Open RPG

 

orpglogo

I mean, really, how often have you used a virtual table top? Let alone an online one… Anyway, it seems they can come in quite a bit handy, provided you’re not looking forward to putting your ornate tequila glass on them, but rather using them for some lovely pen & paper RPG gaming with your friends. Online, that is.

You see, them virtual tables provide gaming groups with everything they need to play their RPG of choice without having to physically meet or touch any sort of dice, which might seem quite the antisocial thing to do, but can be very helpful for playing with friends living thousands of kilometers away or for spending some truly productive time at work. Open RPG for example offers players and GMs an integrated environment complete with miniature map, die rollers, chat, data organizer and the ability to run ones own game server, that’s flexible enough to host any game system imaginable.

What’s more, Open RPG is absolutely free to use and you can download it here. A huge variety of plug-ins can be found here, whereas online-gaming maps are available here and quite a few hand-drawn “miniatures” here. Oh, and if you really feel like paying for something you could give Fantasy Grounds a try.

As for us, well, you know, being the happy cheap ass gamers we all are, we could give this online RPG thing a go. The entity behind from the gutter seems to be interested in it already, and rumours have been heard of a Call of Cthulhu session. Anyone interested, please, do leave a comment or drop me a line. Could be fun you know…

Introduction: Pen and Paper RPG’s

PenandPaperrpgs
So, uh, let’s start with a disclaimer, shall we? Lovely. If you are one of the few proper pen & paper RPG gamers frequenting this site, then you really don’t need to read any further. Really. You’ll probably know all there is to it. If, on the other hand, you are video gamer or preferably a video gamer that can appreciate the intricacies of Fallout, the vast worlds of Morrowind, the demented setting of Planescape and truly enjoy your average (or garden) video game RPG, then you might just be interested in finding out a bit more on them pen & paper RPGs, the sources of inspiration behind every CRPG from Ultima to Fallout 3, in which case you should probably read on.

For starters, in an ideal world, nobody in their right mind would ever dream mentioning pen & paper before the RPG bit. The later should be enough, mainly because the vast majority of computer/video game RPGs (CRPGs) lack the actual roleplaying bit, at least in the more traditional sense, which of course you wouldn’t know unless you had already played a real RPG, something rather impossible as you wouldn’t be reading this very article, would you now? Anyway. All a CRPG ever did to earn its role-playing title was borrow some ideas (e.g. character creation), game mechanics (e.g. combat, hit points, to-hit modifiers) and/or setting (e.g. The Forgotten Realms, Shadowrun), but never came close to emulating the true, traditional, wholesome, imaginative, wholly satanic and ridiculously time-consuming RPG experience.

So, what is an RPG? Well, it’s a role playing game, that’s what it is. Players assume roles and act out impromptu parts -following certain rules and in thoroughly defined settings- much like actors in radio theatre. Only, this is interactive theatre. You not only take part in a story but actually help tell it, as you’re absolutely free to do whatever crosses your mind.

How is this achieved? Simple. One of the players assumes the very important role of Game Master, Storyteller, Dungeon Master, Keeper, whatever. Let’s call him -as most RPGers do- the GM. Well, said GM’s job is to act as the other players’ senses, describing everything they see hear and smell, as the general organizer of play, as the narrator of the main plot and as the ultimate rules referee. His or her job, essentially, is to be what a PC or games console is -say- to an Oblivion gamer: the screen, the speakers, the physics engine, the enemy A.I., the voice of Patrick Stewart.

The major difference though is that a GM, unlike even 2 PS3s supported by a Pentium 5, can react and adopt to absolutely anything a player might come up with…Hence the importance of the rest of the players in the storytelling part. They are free to experience, twist, enrich, play through and ultimately shape the GM’s plot, always following some rules, not unlike those a video game would impose on a gamer. Rules, that determine whether a player kills a monster, is stealthy enough to bypass a drowsy guard or even adequately desirable to organise an orgy. What’s more, and just like in the vast majority of CRPGs, players get to create a character, an in-game persona, typically called the PC or Player Character, as opposed to the NPC or Non Player Character, obviously played by the GM.

