Shonner Press’ How to Roleplay the HARD Way is a 34-page guide on how Shawn Driscoll thinks you might be able to get really in character.
Simply put, How to Roleplay the HARD Way isn’t for everyone, but the download is free, so I don’t see how you can go wrong. I do see how you might be irritated, though.
Shawn Driscoll begins by admitting he can’t entirely use Microsoft Word and then suggests old-school (first gen) players who might have developed habits too far into rollplaying to give roleplaying a go. Instead, this book is for roleplay curious or those who might wish to teach others.
Whether that rules you out or in, Shawn has two other requirements for the structures and processes in the guidelines to be useful. Firstly, your game system must be skill-based, use a task difficulty system and be 2nd-gen. The suggested hero system is Mongoose’s Traveller.
The second is the social contract. Shonner Press notes that there can be many different social contracts, but the download is pretty centred around the example provided. This contract rules me out, as I’d never agree to play in an RPG where players couldn’t ask the GM questions.
- HDSL/Cable or better Internet connection with camera and mic
- No camera phones, phone apps, touchpads, padTVs, or PDAs (a.k.a. no
- handheld devices)
- Headphones are a must to prevent echo
- No chirping smoke detectors (replace batteries!)
- No food (drinks are ok)
- No phone use, texting, or web browsing during game
- No chat room use or private messaging in Hangout
- No out of character speaking during the game session
- Players don’t ask the GM questions
- Each player (including the GM) narrates what their character is doing The GM states when die rolls are required
- The players narrate their successes while the GM narrates PC failures All talking, as well as asking questions, is done in character (PCs speak to other PCs and NPCs, and NPCs speak to PCs) to relay or answer questions
- No initiative
- No combat rounds
- Combat is close to real-time as possible
- Action is cinematic style
- Characters are allowed to move at the speed of their player’s narration
- No narration means no action taken by that player’s character (they are sitting or standing)
- When a character dies, the player leaves the Hangout (and game) until they have created a new character to return to the game with. Players must have their character sheets with them. Always.
How does that sound to you? Hardcore? Well, the title did tell us this would be the HARD way. Having already ruled myself out from this approach, I admit to being curious about what disaster required a ‘no chirping smoke detectors’ rule!
DriveThruRPG’s blurb of this freebie reads;
People that are roleplay-curious. Maybe they are tired of the more gamey feel that rolling dice presents? To some, roleplaying a character genuinely sounds a lot more interesting to try and learn more about. Existing players who want to advance their roleplaying level or even vet the right players for their next game session will find that the HARD way is much more rewarding.
This book gives the reader a running head start on roleplaying and teaching other serious players to roleplay with whom they wish to team up.
Enjoy this quest!
- Download How to Roleplay the HARD Way.
Let us know what you think in the discussion area below.