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Independent Study Project On Role Playing Games

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What are Role Playing Games? Quite simply, RPG's are games where
YOU assume the role of a different person. Then, you with other
adventurers, must play that role in the setting in which the game takes
place. Playing and RPG is much like acting, only you don't know what is
going to come next.

RPG's utilize at least 3 players. One, called the Game Master,
or Dungeon Master, is the person who runs the game. He is "the umpire,"
who decides where the players are going and who knows everything about the
adventure. The GM is a storyteller, who is relaying the story to the
players, who make the decisions. RPG's are like one big Choose-Your-Own-
Adventure story, only the choices are infinite.

The other 2 people are the players. They are the ones who make
all of the decisions in the game. For example, the GM might describe to
them a room, and in the room are a desk, a shelf with books, and a rack
with lots of vials and bottles. The players then have a choice to leave
the room, explore the desk, shelf, and rack, take whatever they want,
destroy everything, etc. Any of these decisions could result in something
good to the player or bad. "Every action has an opposite and equal

How do RPG's work? Basically, they are a story being told. Each
player has their own character, who they are playing, or acting in the game.
Each character has their own strengths and weaknesses. Below is shown
part of a character sheet. A character sheet is where all information on
the character is shown. This includes things like reaction time, strength,
intelligence, etc.


In this RPG, there are 7 Main Attributes. Each Main Attribute is
then sub-divided into smaller secondary attributes. Here, we will describe
the most important main attribute, the physical attributes.


STRENGTH: The amount of power, or strength, a player has. This is a
generic term, used in general. (Lifting boxes, hurting people's hands when
shaking them, physical bulk, etc.)

ATTACK STRENGTH: This is the amount of strength the player can exert when
attacking someone. Since combat is an integral part of any RPG, this
attribute is very important. This is even more important if the player is
assuming the role of a fighter, who engages in combat more often than a
wizard, for example. An attack strength of 1 out of 48 would not give much
power, if any, when a person is attacking, but an attack strength of 48 out
of 48 out surely kill, or seriously injure, anyone when hit. Attack
strength does not count the skill at which the person can attack. If a
person blindly swings at someone with their sword, the chance of hitting
them is adjusted, from say, 50% when properly focused and alert to 10% when
attacking blind. A lucky hit though, when swinging blind, would still
inflict the same damage as when swinging alert. Only the chance of hitting
the enemy would change.

DEFENSIVE STRENGTH: This is the opposite of attack strength. Defensive
strength regulates how much a person can defend themselves. For example,
if the defensive strength is 1 out of 48, one hit from an attacker would
kill the person. In contrast, with a defensive strength of 48 out of 48, a
hit would not hurt the player very much if at all, because they can defend
themselves very well. As in attack strength, skill is not counted in the
way a person can defend themselves. If a person is prone and lying down,
and only has their hands to defend themselves, the attacker would have an
adjustment made to how they attack the person. For example, if the
attacker, when attacking the person normally, had a 25% chance of hitting,
when the person was prone, the attacker would then have a 80% chance of
hitting. The amount of damage inflicted is still the same though, as

OFFENSIVE TOTALS: This is a numerical constant used in determining other
attributes, even those other than physical. It is also a measure used in
combat, used as an adjustment in dice rolls to determine wether an attempt
at a hit is successful.

DEFENSIVE TOTALS: This is the complete opposite of the offensive totals. It
is a numerical constant used in determining other defensive oriented
attributes. It is also used in combat as a defensive adjustment in the
dice rolls used to determine wether an attempt at a defense to a hit is

PHYSICAL TOTALS: This is also a numerical constant used in determining
other generic physical attributes. For example, physical totals could be
divided by five (five is the amount of dice rolls it takes to determine the
physical totals) to determine the amount of time a person can carry their
own weight.

SIZE: Size is how big the person is. This can be rolled with dice, but
usually it is a judgement made by the Game Master, according to the other
physical attributes. For example, if a player's strength was 30, his
attack strength 40, and defensive strength 45, his size in real life would
probably be that of a large offensive lineman in football. If then size is
rolled according to dice, and he rolled a 2 out of 24, which would be equal
to the size of a small dog, it wouldn't make sense. Therefore, size is
usually determined by the Game Master. The true size of the player above
would probably be around 18 or 19 out of 24.

