How to Get Started Playing a RPG

So, you are interested in getting into Pen & Paper RPG but don’t know where to start.  Here is what you need to know first:

1: Find a system that you are drawn to.*

There are a lot of systems out there and a lot of variety of worlds those systems exist in.  From high fantasy, to Cthulhu, to space opera, to Victorian vampires.  There is probably a system out there in that world or you can use a genre neutral system that allows you to plop in whatever world you desire.  Not sure how to pick.  Think about books, movies, or video games that you are really drawn to.  Then find a system that is similar.  If you don’t like or get the world you will be gaming in it will be harder to enjoy the sessions.

2: Gather a group of friends to game.*

Which may be easier said than done.  If you don’t already have friends that are into gaming, bring it up and see if anyone is interested.  No current friends interested?  Check out your local game store.  They often have events for games or can help direct you to other local gamers.

*Note: steps 1 & 2 can be interchanged.  You could easily get a group together and then pick a system.

3: Designate a GM.

GM is short for Game Master.  This is the person who will organize, moderate, and be the officiant for the rules.  The GM also plays the NPC (non-player characters).  If you are working in a system that doesn’t use a designated GM it still might be good to have someone designated as the “organizer” to help be the go to person for scheduling and such.

4: Create your characters.

With the help of the GM and/or the other players.  Make your character.  Each system will have guidelines for constructing your character “by the numbers” to define the mechanics of each character.  The easiest way to get started is to come up with an idea of who you would like to play and then figure out how to make that character come to life with the system.  The reason you will want to involve the GM and/or the rest of the players is to help make sure your group will play well together.  Not only do you want characters that will have complimentary skill sets, but also who will tolerate each other.  Having a characters that will not cooperate with each other will create headaches down the road.  This does not mean everyone has to like each other.  Just work together to create a back story or find a reason early in the campaign for why each character knows and is working with each other.

5: Schedule and play your first session.

Figure out a time (usually several hours) and a place that everyone can meet and play the first session.  Make sure everyone will have room to sit and spread out any notes, books, or devices they will need.  Let the adventure begin!

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