 

What must absolutely be understood is that the GM is not the adversary of the players. He or she is just an instrumental part of a group of people enjoying a storytelling game. After all, there is no antagonism among players. Nobody can win in the traditional way and the game never really needs to end, as PCs grow older, more experienced and set forth for new adventures (in true MMORPG fashion). RPGs are collaborative, social, storytelling, imaginative affairs, totally unlike board and war games, even though they might share the use of dice -usually to determine the success of an action, be it combat or not.

Now, provided you’re even slightly intrigued, here are some pretty popular games/systems/settings (they usually come in the guise of books, you know, them nice papery things) to get you started. Surely you’ll recognize some of the names… Dungeons and Dragons (the father of the modern RPG, pretty complex, but perfectly balanced rules, huge variety of mostly fantasy settings), Call of Cthulhu (simple rules, fantastic insanity system, spawn of Lovecraft, brilliant and comfortably short scenarios) Vampire / WoD (simple and extremely versatile rules, Gothic feel, excellent prose), Shadowrun (very tactical, smart hacking mechanics, cyberpunk meets fantasy setting), Rolemaster (more complex than an accountant’s spreadsheet, but weirdly enjoyable) and the utterly notorious Aftermath!.

Anything else you care to know? Well, that’s what the comments section is for, you know…

Multiplayer Pranks!

Trickster demotivational poster
Trickster demotivational poster

Multiplayer Pranks!

If there’s anything better than being a rapscallion in real life it’s being a rapscallion in video games. Nothing comes close to ruining someone’s gaming experience and nothing comes close to the kind of heart wrenching laughter that ensues. There have been many moments in local and online multiplayer that have left me in tears of joy. Sometimes, exploiting someone’s fun is just way better than actually playing the game. Let us all gather around our illuminating monitor screens with our favorite caffeinated liquid garbage and share some fond puckish stories!

Of course, what community deserves to be treated like waste right away? That’s right! The World of Warcraft community. I couldn’t help myself when I realized my Warlock could summon people. It didn’t take long for me to come up with a way to grief people in my guild. It took me awhile to convince my wife to assist me in opening the portal though. Every guild has a leech. They don’t help out but love to beg for assistance. Well once, my wife, a friend in the guild, and myself invited this one member who wanted to run Scarlet Monastery with us. He was in the group and in Ironforge with us when we decided to run together. Unfortunately, when we began to run he didn’t leave IF. He chose to remain silent and not say a word.

When we made it to SM we said “Geez, there are a lot of Horde outside the door PvP enabled.” (we played on a PvP server so now they could just face rape us at this point). Suddenly, our player who took a vow of silence broke his promise to God and spoke up asking for a summon to the doors. I was pissed because I knew he was just eating shit so he didn’t have to do the walk and waited for us to reach the monastery. In any case, we summoned him. We did the entire instance and of course… he kept hitting need on everything. When we completed the instance we all hearthed back to Ironforge to repair and sell our loot. The bloodsucker decided to stay behind in SM to PvP. He then had the nerve to ask for a summon back to Ironforge when he had enough. When I asked him why he didn’t just use his stone he told me he didn’t want to waste the cooldown.

World of Warcraft screenshot
World of Warcraft screenshot

This is where my brilliant idea kicked in. After insisting to my wife this was just, I ran over to the forge and made my portal over the lava pit in Ironforge. Our friend and my wife clicked the portal and the ill begotten fool accepted his passage into hell! I watched as his body entered the zone and pulled a Wyle E. Coyote as he must’ve looked down and then back at me. If there was a /helpsign emote it would’ve fit this moment perfectly. The lighting of the flames below pressed against my pixilated face as I looked down relishing his death at the hands of the forging fires. There was no way out. I saw him attempt to hearth only to have it interrupted. He died and I laughed.

