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Chaosium Inc.

What is Roleplaying?

Sometimes, when you read a particularly captivating novel, you feel a sense of disappointment when the story ends. You become so caught-up in the adventure that you wish it could continue on. Other times you may wonder how the story would have ended if the characters had done something differently. What if they had taken another path?

With a roleplaying game, you decide what paths the heroes of the story (your characters) take, and what solutions they attempt, because you get to participate in the story rather than just reading about what others do. Your decisions help to shape the story your game group is playing.

A roleplaying game may very well be different from the types of games you are already familiar with. It has neither a board or playing pieces, but it does use dice. Unlike a board game such a chess, where players are competing against one another, in a roleplaying game players cooperate to tell a story together. The players take on the role of a specific individual living in the game world. They usually play the good guys in some heroic adventure.

There is a special player known as the gamemaster (GM) who acts as the story's narrator. The GM describes the game world to the players and presents all of the other people in this imaginary world, including the villains, that the characters meet during an adventure. The GM may have written this adventure themselves, or may have purchased a published adventure written by Chaosium.

The players respond to the Gamemaster's descriptions and narration. Each player speaks for their character, describing what it is their character is doing. When characters attempt a difficult action, success or failure is often determined by rolling the dice. The result of this process is something like a television drama in which characters pass from scene to scene. A typical episode usually lasts four hours. But just as in a television series, it may continue again next week when the players gather together again.

Our roleplaying game rulebooks include all the rules and background information a group of players needs to play one of our games. You will also need some paper, pencils, and a variety a gaming dice of many exotic shapes. You can buy these dice here at our site or at most game shops.

We offer free downloadable roleplaying games: our free BASIC ROLEPLAYING QUICKSTART or our free CALL OF CTHULHU 7th EDITION QUICK-START rules for your immediate use! These are basic, introductory games but are fully playable.