Saturday 28 March 2015

The Trollish Delver has been around for six years!

This one completely slipped my mind due to being busy and also finding that doorway to another realm in my closet, but March 11th was this blog's sixth birthday. Six years old! 

I just wanted to take this time to thank all my readers for sticking with me, for commenting and for emailing. Also, for everyone who is doing amazing things with USR - whether it's playing it in their weekly game, using it as a teaching aid or creating new and wonderful materials for it, I'm honoured that people are still into my little game.

Anyway, raise your glass and here's to another six years, when everything will be holograms and stuff.

Halcyon Fantasy - a USR concept game

Halcyon Fantasy

The core concept behind Halcyon Fantasy is to emulate the feeling of playing old school fantasy games using the USR engine. Consider this an 'OSR' game for USR. It's all about dungeon delving, getting loot and killing monsters.

Download the free USR 2.0 rules to get started.

Character Creation

Feel free to random roll 1d4 a character archetype, or pick for yourself:

1. Warrior
2. Mage
3. Thief
4. Priest

Warrior: Stout and hardy - great in a fight. You will be on the frontline, hacking at whatever gibbering creature you're facing that day. Warriors must have a d10 in Action. They gain a default +1 to all attacks and an extra 3 Hits when created and levelling up. Warriors do not have a limitation on what weapon or armour they have use.

Mage: A mage has unlocked the secret power of the nine winds, which has given them the ability to use magic. Mages must have a d10 in Wits. They have access to a magic spell each level. Mages cannot use weapons with bonuses above +1 or armour with bonuses below -1.  See spells below:

Lvl 1: Create light - use one action to create light that shines in a 30ft radius. Can be extinguished at will.
Lvl 2: Electric spike - use one action to fire a bolt of electricity at an enemy. Attack die is d10. Does +3 damage on a hit. Can be used once per combat.
Lvl 3: Slumber - Make a contested Wits attack against 1d6 enemies within 20ft. If you succeed, the enemy affected falls asleep for 1d10 minutes. Does not affect enemies with 20 Hits or higher. Can be used once per day.
Lvl 4: Inferno - Makes a d10 attack against 1d6 enemies within 30ft. If inferno hits, an enemy takes an extra 3 damage. Can be used once per combat.
Lvl 5: Invisibility - you are able to turn invisible for 1d10 minutes. While invisible any attack made against you receives a -5 penalty. Can be used once per day.

Thief: Lurking in the shadows, thieves are experts in dismantling traps, picking locks and moving without being noticed. Thieves must have 1d10 in Wits. Thieves can use all weapons, but cannot wear armour with a bonus below -2. Thieves receive a +3 Wits bonus to picking pockets, picking locks, moving silently and disarming traps.

Priest: The holiest of beings, priests have answered their calling to their god and have been bestowed with the power to bless those in need. Priests must have d10 in Ego. They are able to use their blessing a number of times a day depending on their level to heal themselves or another 1d6 hits. Priests are able to use any weapon and any armour.

Lvl 1: once per day
Lvl 2: twice per day
Lvl 3: four times per day
Lvl 4: six times per day
Lvl 5: eight times per day.


Just like in old school fantasy games, Halcyon Fantasy has the player choose from a selection of races.

Either roll 1d4 or select from the list below:

1. Human
2. Dwarf
3. Elf
4. Halfling

Human: Just like you and me, humans are adaptable beings that are able to master a variety of different skills. A human begins with an additional Specialism or a +1 bonus to an existing specialism.

Dwarf: Hardy, squat beings with long beards and gruff voices. Dwarves are proud of their heritage and rarely venture out of their underground kingdoms. Dwarves are able to see in the pitch dark up to 30ft. Dwarves gain an extra +1 Hits each level.

Elf: Denizens of the great forests of the world, elves are noble beings in tune with nature. Elves gain a +1 to attacks when using bows or daggers. An elf is able to use a small animal to relay messages to other people within 10 miles.

Halfling: These small beings are about half the size of even a dwarf, but their size gives them great advantages. Halflings gain a +1 Action bonus to moving silently. They are also able to appraise treasure in order to find its accurate value.