RUNNING SPEED: This is determined by half of the attack strength. This is
the top speed at which the character can run. To determine how long they
can maintain this speed, you further divide it by 4. Any decimals are
rounded up. For example, if the attack strength is 32, the run speed is 16.
The top speed the person can run at is 16 meters per five seconds. When
you further divide it by 4, it means they can maintain the speed of 16
meters per five seconds for four minutes.

JUMP POWER: This is determined by multiplying the running speed by three
then dividing by two. For example, if the running speed is 10, multiplying
it by 3 would equal 30, and divided by 2 would be 15. Jump power is how
high the person can jump and the speed at which they can do it. Speed is 2
thirds of the Jump Power, and how high the person can jump is 1 third. So,
if the Jump Power is 15, it would take the person 10 seconds of run up to
jump five meters. This can then be divided accordingly.

PHYSICAL COMPARISON TO I.Q.: This is determined by dividing the physical
totals by two. For example, if the physical total is 40, then the Physical
Comparison to IQ would be 20. Physical Comparison to IQ is basically how
dumb the person looks. If the person's Physical Comparison to IQ is 13,
the person would look like a stereotype of "a dumb jock." If the person
then has an IQ of 200, this would sometimes prove favourable, as most of
the time, others would underestimate the person's intelligence.

CARRY WEIGHT: This is determined by getting the strength and multiplying it
by 5. This is the amount of kilograms a person can lift. This is then
multiplied by four minutes to get how long the person can lift it.

Above are just some of the attributes in a role playing game. As
you can see, every aspect of real life is duplicated in the character a
person plays. The object of the game when making a character is getting it
to be as realistic as possible.

After a character's attributes are determined, the game can get
started. For the purposes of example, we will assume that there are 3
players in a dungeon.

The game has begun. After the GM has described a room, the
players are left to fend for their own.

GM- In this room is a large wooden ark. The room itself is huge-painted
brilliant white and gold. A couple of bones of unknown animals are
scattered about the room, and on the ark. Player 1- I examine the ark. GM-
A loud booming voice screams:"LEAVE MY ARK ALONE! OUR JOURNEY MUST
CONTINUE!" Player 2- "WHAT IS YOUR JOURNEY?" GM- (As the voice in the ark)
Two Handed sword and swing at the ark. GM- Ok. Since your Weapon Rating is
12, you get a 12% bonus on your chance of attack success. (rolling dice)
You make your attack. The ark splits straight down the middle, releasing a
green gas into the air. You all start to choke and gag. Player 2- I fall
to the ground, and cover my face. GM- Ok. The rest of you, you are both
affected by the gas. Make an Affect Roll to see if you get affected by the
gas. Player 3- (rolling dice) I was standing 2 feet from the ark, so I get
-2 on my roll. (rolls dice) Nope, the gas doesn't affect me. GM- And you?
(motions to player 1) Player 1- (rolls dice) Nothing happens to me. GM-Ok.
When the gas clears, a huge blue mist envelopes all of you. After that mist
has cleared, 3 huge Xanthor warriors are standing before you. They stand
there, solid and gleaming in their electroplate armor. They hold huge
pistol gripped Electrified Swords. Player 3- I rush the one in the lead, my
sword pointed out to impale him. GM- (rolls some dice) No luck. Your sword
bounces off of his armor. You see a huge fold in the tip of your sword.
Since it is useless from a foot to the tip, you lose 5 points on every
attack roll you make when using the sword. The leader, in retaliation,
crashes his sword into your shoulder. You fall back, dazed, and your
shoulder bleeding heavily through your Leather Armor. You have no feeling
in your right arm.....

That was just a taste of what a role playing game is. As you can
see, it is highly organized, as each person takes a turn, or one action,
each in turn. In combat, everyone is given equal opportunity to attack.

RPG's are almost self working. You just have to have a Game
Master, or storyteller, with a good imagination to tell a story. Then you
have the players, who are the listeners and who make the decisions. And
then you have the story itself, in which the characters are based. Below
is given a flow chart of how RPG's work:

The RPG is not a game in the true sense of the word. There are no
winners or losers. To be successful in the game, players must cooperate
rather than compete. It is amusing to watch how people's personalities
come out in a game. One might be always greedy, wanting more than his fair
share of the gold, while one might always rush headlong into battle,
lusting for blood!


The Role Playing craze began with the creation of Dungeons and
Dragons in the late seventies. People loved the idea of the game, a game
where you could shed your normal skin and become a person of their wildest
fantasies. The original Dungeons and Dragons game ...

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