|Not Black Leaf from Jack Chick's Dark Dungeons comic.|
. . . Recently, role-playing games have come in for some of the same sort of complaints. However, the critics seem to overlook or disregard the supportable contention that engaging in vicarious aggressive behavior is an outlet for such tendencies in humankind. This is especially the case when one becomes more than a passive observer of such activities.
Even the most outspoken of the critics must admit that long before we had print and film media to “spread the word,” mankind was engaged in all forms of cruel and despicable behavior. To attribute war, killing, and violence to film, TV, and role-playing games is to fly in the face of thousands of years of recorded history. In Little Wars, H. G. Wells pointed out that tin soldiers leave no orphans or widows and ventured the thought that if more people were busy “fighting” such “little wars,” they would have no time for big (real) ones. While definitive studies of the topic are not yet available, the initial evidence points toward the likelihood of less aggressive and violent behavior among RPG participants. Two reports mentioned to me indicate that in the group of RPG hobbyists, the incidence of such behavior is fifty to two hundred times smaller than is typical of the populace at large.
Certainly, those who are or aspire to be role-playing masters do not have violent or aggressive personalities because of their participation in role-playing games. They understand that the conflict and violence in such games are only simulations, not meant to be translated into real-life experiences or used as an excuse for such behavior. A master player or game master does not allow - in fact, never gives a conscious thought to allowing-actions taken in the context of the game to dictate or affect his or her activities in the real-world environment. A master knows the difference between role-playing, role assumption, and real life and never mixes one of these with another. This is the best, and indeed the only, way to get the utmost benefit out of each activity . . . (Gygax, pg. 23)
|What do you mean my character already died!|
Class Features: this term refers to any ability, including spell casting, that sets your class apart from the others. An example of this would be the Fighter's Second Wind feature (pg. 25).
Level: A denotation to mark how advanced in experience and powers your player character has become. You advance in level by gaining experience points (more on that in Part 4: Experience Points).
Hit Points: A numerical value that defines how tough your character is; how much damage they can sustain before succumbing to the damage and falling unconscious or dying.
Hit Die: The type of die you use to determine your maximum hit points at first level, and then use to determine how much that maximum increases at each level. Your class will tell you which die to use. Additionally, this dice helps determine how much you're able to heal while resting (more on that in Part 16: Resting)
Proficiency Bonus: This bonus is applied to a variety of tasks and is bound to your level.
When it comes to picking your equipment you have two options: taking the starting equipment set or picking it all yourself. If you're pressed for time the starting set is a good way to go, but I'll tell you I've never done that. For me it's always so much more satisfying to pick out the armor I'll be wearing and all the individual ephemera that I'll be rolling with since I can do far more damage being clever than I ever could just following a set pattern (see the completed series Nobody Makes it Out Alive for more).
We'll talk more about the specifics of armor and weapons during the larger discussion of classes and equipment later.
Part 4 (pg. 10): The Problem with Experience