Adventuring Gear

Each archetype begins with the following amount of gold:

Warrior: 23 gold
Mage: 25 gold
Thief: 27 gold
Priest: 20 gold

Sword (+2) 50 gold
Dagger (+1) 15 gold
Shortbow (+1) 20 gold
Longbow (+2) 70 gold
Heavy mace (+3) 200 gold
Cloth armour (-1) 10 gold
Leather armour (-2) 50 gold
Chain armour (-3) 200 gold
Plate armour (-4) 500 gold
Onyx armour (-5) 1000 gold
3 x torches: 1 gold
Rations for 3 days: 1 gold
Backpack: 1 gold
Tent and camping equipment: 3 gold

Magic Items
Magical items and equipment are hard to come by and rarely found traded in towns and cities. Below is a sample of the kinds of magic items the adventurers can come across.

Sword of the Dreadflame: +3, when this weapon harms an enemy, they are set on fire for 1d6 rounds, taking 2 Hits per round.

Healing Tincture: One use. Heals 1d10 Hits.

Crown of Darksight: The wearer is able to see perfectly in pitch darkness as if it were daylight.

Boots of Bull Might: The wearer gains the specialism Bull Might +2 (Action), which gives a bonus any time the character has to make a strength-based roll. The wearer loses the specialism if the boots are removed.

Gauntlets of Flight: The wearer is able to fly up to 30ft in the air.

Bracers of the Necromancer: The wearer is able to call an undead servant from the ground for 1d6 hours. The servant will obey all commands made by the wearer. The servant has Action d6, Wits d6, Ego d6, Hits 4, Attack: claws +1. A servant may be summoned once per day and if a new servant is summoned, the other crumbles into dust.

Longbow of Prosperity: +2. If an enemy is killed by this weapon, their treasure value is tripled.

Creature Catalogue

The following are sample monsters that the adventuring party may come across on their travels.

Giant Rat
Action d6, Wits d6, Ego d6
Attack: Bite +0
Hits: 2
Treasure: 1 gold or equivalent

Action d6, Wits d8, Ego d6
Attack: Crude blade +1
Hits: 5
Treasure: 5 gold or equivalent

Action d8, Wits d8, Ego d6
Attack: Sword +2
Hits: 7
Treasure: 8 gold or equivalent

Action d10, Wits d6, Ego d6
Attack: Massive club +2
Armour: -1
Hits: 13
Treasure: 15 gold or equivalent

Action d8, Wits d8, Ego d6
Attack: Sword +2
Armour: -1
Hits: 10
Treasure: 9 gold or equivalent

Action d8, Wits d6, Ego d8
Attack: Claws +3
Hits: 13
Treasure: 14 gold or equivalent
Special: Regenerate - Trolls gain 2 Hits every combat round up to their maximum Hits value.

Action d10, Wits d10, Ego d10
Attack: Fire breath +6 (range 40ft)
Armour: -4
Hits: 30
Treasure: 40 gold or equivalent
Special: Fly - dragons can fly up to 100ft in the air.

Tuesday 24 March 2015

Slackers - a USR concept game

Mallrats 2, guys! Actually, I'm generally seeing a tonne of hate for Kevin Smith and his View Askewniverse, but I don't care because I love those flicks.

A while back I was noodling with creating a game called Slackers - a while before USR - that would emulate films like Clerks, Dude Where's My Car? and Mallrats. Aptly, I put Slackers together but never got around to publishing anything.

Can Slackers be done with USR? I'm not sure, but that's not going to stop me from trying. You'll have to download USR 2.0 for free to play along at home.

Slackers: A USR Concept Game

Create a character or whatever

In Slackers, you play a regular schmo - average or below. You're probably young, poor and things don't tend to go well for you. You've probably just starting out on the job ladder that you hate and not many friends. Think Jay, Silent Bob, Randall and Brodie. Oh, and it's probably set in the 90s - the height of slackerdom.

Roll for your job. 1d10 please.

1. Video store clerk
2. Delivery boy/girl
3. Chain restaurant server
4. Unemployed
5. Arcade clerk
6. Convenience store clerk
7. Call center agent
8. Fast food clerk
9. Gas station assistant
10. In college

Roll for a goal. 

1. Win back your ex
2. Win the heart of the person you love
3. Have one amazing night
4. Throw the greatest party of all time
5. Get your high school diploma
6. Get your dream job
7. Get laid
8. Hang out with your buddies
9. Escape from a gang
10. Discover the greatest drink ever

Setting or something

Generally, a slacker film is set somewhere in the suburbs, probably in a more run-down area of the country. You'll have a convenience store (Kwik Stop), video store (set in the 90s, remember?) and a mall. These are all locations more familiar to people living in America, but you can be a slacker in any country.

