What are RPGs?
Simply put, roleplaying games (RPGs) are a form of interactive entertainment where people gather together (often around a table) to play the parts of characters, and to be part of a collaborative story. They have several similarities to 'Murder Mystery' parties, usually with a co-ordinator to help move the story along. Often the plots and storylines are provided by publishers, but you can also make your own.
Roleplaying/interactive games have been around since the mid 1970s and can provide an immense amount of fun as you and your friends take on a persona from any period or setting, exploring mysteries from the comfort of your own home.
It's often difficult to properly describe how roleplaying games can work, but fortunately we have some sample audio recordings available.
Examples of Games
Members of the YSDC web site have recorded several examples of Lovecraftian investigative roleplaying games in actual play, produced in MP3 audio format by the Innsmouth House Players. The examples provided here are just one style of play, but gives an indication of general theme.
The Pale God is a classic adventure set in Lovecraft's fictional town of Arkham, Massachusetts during Prohibition. It's a game played in one evening and the recording was made using the Binaural technique, providing a 3D Surround Sound experience as if you were sat right at the table with the rest of the players.
The Lovecraftian Tales from the Table DVD is Yog-Sothoth's own 10th Anniversary disc featuring more recordings and a plethora of bonus material and is available via Innsmouth House to Patrons of Yog-Sothoth.
Lovecraftian Investigative Games
Based on the works of Jazz Age weird fiction author, H.P. Lovecraft, investigative roleplaying games immerse players in the exciting settings of Lovecraft's creations. The most common setting for such games is during the 1920s & '30s, often with flappers, adventurers, prohibition and the unspeakably monstrous creatures of H.P Lovecraft's 'Cthulhu Mythos'.
Players take on the roles of people drawn into dark mysteries in an attempt to thwart the sinister plots of the Cthulhu Mythos. What's going on in that old house on the hill? Explore the ruins of ancient Mayan temples, plumb the depths of the machinations of nefarious cults. You could be a detective, reporter, archaeologist, venturesome librarian or whatever character you decide to create.
The rules used for such games are usually straightforward and unobtrusive. For example, a free introductory version of Call of Cthulhu by Chaosium Inc. is available to download from here:
Call of Cthulhu Quick Start Rules (also includes introductory adventure).
All you need are some friends and a few dice to play. If you don't have any dice, simply print out the following PDF with 'number chits' and use them instead.
Dice chits for Call of Cthulhu (Print, cut up, use in a bag, bowl or mug!)
Adventuring in the Worlds of H.P. Lovecraft
by Keith ("Doc") Herber
Benefits of Roleplaying Games
There are many benefits to roleplaying games, they make use of your imagination, they can help with numeracy, social skills, show the impact of action and consequence and most of all, can be a lot of fun with friends.
Give it a go. It's free!