Welcome to Tir Na n’Fir, the “Land of Men.” In this fantasy setting, we will be using a derivative of the Star Wars Role-playing system, as found in the first and second edition rules, with modifications to better suit the genre. The magic system is taken from Ars Magica, modified to use the mechanics of the rest of the rules environment. In order to participate effectively in the game, you’ll need a few essentials: a pencil, some scrap paper, and a few six sided dice (one of which is different from the others, by color, size, or identifying marks). You will be provided a blank character sheet, or a role sheet. If you wish to have an online copy, it will be downloadable as a DOC file soon.
The fantasy genre is well known to most people; it is the sword and sorcery world, with dragons, and villains, demons and avatars, and of course, humans. Humans are just as varied as they are today, with wizards, thieves, peasants, and kings, and all things in-between. Players in this environment will select one of these roles, or create one of their own, to interact with other players and the people and monsters of the realms. There will be cities, towns, forests, dungeons, and caverns, with monsters good and evil, and humanoid races.
As in all roleplaying games, imagination is the key to a good time. In general there won’t be any tokens, any boards, any playing pieces, cards, or scoreboards. Instead, we use our minds to create the world around us and interact with it. It is the job of the gamemaster to paint a scene, and the job of the players to imagine how their characters will react, to create a story interesting for everyone.
Thus, this is a big game of Pretend, but with rules to avoid things getting too strange. But, the rules only limit actions – they don’t determine them. It is up to the players to figure out what they want their characters to do, and so it is very important for the player to understand their character. This involves getting past the sheet of numbers into the history, motivation, and attitude of the character. For this to happen, the player has to be willing to suspend the outside world for a while, and to think in the mind of the character. It’s like a play, but without a set script.
However, it is worthy of note that players should not act out what the characters are doing, but instead describe those actions back to the gamemaster, so he can visualize the scene himself and create appropriate reactions in the environment. While it is like a play, it is often more like a script reading. Try not to jump up and draw your pencil to stab the evil monster! The gamemaster doesn’t like pencil leads getting stuck in his stomach.
Don’t get caught up in winning, or losing, but in playing the game. Sometimes this will mean you get captured, or lose the little prize while trying to gain the big treasure. And, sometimes characters die. This is all in keeping with a good story, and there is no shame in dying well. The story is the thing, so work to make it happen, not only for yourself, but for the other players, and your reward will be a good time.
Oh, and remember – the gamemaster is creating the villains, but he’s NOT the opposition! He’s the storyteller, and hopefully the architect of the day’s entertainment.