What kind of stuff happens in Slackers, anyway?

Slacker films can be pretty tame on the violence (a la Clerks) or go all out (Pineapple Express), or fit in somewhere in between. The point is that your characters are going to be regular people thrown into a situation that they're not prepared for. It could be a road trip, a run in with a gang, or simply encountering a series of crazy people in a store. You're going to be doing more talking than fighting, in Slackers, so you're not going to be equipped with weapons from the get go or anything like that. Everyone has their own goals, so it's about how you attempt to achieve those and in what order you do them.

Don't think that everything has to be grounded in reality, though. Feel free to bring in supernatural elements, aliens, time travel. Whatever. Just make it funny.


1. Clerks
2. Mallrats
3. Chasing Amy
4. The Big Lebowski
5. Dude, Where's My Car?
6. Super Troopers
7. Fast Times at Ridgemont High
8. Slacker
9. The Hangover
10. Dogma

Monday 23 March 2015

It came from VHS! A USR concept game

It's the 1980s and you're in a video store. You're browsing the shelves, looking for something that pops, that catches your eye and makes you want to grab it. Then you see it: a man wielding a sword mounted on a velociraptor. Dino Ninja 4: Return from Hell.

This is literally the greatest thing you've seen in your life. Nothing is going to stop you from renting this B-movie trainwreck. You claw it off the shelf and pass it to the girl on the desk, who looks at you disapprovingly. "But it's a ninja...on a dinosaur," you reason, handing over some change. She slides the box over to you, rolls her eyes and continues packing tapes into the drawers behind the counter.

Take it to the max

Running a game of It Came from VHS is license to bend the rules. You're about to become a mutant biker with a gun for an arm or a cyborg soldier from the year 2033. It's about cheaply made, pulpy movies with larger than life heroes and insane bad guys. It's about over-the-top, impossible action and badly-designed sets. You'll want to download the free USR rules to play.

Character concepts

If you're lacking imagination, then roll 1d10 twice on the table below to get your character concept:

1. Cyborg
2. Ninja
3. Dinosaur
4. Stripper
5. Biker
6. Demon
7. Alien
8. Barbarian
9. Mutant
10. Vampire

Roll 1d10 below for a background:

1. You're from hell
2. You're from space
3. You're from the future
4. You're from the past
5. You're from the swamp
6. You're from the sewer
7. You're from another dimension
8. You were made
9. Your family was murdered
10. Your the last of your kind

Freena is a barbarian cyborg from hell. This will be the best character you will ever play.

Equip them

This should be fairly simple. Think about what your character would ideally have to begin with and have it. Barbarian cyborgs have retractable arm blades - so let's call that a medium weapon at +2. She probably has a cool leather jacket at a revolver she stole from a gang member she impaled. Another +2, but ranged.

Stat them

Use the USR rules to fully create your character. Freena's going to have Action d10, Wits, d6 and Ego d8. She's pretty damned good with her arm blade.

In terms of specialisms, let's go with 'Fears no evil (wits)', 'Blademaster (action)' and 'Insane gymnast (action). Remember to make your specialisms over-the-top - VHS got no time for your milquetoast specialisms.

Get started

Now get your group together and go crazy.

Saturday 14 March 2015

7 people who should play Green Lantern in the next movie

With news that Chris Pine is in the running to play Hal Jordan in the next Green Lantern movie, I want to take a look at some other famous figures who would be great picks to don the power ring.

1. Gary Busey

2. Jerry Seinfeld

3. Betty White

4. One Direction

5. The Jesus Fresco

6. Mick Jagger

7.  Tina Belcher

9 tabletop gamers talk about their favourite characters

Every player has a favourite character and by God everyone loves to talk about their characters. I reached out to fellow gamers to let them wax lyrical about their fondest characters. Feel free to sgare your own in the comments.

