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How to Roleplay in One Easy LessonLost? Confused? Need direction?

Then why are you

reading this?by Thomas Schlosser, Adalind AdventuresArtwork by Steven Schwartz How
many times have you gone over to a friend's house to play an fantasyrole-playing
game and have been thrown out with the dog when the otherplayers found out you
couldn't role-play? It's an embarrassing situation,and this article is here to
remedy that. If you read this and follow thesefew simple rules, you too will soon
name your characters bold, mysteriousnames and will see envy in your fellow
players' eyes as your hero negotiatesor does battle with the Dungeon Master's
nonplayer characters.Naming your characterOften, a player will roll up a great
character but then give him an ordinaryname. Joe the Fighter or Christine the Mage
just won't do it for realrole-players. Plagiarism is no good, either, as it seems
like the world isfull of Elrics and Merlins.The best way to name your character is
to use the Character Name GenerationTable. Roll 1d6 for each letter of your
character's name. This will give hima truly original name, like Jhusdhui the Cleric
or Enhifhupwq the Thief.Think of the endless hours of fun you can have correcting
your fellowplayers' pronunciation of your PC's name: Leader: "Okay, Brian the elf
and Jusdy will examine the throne!'You: "That's Jhusdhui!"Leader: "Chusdwy?"You:
"Jhusdhui!"Leader: "Tchoodsway?"You: "No, you imbecile! Jhusdhui! Just like it's
spelled!"Human backgroundsThis aspect of the game is fairly simple. If you have a
human character,just increase all his statistics two to five points and give him
five to tenlevels of experience before joining the rest of the party for his first
adventure. Come up with a reasonable explanation for this, such as: "Well, Jhusdhui
was born into a sorcerer's family but when he was 11 somebarbarians from the local
cable company came to his house and killed hisparents for adjusting their box to
get premium channels without paying forthem so he killed them all single-handedly
and mounted their horses and fledto visit the Monk of the East Wind who taught him
all kinds of martial artsand made him wash his chariot saying 'Wax on, wax off and
then he joined theImperial Marines where he specializ ed in lifting heavy objects
and readingunattended spell books while moonlighting as a trapez e artist with some
gypsies as he was studying to be a cleric!' This only works for humans, as
demihumans already get so many racial bonuses that only a complete idiotwould
choose a human PC without some sort of benefits.Demihumans and youLook, the only
reason you chose to be nonhuman is to get those specialabilities, right? Well,
there's a price to be paid for infravision andstrength bonuses. Demihumans cannot
be played like ordinary humans, no sir!Dwarves should be played like short humans,
gnomes like even shorter humans,halflings like short and hairy humans, elves like
not-so-short humans, andhalf-orcs like rude humans. Here's how to apply this point:
Dwarves: When placed behind someone taller in the party's marching order,keep
asking "What's going on up there?" and "What'd you see?" Also, get upfrom your
chair at the gaming table and stand behind the guy whose characteris in front of
your dwarf. Jump up and down as if trying to see over him.Put your hands on his
shoulders and try climbing onto his back as if to ridepiggy-back. Put your hands
over his eyes as you do so, and jab him in theribs a couple of times with your
knees. This game is meant to beexperienced, not just played!Gnomes: When your
character enters a bar, have him ask for a highchair. Atthe gaming table, get out
of your chair and sit on the floor, so that youreyes just barely clear the top of
the table. From this position, try to moveyour figures and roll the dice. Knock
some drinks over and keep asking"What'd I roll? What'd I roll? Did I hit it?"
Halflings: Halflings hate to go adventuring. They are the ultimate couchpotatoes.
Just going to the post office is a traumatic experience for them,so you can imagine
what they would be like on a journey to slay the evilhigh priest Glorak in the
swamps of Mushtarga. If you have a halflingcharacter, emphasiz e his displeasure at
being dragged out of his comfortablehole and force-marched into whatever idiotic
haz ards the other heroes havechosen as this evening's adventure. A player with a
halfling character mustbe an excellent judge of whines and have a full spate of
them ready for anyoccasion. Here is a short list to get you started: "A dragon?!?
Oh, not another dragon! I just hate dragons. They make me haveto run, and whenever
I do that then all the buttons on my waistcoat come offand I'm forever trying to
sew them back on!""We're going down there?!? It's smelly and I'll get my hair
dirty. You guysjust don't appreciate what it takes to get my feet clean!""No tea?
How could we have run out of tea? I just can't digest theserations, either! Oh, how
I wish I'd never come here.""All of her gold pieces are bigger than mine! You guys
never give meanything good when we divide the treasure!"Oh, this swamp II so muddy
and icky! I had no idea the liz ard-man king wouldlive in a place like this.""This
riding is giving me bruises. Don't they make softer saddles?""The rations are gone!
I wanna go home!"Elves: With an elven character, you have to focus on motivation.
Unlikehumans, elves want magical items. (To a lesser extent, this is true of other
races, too. Unlike humans, dwarves want gold, gnomes want gems, halflingswant food,
and half-orcs want it all. It is unknown what humans want, but itis suspected that
they want all the other races to take a long walk off ashort pier.) Have your elf
try to acquire every magical item your companionsfind. If they won't give it to you
outright, promise them outlandish things,such as 20 years of personal slavery in
exchange. (Don't tell them that the20 years will start 500 years from now. Since
you live forever, orpractically forever, they'll all be dead when it's time to
collect!)Half-orcs: Rudeness, abuse, and suspicion are the watchwords for players
with half-orc characters. The other characters are all out to belittle yourhalf-
orc, steal his glory, and deprive him of his rightful share of thetreasure. If they
haven't done it yet, then their kind words and courteousgestures are all deceptions
hiding something really nasty. Disagree witheverything they say in an insulting
fashion, and heap abuse on them at everyopportunity. If this fails to bait them
into revealing their trueintentions, you must have your character strike first
before they have achance to strike him! When placed on watch out in the wilderness,
have yourhalf-orc give each sleeper a good bash on the head and ride off with all
theloot and food. Insist on having him be last in the marching order to avoidbeing
attacked from behind by his treacherous comrades. Under no conditionsshould your
character ever, ever sleep. At the gaming table, back your chairinto a corner so
you can watch everyone at once. Always have your 1d20 inhand; if when you see
anyone make a quick movement near his dice, shout out,"I'm attacking him first!"
and roll your attack die.Role-playing combatLook, let's not beat around the bush.
The DM is out to kill your hero, andthat's that. You shouldn't let this get in the
way of your role-playing,though. Whether you have a brave warrior who just got
something in his eyeand wants the other characters to go first, or you have a
daring thief whounfortunately faints at the sight of blood and wants the others to
go first,role-play combat to the hilt! It's not who wins or loses, it's how you
stayalive!Too often, combat devolves into a my-turn-your-turn dice-rolling
exercise.This is unfortunate, as combat offers many ways to role-play. For example,
if you have a party of low-level characters who have just encountered 83 frost
giants, having your character just drop dead on the spot is anexcellent alternative
to pointlessly rolling dice for the 11.3 seconds itwould take the giants to grind
you into fertiliz er.Whatever you do, take the opportunity to let combat help you
define yourcharacter's motivations. If you have an elf, let the others go first and
then take their magical items from their lifeless bodies. If you have adwarf, let
them go first and then strip all the gold from the dead anddying. If you have a
half-orc, wait until there's just one party member andone monster left alive, then
stab them both in the back and take everything.If you have a human, encourage the
others to go first by praising theirracial abilities, like so: You [playing human
fighter]: "Look, a frost giant! I sure wish I hadinfravision like you, Christine
the Elven Mage! Then I'd really be able tofight him!"Christine's player:
"Infravision?!? What are you talking about?!? It'sdaylight!"You: "And you have all
that magic resistance! Oooh, I suddenly feel weak!The giant must be casting a spell
that demihumans are immune to! You mustsave me, Christine!" [To the the DM] "I fall
faint behind the mightyChristine!"Christine's player: "What the-" DM: "THWACK!!!
The frost giant hits Christine with his club. It's a criticalhit! She takes 3 ,478
points of damage!' [to you "His momentum carries himover Christine's body and past
you!' You: "I get up and stab him in the backwith my + 5 two-handed sword! Don't
forget my 18/96 strength bonuses!"Goals and objectivesFor some players, it seems
like the only objective is to acquire wealth.Others want magical items, and still
others experience points. This fixationon the numerical aspects of the game is a
poor way to role-play. Yourcharacter shouldn't always be interested in getting just
one thing or checkanother. He should be interested in getting everything! (Ignore
themotivations portion of this article noted previously. I hadn't thought ofthis
part when I wrote the other stuff.) Also, remember that experiencepoints and loot
will be divided up among the survivors. If you're a cleric,try the following tactic
the next time the party is engaged in combat: Fighter's player: "I'm down to 13 hit
points, Jusdy! Heal me quick! Thisfrostgiant is just creaming me!"You: "Do you
really think I should? I mean, what if I need to heal someonelater? Should I waste
that spell now?"Fighter's player: "Jusdy, you've got over five first-level spells
left!Hurry up!" DM: "The frost giant hits Joe for eight more points of damage.Joe's
swing misses!"Fighter's player: "Jusdy! Help! I'm down to five points!"You: "Five?
Why that's more than I started out with! I remember when I wasjust a first-level
cleric. How long ago that seems. I would have doneanything to have five hit
points!'Fighter's player: "Jusdy!"DM: "The frost giant gets initiative and hits
again for 18 points. Joe'sdead!"Fighter's player [in a dying gasp]: "Jusdy!"You
[kicking the fighter's lifeless body]: "That's Jhusdhui to you!"[To the DM] "I fire
my phaser and disintegrate the giant!' Your character'sgoals and objectives should
be in accordance with his chosen alignment. Ifhe's good, he should try to acquire
everything he can so that some time inthe very distant future, maybe on his
deathbed, he can give it to the poor.If he's evil, he wants to keep it for himself,
and if he's neutral, he wantsto keep it until the time when he can figure out
whether he wants to give itto the poor or keep it for himself.The law-chaos aspect
of the game is also a good source for role-playingmaterial. If your character is
lawful, you will want to come up with sound,reasonable justifications for his
actions, particularly when he stabs therest of the party in the back. If he's
neutral, act confused and claim youdon't know why he did all those nasty things, or
blame it on "maintainingthe balance." If he happens to be chaotic, tell the other
players that theircars are being towed away, then change all their characters'
statistics whenthey run outside tocheck.SummaryLook, I can't tell you how to role-
play every little detail of the game. Ican't even keep the promises I made in the
first paragraph of this article.In fact, the only thing I can do is promise you
that if you follow theguidelines set down in this article, your FRPGs will never be
the same.Character Name Generation 'Table1d6 Result1-2 Vowel: roll 1d6 to
determine which one (1 = a, 2 = e, 3 = i, 4 = o,5 = u, 6 = y)3 -5 Consonant: roll
1d20 to determine which one (1 = b, 2 = c, .......20 = z 6 Name ends