The mischief doesn’t end there. After the release of Burning Crusade I decided to make a Draenei Mage. It was a ton of fun and I didn’t mind handing out food and water to people. Being a vending machine was cool beans and I didn’t care one bit about handing out replenishment. At least, I didn’t mind until the Mage Buffet Table spell was added and everyone begged me to make this table every time we entered Alterac Valley. I wanted to get my killing on, not supply you with a reagent required buffet. No one ever paid me back or said thank you for it. They just asked rudely. This is when I decided to really put a damper on their day. AV had a long queue and I knew their punishment would be severe. The plan was set. Time to see if it would work. I opened up the portal and told every to click to summon the table. In an instant, four people disappeared. Yeah, I did it! I opened a portal to Stormwind and the dumb asses started clicking it and got ported out of AV. They had to begin the queue again from the beginning. I felt like a Golden God laughing down at the pathetic peons of the mortal plane!

My tenacity for tomfoolery didn’t begin in World of Warcraft, though. Years prior to this, when Everquest was still managed by Verant, there were events in the game run by the Game Masters. These GM Events would have players running all over Norrath trying to complete the task handed out to them. Normally you’d be able to tell it was a GM by their “Anonymous” tinted name and their quest format speech. They would put key words to ask them in [brackets] so that the player would know how to proceed to the next step of the quest.

EverQuest logo
EverQuest logo

Well… one boring night, my cousin and I decided to find some newbies in Misty Thicket and pretend we were GMs. I was walking around the newbie area with my name tinted purple for anonymous. I began to say, in quest format, “Oh dear! Where is my cousin [Finkle]?” A group of players, somehow believing this to be a GM evenet approached me and asked “Who is Finkle?” I turned to them in reply and gave them a long block of text informing them about my cousin and how I couldn’t find him in Rivervale and that I would appreciate if they would speak to him for me.

As they ran into Rivervale, my cousin was set up the same way and told them they should go out to Runnyeye to find me as I was patrolling the goblin city and they shouldn’t be startled by my disguise should they find me. When he told me they were coming I hauled ass into Runnyeye and put on my Mask of the Deceiver. When they found me I informed the players Finkle required 4 spider silks and to meet him in Erudin. The players foolishly then ran around Misty Thicket looking for silk to further the quest. It was at this time we logged out and wondered if they actually ran to Erudin. For those who didn’t play EQ and have played WoW, running from Rivervale to Runnyeye is the equivalent of running from Orgrimmar to the Crossroads. We asked them to do this three times.

Of all of these pranks, my favorite one is still the one where I got revenge in Everquest in Lower Guk. On my server, there was a monk who just loved to train people in LGUK by feigning death near groups and also killing the LFG people at the entrance. He did this all day. He was heartless. A cold and calculating monster. A scourge amongst the undead froglok blight. I was getting tired of attempting to cheese it towards the zone line while sliding around on the grime covered floors of this cesspool. I decided to challenge him to a duel. This druid sitting at the entrance kept giving him conjured nourishment while I AFK’d for a bit. When I came back, I read that he said “Enough! My bags are full!” The Norse God Loki must have whispered this sweet decadent idea to me as my smile spanned from ear to ear. The monk was dual wielding Wu’s Fighting Sticks, a rather expensive item in the game.

I initiated the duel and we began our battle. The time to commence my plan was at hand. I used my disarming ability on the bastard! I know, nowadays, disarming someone just disable the weapon, but in Everquest it put the item back in your bags. When your bags are full, well… your item falls to the ground. I saw his staff on the floor, picked it up and zoned out. I made my way to GFAY and sold it immediately. I was never contacted by a GM or by this monk ever and I made it away clean with an extra 4k platinum in my pocket. Justice was served for causing all those death penalties in Guk you son of a bitch, I thought triumphantly to myself.

Those are my stories of malicious intent towards others in the gaming community but what we really want to know at OG is what you’ve done even more! Please reply and let us know what kind of a horrible person you really are!