"Gren Dairkel, Halfling Monk.  He traveled the land not seeking combat, but found it.  He quested in dungeons deep not looking for treasure, but found it.  He defeated his enemies time after time, but humbly.  The elements bent to his will, but he never took them for granted.
He was a champion at the Keep on the Shadowfell and the Thunderspire Labyrinth challenged his wits. But above all, he was friend to all." +Karlen Kendrick

"Pathfinder RPG: druggie tiefling named "Odd." Basically I spent a derogatory amount of GP on miscellaneous drugs, did research about the different types of drugs, made a random chart to keep it unconventional. Every day I'd roll on the chart to find out how I was roleplaying Odd. Literally only time no one could argue he wasn't Chaotic Neutral. The funniest times were when I rolled "out of drugs/sober" because then he didn't understand where he was or what was going on (inspired by a stoner co-worker who came to work sober and didn't know how to do the job he did without issue for the past year"  +Matt Medeiros  

"Lord Talen the 3rd, Destroyer of Worlds, Bringer of Darkness, Defiler of Maidens.  we were playing a mage - Dark ages style campaign, and I couldn't come up with a name, so the gm had me roll a d20 and pick that many names. His side kick/cohort was Lord Gilder, a fallen'god' who was hacked to pieces by his followers several centuries before who was searching for his parts to make his power whole again, his various body parts were used as curse words in the world (By Gilders balls...) and when they were cursed upon, that area the part was missing from would tingle." +Dwayne Joy

"Kismet, a vicious killer from another homebrew world a couple of friends built: 'the Dockyard'. I normally play friendly, nice characters, but very occasionally I go the other way and she was great fun because I could do and say more or less what I wanted - nice or nasty (you really need to know and trust and be trusted by your group for that, so it feels pretty awesome to have such a good connection with people)." +Fern Kali

"Warhammer Fantasy: Effgeff. Effgeff was an elf, my first character for Warhammer Fantasy. He ended up losing his right arm due to a spider bite in the very first room we entered on the very first session.
Later we ended up sacrificing one of the other characters in the party because no one got on with the character. We were all cursed then after with a mark of chaos." +Geoff Harrison

"Fodoric Orlig Tavatarr Rinner Hanen Emin Daelos SeDekirk, a (D&D 3.5) Gnome wizard whose goal was to become the world's most powerful, most famous, and most versatile alchemist and magical construction engineer. He started his career with nothing more than a pack dog, a spell book, and a lot of ideas. Along the way he made many friends, including one kleptomaniac adolescent halfling, with a condition that seemed a combination of ADHD and compulsive talking, who became his ward.
He created many things to aid his allies and himself in their quests, whatever may have arisen. His Multi-Energy Emitter (a small handheld object that shot little bolts of anything from fire, to ice, to balls of lightning.
His Wagon-Without-Horses, or WaWiHo (or Wacky-Wiki-Hore, if you were a certain uncouth barbarian lady), certainly made getting from place much easier and faster.
And of course, the Small Item Projectile Tube. A magically enchanted tube that could launch small items much further than could be thrown. Very handy for alchemists tossing flammable flasks about. (Although again, if you were a particular barbarian wench, it was a "chicken launcher", even though it NEVER did any such thing."
In the end, he was getting ready to retire, as he began construction a floating bungalow home. Where is he today? No one really knows. But next time a large shadow crosses the sun on a cloudless day, you may want to look up. It's not every day you get to see floating bungalow." +Richard Stephens

"David Kahn, may he rest in peace, let me play a Unicorn in Telthanar. That was the best thing ever." +Vb Wyrde

"Star Wars D6 2nd edition R&E: Akeyro Sarkin. Akeyro Sarkin was a Iktotchi rebel, who was a good pilot and not a bad shot. He had a love of fine wine. He was also a great hair and makeup guy (despite the fact that Iktotchi males are naturally bald) who had plans to open up a barber shop on Corusant after the fall of the empire. Akeryo was inspired to join the rebellion after his parents were assassinated for being against the formation of the empire. Akeyro was inspired to heroism by hearing stories of the iktochi Jedi, Sassee Tinn who fought in the Clone Wars." +Cameron Faulkenburg

"Sir Chester of Fields, thus named because his disgraced family was striped of all property save a few fields, he was on a quest to become the richest sell-sword in Loudwater.
He was a 4e essentials slayer in a hacky slashy game, so he killed a lot of things. One of the most joyful and simple characters I ever made— he eventual settled down to run his own tavern out of a flying viking long-ship he stole from an undead frost giant." +Conor Rochon

Thursday 12 March 2015

So much universe and so little time - thank you, Sir Terry

Words can't express how I felt when the news of Sir Terry Pratchett's death found its way to my feed reader. It wasn't a complete shock - the author had famously suffered from early onset of Alzheimer's - but when I saw that headline I just stopped in my tracks. Even though he was afflicted by such a debilitating disease, somehow he always seemed immortal to me.

