wikiHow to Play a Roleplaying Game

Roleplaying is not unlike writing a book as you go along. You'll start with numbers on a page, and if everything goes well, you and your colleagues will end up with an unforgettable experience.


  1. Image titled Play a Roleplaying Game Step 1
    Decide which game you want to play. Some games are more complex than others. Some games are set in fantasy worlds, some are more realistic. Some are even futuristic. If there has been a book or a movie written about it, fiction or non-, you can probably roleplay it.
  2. Image titled Play a Roleplaying Game Step 2
    Find a group of like-minded players. Roleplaying is generally a social activity, so once you've decided what you want to focus on, it's time to find two or three other people interested in the same thing.
  3. Image titled Play a Roleplaying Game Step 3
    Decide who your referee or "gamemaster" will be. It will most likely be whoever knows the rules of the game best.
  4. Image titled Play a Roleplaying Game Step 4
    Make your characters. Just what a "character" means will depend on which game you end up playing, but in most games, there will be a myriad of character types you can choose from. Your "Character" will be your means of interacting with the game, with you (as a player) making all the decisions as to the character's actions. You decide what actions your character will take and which they won't. This is often one of the most rewarding experiences of the game, seeing the consequences and rewards of certain choices and their effects on the character and his/her friends and environment.
  5. Image titled Play a Roleplaying Game Step 5
    Play, and have fun. Having fun, after all, is the main point. If your character doesn't last, you can always make a new one. The Gamemaster will describe the settings and will play the parts of the people your characters will meet and interact with. The players will state how they interact with the environment and how they react to situations the Game master presents.
  6. Image titled Play a Roleplaying Game Step 6
    The Gamemaster will also adjudicate the rules and make calls as to who can do what and describe the effects of a particular action the characters take. So every monster you face, every merchant you buy things from, every rebel commander, will be acted out by the Gamemaster. If it sounds like a tough job, it is! But being the Gamemaster can be very rewarding.


  • Ideally, roleplaying is not a competition between players. It may be a competition between good and evil, or even a friendly rivalry, but if you go home feeling upset, you're probably not doing something right.
  • In every group of roleplaying greenhorns, it is an immense help (though not strictly necessary) to have someone who has played the game before. Having at least one or two new people, on the other hand, can broaden the veterans' horizons by overcoming preconceived notions.


  • Roleplaying, especially of the fantasy kind, has gotten a very bad rep from people that don't understand it. Keep the roleplaying in your imagination, and don't do anything stupid that could hurt anyone else.
  • If you find that roleplaying is the only social activity you're participating in, take a break from it. If nothing else, participating in another activity may give you an idea for the game (i.e. I use my cordless drill to open the padlock)

Things You'll Need

  • A place to play. This is often the house/apartment/dorm room of one of the players. It should be someplace where you won't have to battle other distractions. (Roommates watching TV or practicing guitar) It should also be someplace where you won't be a distraction to others.
  • Dice. Not every roleplaying game requires the use of dice, there are a few systems (Amber, Nobilis) which have creatively addressed this "need", but a vast majority of the roleplaying games on the market will expect you to have a set of dice. It's best to have your own set of dice for the game. Some players get annoyed when other people use their dice. The 'standard' set of dice is a pair of 6 sided dice (called a D6), a pair of ten sided dice (D10) and one each of D4, D8, D12 and D20. Which specific dice are required depends on the game.
  • Paper and pencils. Roleplaying often requires things to be recorded, at least temporarily. Cryptic puzzles, names of important people, sketches of important finds, maps of the area, etc. Having blank, lined or graph paper (best? All three!) to handle these tasks. Some of these can be done with a white board and appropriate markers and some people use graphs on vinyl that can be written on with water soluble markers.
  • Rule books. Unless you are a very skilled game master with understanding and flexible players, you cannot just make the game up on the spot. Having a copy of the important rules will keep arguments down and make sure no one is too confused about what's expected. There are often separate books for players and game masters and it is often much more convenient to have a couple copies of the players guides around as references.

Article Info

Categories: Role Playing Games