The Mind's the Limit

It's important for a reader of this blog to realise that I am a massive fan of Role Playing Games (RPGs). In fact, 'massive' is an understatement of considerable measure: I have played them for most of my life, as long as I can find a group willing to get involved. For those of you that don't know what an RPG is or how it is played it is important for you to get a definition: firstly, the traditional RPG is also referred to as a table-top paper 'n' pencil game. It is played with dice, paper, pencil, a few friends and a lot of imagination, on the odd occasion, some player groups might incorporate minatures, maps and other accessories, but otherwise they are not necessary to play the games. Other differences between RPGs and other analog games is that there isn't necessarily an ultimate goal, one of the participants will be designated as the Games Master (GM), Dungeon Master (DM) or Storyteller (or unaffectionately 'that git that keeps playing God') who effectively plays every other character the players encounter and, last but certainly not least, the utter reliance on the imagination of the players and their ability to accept the story (or lack thereof) that the GM / DM has invented. Each player will have the opportunity to create a character of their own devising befitting of the game genre (ie. fantasy, futuristic, superheroes, etc). Once they are all done, and the GM has imagined up a story of some description, is confident with the rules and also has made a few statistical and detailed preparations, the game begins. The GM sets the scene and describes the conditions in to which the Player Characters (PCs) will be involved and, throughout the story, provides a selection of obstacles, of varying calibres, to test the characters. In many instances the game campaign (the term used to describe a series of sessions using the same characters) could compare to a television series: a similar motif, repeating non-player characters (NPCs) such as villains and character development through an experience system - the character grows and becomes more competent or develops new skills and strengths, but can also equaly acquire disadvantages, undergo trauma or, in extreme cases, get killed. Ultimately, roleplaying games give the players the opportunity to be the heroes of the story, the protagonists (or antagonists depending on how you're playing...) and generally get to play out completely hypothetical scenarios for fun. I prefer them to the roleplaying games that you find on PC, Xbox and Play Station because they require imagination and the options to complete the adventure aren't spoon-fed to you by some moron writer that's getting paid significantly more than they're worth (cough, cough, mass effect 3, cough...) and that, in that annoying moment when the electricity gets cut off, you don't have to worry about saving your game in case you lose all of your progress. And more over, where do you think the system designers, programmers and writers got their ideas from in the first place? Playing other video games? HAH! :p