Sir Terry had always been a fixture in my life. I remember when I was in my third year of primary school and we had reading time on the beige carpet. I would always toddle over to the book shelf and pick up either The Carpet People, Wings, Diggers or Johnny and the Bomb. At that age I didn't care who the author was - but I knew I loved the characters, the settings and the humour. I lapped up the humour.

Through primary school and into high school I discovered more Pratchett in the Discworld series. The first Discworld book I owned was Reaper Man, a present from my mum and step-dad, the latter being the one who really introduced me to Ankh-Morpork and its surrounding areas. Soon I would be devouring as many books as I could: Wyrd Sisters, Carpe Jugulum, The Colour of Magic, The Fifth Elephant. I couldn't get enough.

Much later I would write Halberd Fantasy Roleplaying - a love-letter to Pratchett and his world. I also discovered that Sir Terry shared my interest in folklore, which somehow brought us closer together (in my mind, unfortunately I never had the opportunity to meet him). I did, however, have the opportunity to gush about his work on his publisher's site, so at least that's something.

Sir Terry Pratchett has inspired me and thousands of others over his amazing career as a writer. He was one of the most hard-working authors of a generation and dazzled millions with his wit and charming characters, and he will continue to do so. Maybe he is immortal after all.

Thank you for everything, Terry. It's an embuggarance that you had to leave so soon.

"Death isn't cruel - merely terribly, terribly good at his job." - Sourcery, Terry Pratchett.

Wednesday 11 March 2015

d6 nightmares of the Neverwitch

It had been three hours since Sharna and Griff entered the Ash forest and the day was beginning to wane. As the orange glow of dusk's light struggled to penetrate the dense black foliage, the veteran explorers knew that they were not alone. 

Sharna had fetched kindling for the fire and Griff was spreading their bedrolls on the mossy, slightly damp ground. Both kept their weapons close, always keeping watch, wary of any movement around them. 

When night finally came and the fire was reduced to smoking cinders, Sharna and Griff slept a slumber that they would not soon forget. Their dreams were vivid and strange, almost as if they had a foreign energy about them. What was even more alarming was the fact that they seemed to share the same dreamscape. Over time the dreams grew nightmarish, and the adventurers found themselves battling against darkness itself. When they awoke, they found themselves covered in the wounds they suffered in their shared nightmare. 

The Neverwitch is a being who feeds on the nightmares of her victims. She is invisible - inhabiting the world between worlds and does not have a corporeal body. She is able to project dreams into the minds of the sleeping, and within the dreams she strikes, bending the nightmares to her will, appearing as various hideous incarnations.

When the PCs fall sleep the Neverwitch projects her nightmares. Roll 1d6 to see how she appears:

1. Root of Evil
The very ground, roots and plants in the surrounding area writhe and tangle into the forms of 1d4 Root Wolves. Their eyes burn with a fiery red and their teeth are solid bracken, easily rending flesh. Root Wolves are vulnerable to fire, and will retreat if burned.

2. The Return
Lifelike apparitions of the characters' loved ones appear before them. At first, they seem loving, talking sweetly to the characters and reminiscing about times gone by. However, over time they becoming menacing and their true forms show - a twisted portrait of their former selves. Their bones contort and their teeth sharpen into hideous fangs.

3. The Clothes Murder the Man
The very clothes on the characters' backs twist and thrust, attempting to strangle and asphyxiate their wearers. Armour crushes, boots keep them in place and gauntlets punch in a confusing, frenzied assault.

4. The Horned One
The world turns black, as if the sun itself has been extinguished by the hand of a mad god. From the ground a beast rises - with a goat-like head and the body of a warrior. Gnarled horns protrude from the beasts' head and cloven hooves stamp the ground down. The hellish creature screams, cracking its fiery whip and attacking its victims with a burning sword.

5. The Dead Rise
A cacophony of groans can be heard close by and before anyone knows what's going on a group of shambling corpses come into view, their grotesque visages causing utter revulsion in all who look upon them. There is only one thing that they crave: fresh meat...

6. Children of Doom
At first you hear the singing. A childish dirge that grows louder and louder. Then they appear. A group of pale, mesmerized children grow ever closer to their victims before pouncing at the last minute, revealing gaping maws of razor, howling and screaming as their thrash at their foes.

