachers taught with D&D? That's nothing short of amazing considering the "death to RPG" fanatics there are in other religious circles. But to your church, I say, congradulations.

That "death to RPG" thing is the exact reason we didn't get a real one at school... the fact that your church did it is certainly inspiring. Might I ask what religion this church was? Morbid curiosity. =D

Freeform's still a big thing for me, though anyone who looks at the freeform chat on Yahoo will find nothing but lesbian/yaoi rooms, slave auctions and other shenanigans I'd rather not get into. This is as of yesterday, the 26th, and I doubt it changed overnight.

If anyone's got a new place to freeform, though, I'd be glad to give it a look - it's really just been too long.

In addition to all of the great Role-playing games mentioned above, one of the two most felxible is liabel to start printing again after about 40 years (!). The Fantasy Trip was printed looooong ago, but the possibilities are practically endless. It had only one book. God that was a large book, and thank GOD for indexing. Basically it gave you a world, gave you 20+ PC races and a way to make others, along with many classes and skills. I'll never forget having my Halfling Cleric with skill Animal Handling take down an Ogre with a horde of ravenous opossums.
If TFT goes back to print or not you should look it up, and have some fun with it. Add some spice to your campaigns ;) TFT lets you use your imagination. Although I do recommend a hex map. And a good mind for when the 231 IQ (base 14 max) halfling tries to convince the tarrasque it doesn't exist. HALFLING POWER!

On a side note, you never mentioned RIFTS. Try that too ;P

TFT sounds pretty interesting, I'll see what I can find about it.

As for RIFTS, I'm trying (albeit not very hard) to learn about it (I've got the source book downloaded =D), but it'll probably have to wait until summer vacation (4 days away... oh yeah).

If you want to try something different and really fun, pick up a copy of Amber Diceless Role Playing. I've been role-playing for about 20 years, and it's my far-and-away favorite. There's only one supplement ("Shadowknight") and most people just ignore it, so it's cheap to get started, too.

The game is based on the Chronicles of Amber by Roger Zelazny (5 pretty short novels, the first one is "Nine Princes in Amber"). The GM should probably read them (and they rock!), but none of the players really need to.

Anyway, welcome to the world of role-playing, and thanks for a cool story!

I'll imagine your welcome is retroactively finding me 7 years in the past, so it means something. =D

Diceless RPGs... the difference between that and online freeforming would be that I speak the stuff instead of typing it, right? Just wondering.

Also, thanks and all.

There is a big difference between freeform on the web and a diceless RPG. Freeform tends to be totally freeform, while a diceless RPG still has solid mechanisms for task resolution, it just does not happen to involve a random element.

Acknowledged, Fandomlife, and forgive my ignorance.

Mugajak said:
In addition to all of the great Role-playing games mentioned above, one of the two most felxible is liabel to start printing again after about 40 years (!). The Fantasy Trip was printed looooong ago, but the possibilities are practically endless. It had only one book. God that was a large book, and thank GOD for indexing.

TFT is far and away my favorite RPG, though I should add I have tried nothing produced after about 1985. It was designed by Steve Jackson for Metagames (and Gurps is a slower more complicated descendant of it). It is very fast and simple, and quite robust, allowing for skills and roleplaying, but it definitely grew out of wargaming. Combat is fast, simple and deadly, but your movement and tactics are REALLY important.

Anyway, I still play it, and oddly it was originally a 3 book set, with NO INdex (Very frustrating) and there is no cleric in the game at all. But the game is simple and consistant, so every GM tweaks it a bit to their own taste, usually adding a house rules cleric.
There is a supplement (put out in 1980 or81 i thnik) called the CODEX which tried to index and organize the rules, perhaps that is the one well indexed book you recall.

Anyway it is a fine system, and if it ever gets reprinted I am all over it.

Cleric = Master Physicker. I had a grand master Physicker (additional rule set 4) with a +5 in bandaging skills. Heh. Healed up to 10 HP per round with gauzes, up to 8 with bandages, and got 2 dice off my rolls at plugging holes in someone's dying body. Came in very handy with a big meaty gargoyle in front of me lol.

The master Physicker you describe sounds like fun, and like a cleric, but is a major house rule (perhaps the book you recall is a private label house version) in the canon version a master physicker can heal 3 pts total of wonuds you recieved one combat encounter, and it takes him 60 rounds to do it. TFT combat is deadly. TFT healing is slow. Everyone thinks twice before fighting, which is part of why I loike it so much - it is almost impossible to Munchkinize.

I witnessed my first RPG at my catholic school cafeteria, in the early 1980s. I was hooked. We'd play at lunch everyday, right there on the old stained tables.

Funny thing is, nobody realized what we were really doing with all those funny dice and "satanic" books. It took a few more years for the word to get out to our wee corner of the world that we were corrupting our very souls.

By then, it was too late.


