Beginner’s Guide to RPGs – Part 1

Assorted RPG dice encircling a prominent d20 with a face-up 20.

Experience a realm of limitless imagination, where you can be a fierce dragon-slaying knight one day and an intergalactic spaceship captain the next. Welcome to the captivating world of role-playing games (RPGs). In an age dominated by screens and algorithms, RPGs offer a refreshing journey back to storytelling, camaraderie, and creativity. Over the past few decades, they’ve transformed from a niche hobby to a cultural phenomenon, celebrated in conventions, movies, and even celebrity circles. With the surge of popular shows like Stranger Things and The Witcher, RPGs have seen a significant rise in mainstream popularity. So, if you’re looking to explore these imaginative worlds but don’t know where to begin, you’re in the right place. Read on for our beginner’s guide to RPGs!

What Are RPGs?

RPGs, or role-playing games, are games in which you, the player, take on the roles of characters in a fictional setting. Think of it as interactive storytelling. Instead of merely reading a story or watching it unfold, you’re actively shaping its outcome through your character’s actions, decisions, and interactions. Whether you’re navigating a medieval fantasy realm, solving mysteries in a cyberpunk city, or exploring an unknown galaxy, you’re at the heart of the narrative.

Types of RPGs: The magic of RPGs is that they come in numerous forms, catering to different tastes and preferences. Let’s explore some of the most popular types:

  • Tabletop RPGs (TTRPGs): These are played in person with a group of players and a game master (GM). The GM describes scenarios, and players verbally describe their characters’ actions, often with the aid of dice to determine outcomes. Examples include Dungeons & Dragons and Pathfinder.

  • Live-Action RPGs (LARP): This takes role-playing to a physical level. Players act out their characters’ actions in real-life settings, often wearing costumes and using props. Think of it as a blend between theater and gaming.

  • Video Game RPGs: These are digital games where players control a character or group of characters in a story-driven world. Games like The Elder Scrolls, Mass Effect, and Final Fantasy fall under this category.

  • Online RPGs: A subcategory of video game RPGs, these games are played over the internet. Some are massive multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs) where players from around the world interact in expansive digital realms, like World of Warcraft or Guild Wars 2.

The Basics You Need to Get Started

RPGs can seem overwhelming at first, given the expansive worlds, intricate rules, and diverse characters. But at its core, every role-playing experience revolves around a few essential elements. Let’s break down the basics to ensure your journey is both enjoyable and smooth.


The Game Master (GM): At the heart of every RPG is the Game Master (often abbreviated to GM, though some games may refer to them as the Dungeon Master or DM). Imagine the GM as a combination of a storyteller, director, and referee. They craft the world, set the stage, and describe scenarios, guiding players through the narrative. While players decide their characters’ actions, the GM determines the outcomes and ensures that the game stays within its rules. They’re crucial for maintaining the game’s pace, atmosphere, and balance, ensuring every session is both engaging and fair.

Player Characters (PCs): While playing an RPG, you, the player, don the role of a specific character, aptly termed the Player Character (PC). Your PC is your avatar in the game world, through which you interact, make decisions, and shape the storyline. Each PC has a unique background, personality, and set of skills. Whether you’re a rogue with a mysterious past, a mage honing arcane arts, or a warrior seeking glory, your PC is central to the game’s narrative.


Dice: The roll of a dice can spell triumph or disaster in the world of RPGs. Dice introduce an element of chance, making the game unpredictable and exciting. While many games use standard six-sided dice (d6), RPGs often employ a variety of dice to determine outcomes. These can range from the four-sided d4 (shaped like a pyramid) to the iconic twenty-sided d20. Each dice type corresponds to different actions or outcomes, adding layers of strategy and anticipation to the game.

Rulebooks: Consider rulebooks as your comprehensive guide to any RPG. These books contain the game’s framework, detailing everything from the setting and lore to gameplay mechanics. They provide guidelines for character creation, allowing players to craft their unique heroes or villains. Rulebooks also outline how challenges, combats, and interactions are resolved. Familiarizing yourself with the rulebook of your chosen RPG can greatly enhance your gaming experience. You can get most popular RPG games over at

Character Sheets: These are a way to keep track of your PC’s evolving attributes, skills, and equipment. These sheets are vital for recording every detail about your PC, from their physical traits and backstory to their current health and inventory. As you progress, your character will gain new abilities, equipment, and even allies, all of which are tracked on this sheet. It serves both as a reference and a chronicle of your character’s journey in the game world.


Role-playing games are a doorway to countless realms and adventures, limited only by your imagination. Over time you’ll discover the true essence of RPGs – the camaraderie, the suspense, the thrill of an unexpected dice roll, and the sheer joy of co-authoring an epic tale. But, our exploration doesn’t end here. In Part 2 we explore more tips, strategies, and game recommendations to further enrich your RPG experience. Are you ready to unlock even more secrets of the role-playing universe? Join us in Part 2 of this series!

Leave a Reply