Tuesday 10 March 2015

The ultimate beginner's guide to tabletop roleplaying

It's 2015 and the roleplaying hobby shows no signs of slowing down. Perhaps you're reading this because you've always wanted to get into the hobby but you never knew where to start, or perhaps you rolled some dice occasionally in Dungeons & Dragons' hey-dey and are looking for a way to get back into the swing of things.

A little bit about my path into tabletop RPGs. For the longest time I was into Fighting Fantasy, the choose-your-own-adventure with dice books created by duo Ian Livingstone and Steve Jackson. Incidentally, those guys founded Games Workshop, which eventually went on to produce the Warhammer miniatures games which were my next gateway to roleplaying back in the nineties. With this background in solo gamebooks and wargames, it seemed completely natural that tabletop roleplaying would pique my interest. My good friend, who I still game with to this day, and I went to our Friendly Local Gaming Store (FLGS) and bought the D&D 3rd edition starter set. This essentially contained the rules we needed to start playing...and play we did. We loved it and eventually we bought the rulebooks and some adventures. However, it wasn't until after we both graduated from university until we managed to get a full group together.

We went through various iterations of the group, with people joining and dropping out over the years, which does generally happen, but we have ended up with a happy core group. Now we play all sorts of games and I even publish my own.

Now, that was quite a ride, but you're probably just beginning your journey with roleplaying games. You're going to have a tonne of questions and I'll try my best to answer them. First, let's start with the very basics.

What is a roleplaying game, exactly?

Roleplaying games are unlike any other medium of entertainment. They're a sort of mixture between improvisational theater, board games and storytelling. Usually in a roleplaying game, players take on the role of characters, while one player is the Game Master (GM) (or Dungeon Master in D&D). The job of the GM is to control the enemies, allies and other people the characters interact with and ultimately drive the story along. But ultimately everyone in the group shapes the story. Some roleplaying games don't have a GM, but the majority of the more popular ones do.

Let's take the most popular roleplaying game Dungeons & Dragons as an example. In D&D, players take on the roles of wizards, fighters, thieves, bards and more as they set out on epic adventures, defeating evil monsters and gaining treasure. In D&D, as in many games, characters advance when they accrue enough experience, improving their stats and making them better at the things they do. A wizard may learn more spells or a fighter may learn a new ability. Not all roleplaying games have experience and their characters generally stay the same or advance in a different way, but this is the most popular method.

In D&D the Dungeon Master (DM) will create a quest for the characters to go on and craft dungeons in which they will delve, which are often filled with deadly traps and ferocious monsters, as well as populated with rare and magical treasures. The characters decide what they will do each turn, whether it's checking for a devious trap, vaulting over a pit or sneaking into a room to catch an ogre unawares. In order to carry out these actions, the players roll dice or use an alternative randomiser. This means that the story might not play out the way they thought and complications could be thrown into the mix. In D&D, characters have attributes that determine how good they are at certain activities. For instance, if your character has a high dexterity then they will be good at dodging blows or picking locks, while a high intelligence might mean they are better at figuring out traps or reading strange languages. Many other roleplaying games have their own attributes that work in much the same way.

RPG Net has a great essay on what a roleplaying game is if you're looking for more information.

So what kind of roleplaying games are there?

Pretty much every genre you can think of has a roleplaying game associated with it. From horror and hard sci-fi to romance and martial arts, there is literally a game for everyone. But by far the most popular genre is fantasy, which is no surprise considering how D&D was the first and most popular roleplaying game. Here are some examples of games and the genres they fit into:

Fantasy: Dungeons & Dragons, Tunnels & Trolls, Pathfinder, 13th Age, The One Ring, Barbarians of Lemuria, GURPS Fantasy.

Horror: Call of Cthulhu, Don't Rest Your Head, World of Darkness, Monster of the Week, Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Sci-Fi: Traveller, Shadowrun, Star Wars, Serenity, Dark Heresy, The Strange, Eclipse Phase

Superhero: Wild Talents, Icons, Pow!, Valiant Universe: The Roleplaying Game, DC Adventures

Generic: d20 Modern, Unbelievably Simple Roleplaying, Basic Roleplaying, GURPS

These are just some of the genres and games available, so it's safe to say that you're going to find something you will like. Wikipedia has a handy comprehensive list of games by genre.

