GAM710 Week 02:03 Role Playing Games – Che Wilbraham

Role Playing Games (RPG)

  • Players 
  • Game Master – Referee, can act as other players, can drive the story. 
  • The System – Dictates the rules and cations the players may take. 

RPG components

  • Character Representation – numbers are used to represent the characters, sometimes attributes and resources.  
  • Challenge Representation – PVP – player versus player , PVE player versus Environment.   
  • Conflict Resolution – Dice – Chance, Occasionally a consensus vote. 
  • Setting – The world fantasy/sci-fi. 
  • Flavour – How does the world work? Dark, funny, non lethal, cartoon? 
  • Complexity – How rigid – light or strict on the rules? narrative freedom/game master/setting 
  • The Players – Including maybe a game master – who does what in the game. gives the player some power – a resource that lets them take control over the story when they need to. 

Why do you want to make an RPG ? 

Let the answer guide the creative process, maintain a high level vision even when working with the detail. Is it meaningful? Will the players learn something? Expand on something you love or fix something you hate?

Does it all make sense?

Luddonnarrative cohesion – Do the game, rules and interaction fit with the story?

Get absorbed in similar games to draw on and make better. Get into the game system to understand how it works, why and how it give the play that feel.

Play test what you are working on – iterative user testing, questionnaires, analysis. The rule book isn’t the game. Play as soon as possible so that you can get feedback.


  • Hidden Role Games (social, light on rules, discussion) Werewolf/mafia/resistance/Avalon
  • GM Designed Mysteries (bread crumbs/clues are very important whereas in Inspectres the mysteries are embedded and seeded randomly. The players decide what the clues mean. 
  • Paranoia  – Dystopian vision. Everyone pretents all is okay as they are being watched over my a computer. Extreme game master power. Back stabbing fun. 
  • Fiasco – Flexible setting and flavour. Serious or fun – great for collaborative storytelling and learning to enjoy failure for the sake of the story. 
  • Mythender – Ludonnartive cohesion – norse mythology/heavy metal theme.   
  • The Quiet Year – Drawing on a map – interesting way of interacting with the system. 
  • Traveller –  Old and complex sci-fi system. Characters can die before game begins. 


  • Setting – People are trapped in a bunker and they have to play a game (Saw) 
  • Flavour – Paranoia and secrecy, distrust is built.  
  • Conflict resolution – 


  • Setting and Flavour – Action Anime, Rules-Light, narrative freedom  
  • Conflict resolution – Gestural, Active, Rock, Paper, Scissors (RPS)
  • Character and Challenge Representation – 3 Stats and a handful of skills. 
  • Narrative freedom and player power – special ability and resource for the players.      


  • Character representation and flavour – inclusive, diverse, approachable. representation is using player defined words not numbers. 
  • Challenge representation and conflict resolution (came from CR and flavour with some playtesting) – GM decides on difficulty by describing it, words and stats each directly translate to a die for each side and are then rolled against each other. 
  • Complexity – variable as agreed by the player but easily adaptable. 
  • Setting – is decided by the players and could be anything.       


Fun could be the meaning of the game, theres definitely fun in fear. Everyone loves to be scared don’t they? The narrative could portray something about the shift between industrialisation and advanced technology… or not. I’m not sure I want to get heavy with it. I’m interested in how the occult parlour games was popularised in the victorian era and I like the idea of engaging the players curiosity in predicting future events… we’d all like a crystal ball wouldn’t we? I could research the RPG examples above to see if I could apply one of these models to my game concept. 



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