View Full Version : How to inject more Roleplaying into my games?

Darius Kane
2012-12-23, 11:10 AM
In RPGs I'm generally more interested in the "Game" part, I spend more time fiddling with mechanics and using them. It's not that we don't roleplay at all. Of course we do, but it takes a backseat to mechanical encounters.
In my next game I want to try to focus more on Roleplaying, be a little more ambitious about it. That's why I need advice how to do it.
I'm playing 3.P and I like using the mechanics, so posts like "Try freeform/other system" or "Play Core" or "Limit the mechanics" will be ignored.

2012-12-23, 11:49 AM
Try the Adventure Paths. They tend to have significant bits of roleplay essential elements (and sometimes there are related systems).

2012-12-23, 11:52 AM
well, lets go with the paladin for instance:

have rumors floating around in world that some various noble is sick, see if they go heal the person.

In a world which is less serious:

Have the Kobold Guild of Adventure Fodder go on strike, have the PCs work out a new contract between the city and the guild.

2012-12-23, 06:37 PM
I'm not sure if you're a player or the DM in this situation, so I'll give advice for both. If you're a player, figure out what your character's personality is, and do more talking in character, or have your character act on some personality quirk. For example, my Bard in our current game is obsessed with collecting information so that she can write better stories and songs, so she keeps interrupting the villain during his/her monologue to ask about irrelevant details like if they have any cool nicknames, and what the name of their fortress is.

If you're the DM, use plot hooks related to the character's background stories. For example, you could have the party investigate the ransacking of the church the cleric trained in, or have goblins kidnap someone's best friend from childhood.

2012-12-23, 11:58 PM
Well, let's define something: do you want more "roleplaying" (as in making decisions from a character's perspective) or more "acting"?

Darius Kane
2012-12-24, 01:09 AM
I'm pretty sure I used the world "roleplaying" and not "acting".

2012-12-24, 01:58 AM
I'm pretty sure I used the world "roleplaying" and not "acting".

The reason I ask is that I often find that when people complain about their players not "roleplaying," what they really mean is that they don't "act." They're concerned that their players aren't having conversations in-character, using funny voices, or things like that. That's perfectly acceptable roleplaying, but from an "acting" perspective, isn't exactly exciting.

But if you want to convince players to roleplay more. . . and if you're the GM. . . there's one question I keep in my back pocket to encourage more roleplay:

"Okay. How do you do it?"

So let's say a player says, "I want to convince the guard to let us through." You'd say, "Okay, how do you do it?" The player might reply by saying, "I'd tell him that we're travelling merchants and we've lost our identity papers." "All right, roll it."

That's perfectly acceptable roleplaying.

If on the other hand you want to play out the conversation itself, word by word? That's what I define as "acting," and that's a whole other story altogether.

2012-12-24, 02:28 AM
This is a the subject of my Alternative XP homebrew. It is in my sig if interested. I have not been able to playtest it yet, though. It was inspired by a game called the Riddle of Steel, which was role-playing focused.

Basically you get the best XP awards for roleplaying. Player characters choose 3-5 "driving forces" in their personalities. A simple way to say it is you choose goals. Only when you are furthering these goals do you get the full XP award, otherwise you get 1/4.

2012-12-24, 09:29 AM
By injecting more roleplaying into your games do you mean;

ask your players to provide some background on their characters for example;

Heron Darkwintre is a cleric of helm whose mother is actually a cleric of another faith, to honour her he changed his name from Roland to Heron as thats considered a part of her faith's doctrine.
He was raised by his uncle whose a firm believer in Helm which is why he was trained as a cleric of Helm instead of his mother's faith whom returned to the church after leaving him in her brother's care after her marriage fell apart following her husband recognising a child born to him by his mistress.

None of that ever came up when I played him but I did wonder if thats what you meant.


Your game is set in a post apocalyptic future earth where magic has returned and civilisation is rebuilding itself following a cataclysm.
Your players have to decide for themselves where their characters start in this game where its effectively been reduced to the bronze age except for some technological advancements have been kept such as sewers, toilets, hot and cold running water you know stuff to remind them its set in a future where the amenities of the modern era do still exist but its far from the ideal of the present day.

Or something else?

Jay R
2012-12-24, 11:07 AM
By making your character match what you want to do.

If I'm playing a super-hero, his Psychological Limitations will include a passion for stopping wrong-doers.

My current 2E elf thief/wizard hates slavery, and is trying to break down the slavery ring. He's also long been an outcast, and distrusts everyone. This lets him be the sneak, while the paladin, who trusts most people, does the talking.

My 1E Egyptian prince wants to become pharaoh, and is seeking to prove his worth. So he seeks out adventures, tries to be high-profile, etc.

If your character's personality doesn't match the kind of things you will actually have him or her do, then the character is as uncomfortable as a person in algebra class who doesn't like math.

2012-12-24, 12:56 PM
I think at it most basic, roleplaying consists of
1) having a conception of your character's motivations and behavioral inertia,
2) portraying these patterns consistently and credibly in the context of the challenges that the character faces by making appropriate choices and changes.

Most players on Play-by-Post games, for instance, are poor actors, and the writing they (we) produce is mediocre. Yet we can still roleplay well, as long as we succeed in communicating our character concept.