How to get a group together

So you've decided on a game to play, but you still need the most important ingredient: the players. Getting a group together can be the toughest part of the hobby, especially if you're not based in the city or just don't know that many people who would be interested in playing. It becomes even more difficult when you're wanting to play consistent games, either weekly or monthly. However, there are ways you can get a group together.

First and foremost, float the idea to your friends. Even if they're not into that kind of thing, you would be surprised how many people would just give it a go, even if it's just to hang out with a friend. However, if your friends aren't interested, how about seeing if you have any co-workers who are interested?

If that fails, it might be worth joining an existing group. Local gaming stores usually have bulletin boards with 'looking for players' notices. If not, check to see if the store hosts a game night, as many often do. Wizards of the Coast, the current publishers of Dungeons & Dragons, have a handy store and event locator to help you find local stores that host D&D games.

But what if you're stuck out in the middle of nowhere? There are a number of places you can play tabletop games online. Google Plus is a great place to connect with other people who want to play and take part in Hangout games. There are plenty of communities on the social network you can join, like G+ Tabletop Roleplaying Games where you can easily find a game to take part in.

If you don't have a Google Plus account you can always join a roleplaying forum like RP Nation or RPOL where you can join or host your own play-by-post game.

6 Steps for table etiquette

So you've got your rules and you've managed to round up a group. Awesome! However, there are some things you should note when playing a tabletop roleplaying game. Just like any other social situation, roleplaying games have their own do's and don't that aren't necessarily covered in the rules.

1) If you're not hosting a game, offer to bring snacks and/or drinks. The traditional table food is generally carbonated sodas and potato crisps (chips), but it's a better idea to try and be healthy. Try carrots, hummus and water. Generally, alcohol is not a great idea at the game table as it can affect people differently and the attention might stray from the game.

2) Get to grips with the rules, even if it's just the basics. This will speed up the game and help it flow. It's ok to have to look up the rules, but make sure you have the basic game down - the other players will thank you for it.

3) If you're a player and the GM makes a ruling, that ruling is final so don't lose your cool and start arguing. Likewise, if you're a GM, don't make unfair rulings just to spite someone or go on a power trip. It's everyone's game.

4) Just don't be a dick. Seriously, if you're annoying the other players by having your character steal their stuff or attacking them constantly they're probably not going to want to play with you again.

5) Try not to meta game. Meta gaming is when you declare something that your character couldn't possibly know, just because you as a player knows it. Meta gaming ruins the illusion of the game and can lead to arguments, so stay away.

6) Pay attention to what's going on. Don't zone out or start playing with your phone otherwise you might miss something important and it can hold the game back.

Playing your first game

Finally, it's time to sit at the table and play a game. Hurray! So what should you expect from a typical roleplaying game?

1. The GM sets the scene: The GM almost always has the first word in the game, setting the scene, recapping what happened last time and describing what is happening now.

2. The players react and ask questions: Once the GM has set the scene, the players can ask questions of the GM - what can they see? What is the grand vizier doing right now? Is there anyone I can pick pocket? Players will often discuss between themselves as to what the best cause of action is.

3. The players act: Once the GM has answered any questions, it's up to the players to take action. One may declare that they are picking the vizier's pocket, and one might say they are going to the weapon store to get a new spear.

4. The GM narrates: The GM will then explain how the world reacts to the players. Sometimes this will require the player to roll a die to see an outcome, which the GM will generally ask for.

5. Repeat from step 1: The GM goes back to setting the scene and the process repeats until the GM declares otherwise.

Some top tips from tabletop gamers

I reached out to some experienced roleplayers and asked them to give their tips for beginning players.

"Play a game before you try reading how to play. It makes the learning curve so much faster when you know what the outcome, pace and style of your first RPG is like rather than trying to work it all out in your head first." +Todd Crapper, creator of Killshot

"Pretend that you're in the situation presented, pretend that you are the character that you've assumed, and then do whatever you think you would, should, or could do." +joseph browning, creator of Classified

"Remember that every player and the GM are ALL collaborators in making the RPG a story. It can be great for all if you're aware of being a team, not competitors." +Steven Schend, Dungeons & Dragons writer

Roleplaying blogs to check out

At the end of the day, the roleplaying hobby is built on community and there's a vast wealth of excellent RPG bloggers out there writing great stuff on a daily basis. Here are some of the best:

Jeff's Game Blog:

Tenkar's Tavern:

Playing D&D with Porn Stars (NSFW):

Gnome Stew:

Dungeon's Master:

Sly Flourish: