Tuesday 6 March 2012

Seven Steps to Good Role-Playing

By definition, role-playing is when players take on and direct the actions of their character or alter-ego in a game. Role-playing comes to the fore in Heroes Against Darkness when the players’ characters have role-playing encounters, which run the full gamut from the mundane to potentially deadly:
• Negotiate a price with a shopkeeper
• Gain information from a known criminal associate
• Befriend an influential game character
• Fast-talk out of (or in to) trouble
• Win a duel of wits in a high society setting
• Pretend to be someone of higher or lower status
• Find out the lore of a region, sect or family
• Gain admittance into a powerful guild
• Mount a defense against false criminal charges
• Bribe a low or high official
• Talk your way out of the lair of an ornery dragon
• Negotiate the return of a ransomed individual
• Seduce a busty wench or handsome rake
• Infiltrate a criminal organization

Role-Playing 101

Role-playing isn’t like combat, where player ability scores and powers are combined with dice rolls to determine the outcome. To role-play, the player’s task is to bring their character to life. Here are a few ideas to get started role-playing.

Tip 1: Role-Play Traits

The character creation steps in the full rules of Heroes Against Darkness include a list of character traits that can be applied to all characters. When in a role-playing encounter, try thinking about how a character with that trait would behave. Is the character:
• Boisterous in a serious situation?
• Devout amongst heathens?
• Profligate when celebrating?
• Foolhardy in the face of danger?
• Exaggerator when making promises?

Tip 2: Role-Play Vices and Virtues

In addition to Traits, a character’s Vices and Virtues offer a window into their behavior. For example, is the character:
• Proud or humble?
• Envious or kind?
• Lazy or diligent?
• Greedy or charitable?
• Gluttonous or temperate?
• Lustful or chaste?
• Wrathful or forgiving?

Tip 3: Role-Play Rights and Wrongs

Another aspect of a character is their rights and wrongs. These represent the character’s moral compass, how they would behave in the face of difficult situations.
Would the character:
• Take a job that endangers innocents?
• Distrust an authority figure?
• Seek revenge for a previous wrong?
• Ignore the plight of someone in distress?
• Steal from a rich merchant or a pauper?
• Kill someone of their own race?
• Go against the interests of their family or clan?
• Cheat at a game of chance?

Tip 4: Role-Play Background

The final element of the character details that the player can use to aid in role-playing is their background. All characters are born and raised differently, so each character’s background will give them a unique frame of reference in any situation. Does the character’s background make them:
• Distrustful of all authority?
• Unable to function properly in social situations?
• Scorned by people of higher caste?
• Fearful of magi?
• Avoid attention from officers of the law?

Tip 5: Role-Play Ability Scores

After mining the character’s background, morals and personality, the next aspect for role-playing is the character’s physical and mental capabilities. Is the character:
• Physically strong and imposing? (Strength)
• Dexterous and swift? (Dexterity)
• Fit, athletic and vigorous? (Constitution)
• Spiritual, centered and calming? (Wisdom)
• Intelligent, convincing and insightful? (Intelligence)

Tip 6: Role-Play Class

Along with the character’s ability scores, their class also offers strong role-playing opportunities:
• Noble and honorable (Warriors, Hunters, Hospiters)
• Fiery and temperamental (Berserkers and Warlocks)
• Sneaky and subtle (Rogues and Necromancers)
• Insightful and manipulative (Mystics)
• Pious and respectful (Canonates and Healers)
• Blunt and straightforward (Barbarians)

Tip 7: Role-Play Charisma

If all else fails, the character’s charisma ability score is a good indication of whether they perform well in role-playing situations or whether they’re more likely to alienate and infuriate others.

Check out the full rules for Heroes Against Darkness over at the downloads page: Heroes Against Darkness - Game Rules.

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