AHOYHOY! Well...wish I could say that I'm into D&D, but I can't. Unfortunately, even if I could somehow get into it, no one here to play with. I'm stuck with freeform, although it does have its charms... Looking back to when i began (Just 2 years after you, E) I remember the grand style of T2. First and worst. By the time really roleplaying finally came into focus, Kellindil was gone, and the Newbs had overrun Ayenee. So ends the tale of a long, lost RPG chat. But welcome to the first-timer's club, E, as I just published my first article not too long ago. In the process of totally rewriting my next one >.<. Peace!

T2, Kellindil, Ayenee... I still remember those things. I did T1, myself, but that's beside the point entirely, I think. Thanks for the welcome, looking forward to seeing your next article.

Concerning your trouble with no one to play with, I'd suggest visited www.openrpg.com and downloading that software - play your favorite tabletop games with folks from around the world.

End shameless plug. =)

Further extentions of comment on first degree, and responses to questions as I am able to give them:

Apologies for the delay, I have the tendancy to post somewhere (OOCly, haha) and forget about it in leeway for RPing. For those of you looking for new Free form homes, I have a few places to suggest.

Shards: http://shards.dyndns.org/cgi/shards.cgi
One of the more imaginitive places I've played in, or at least it was for a while. There are a thousand or so rooms last I checked, but only 14 or so are instantly avalible. A character would have to go through a series of pull down lists to find a room he or she wanted, Inspiring people to ctually roleplay traveling from one world to the next.

Too bad most the shoobies Ignore that aspect completely. I got to know the guy who works on running the entire operation as a hobby from his compputer. It still has its draws and tweaks, plus imaginitive Pathfinders (People who inspire RP plots)... Anyway.

SilverCrossings: www.silvercrossings.net
A place I show up on most frequently. Mostly hang out in The Nexus as they keep their room relitivly uncensored as long as people are respectful of eachother. Avens is a nice little location as well. Theres a few dice systemed rooms in there as well.

Theres also Etheral Realms, Illusionary Minds Chat and (FAKE) WBS all with similar interfaces but generally diffrent user bases. I've been sitebanned from (FAKE) WBS though. Last I checked, administration was pretty snooty there.

Theres always your IRC options. Most the games you'll find are medevial holes of flirtatios.. r.. people. Nice words, must use nice words.. *Cough* But there are some all genre rooms as well, such as #Therealmofkaerwynn on Sorcery. Sci-fi freaks can hit up Esper for #Dimension-Jumpers (Which has too much anime for my taste) or.. Hmm.. Cant remember the server that had #HQ at the moment. Medevial lushes can hit #Tree*of*Mystics on Sorcery as well. Nice ops, but it could use more players.

Just some idle reccomondations.

Theres also Avid Gamers, a site full of messages boards and a lot of roleplay has been popping up there. I've been out and abot tormenting the vampire players with a character that is a mix of Freeform, VTM and knowledge from the Antia Blake books (boy is it fun too, bwahaha).

Unitatian Universalists. They encouraged us to play M:TG in its childhood as well. For the younger kids when Pokemon TCG chowed up, all the church did was have us older kids mediate the games so no one would throw a tantrum. MageKnight and Magi-Nation didnt last long though. MK figures broke too fast and MN wasnt sold in enough stores to catch on. Ofcourse, then theres the Shadowrun group. Going over to one of the most uptight religious mother's houses and huddling around a table, talking guns and what ammo did what to which target, how to ruthlessly slaughter werewolves and so on...

She was just glad we werent screaming at the tops of our lungs while playing Smash Brothers.

Go figure.

I've been rping for about 5 years now. I first saw rp in coolchat in the Dungeon room...that was the best friggin room i've ever chatted or rp'd in. Now ofcourse coolchat has changed...and it changed for the worse. i haven't been able to find a room like that since. It would be nice to find some of the old Dungeongoers.

Thanks for the great article. I had my begginings in online chat rping, as did many. However, I am quite 'young' by many of your standards, and luckily, had an uncle with a vested background in D&D.

Needless to say, I was hooked before I could spell it. It took some time to get off some games, starting with old school Robotech and CyberPunk, but eventually worked my way into mainstream and now, 3rd ed is my prime set.

Enough about me. I joined a videogame forum that just happened to share its area with roleplayers. I was a madcat on freeform after that, with one rule. The more descriptive you were in your assault, along with your number of....assaults, the more output you basically had. I retired when the nearest competitor was a paragraph to short every round. ;) Thus, my DMing skills were distinguished fromt he normal rabble, and well. Here I am. Sorry if my typing got out of hand, but I am quite amazed at the number of dicechuckers with beginnings in online freeform.

Go here if you want to remember the past


Hello all!

Eh, saw the post about Coolchat and the Dungeon...and couldn't quite resist. If you remember LadySassyK or know of some orginal from that room that does remember me, feel free to give them my information. Would be great to meet up again.