Basic concepts

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Navigation: Main Page Getting started, step 2: Basic concepts



The 'role' in 'roleplaying'

As in all other tabletop RPGs, there are two types of people involved in playing MazeWorld: Players and Game Masters (or GMs).

GMs prepare the story, introduce the setpieces, Non-Player Characters (NPCs) and ideally, plan for multiple possible outcomes, depending on how the players go through them.

Players make things happen by using their wits, their Player Characters (PCs)' skills, equipment, abilities, and their decisions, which they then play out in character; just like how actors playing their characters make things happen in a movie or a TV show. However, the difference between a movie and the events of a RPG, are that players retain control of their characters and are the ones to make things happen. Sometimes, according to the GM's plans, and sometimes, despite them.

If you are familiar with roleplaying, these concepts should already be familiar to you, but if not, the gist of it is this: you play as the characters you control would, speaking the words they would say, doing the actions they would do. GMs must be familiar with this concept in order to run a game of MazeWorld, but they can ease people who are new or unskilled at roleplaying with simple interactions, like a discussion or a short scene between a NPC (controlled by the GM) and a newbie player's PC, to gauge these players' abilities and teach them how to play.

The role of the game's rules and mechanics is to help with conflict resolution and problem solving, to introduce elements of chance, randomness and uncertainty, and to determine the outcome of the story, action by action. Will your character aim her MP5A3 at the chest of the bad guy, knowing he has body armor, or will she risk a shot to the head in an attempt to bring him down faster, knowing she might miss? Will this rag work on your wound or will you need to scrape by for a real bandage? Do you have enough supplies to last you until the next town, or is death around the corner?

The GM and you

As is customary for a tabletop RPG, the Game Master is the person who leads a game of MazeWorld. They are the one who sets up and advance the story. The GM oversees the actions of every player character, and is in control of every NPC (non-player character) of the game. But most importantly, they are in control of the dice and the rules of the game; not the other way around.

A GM may, and has full rights, to exercise 'GM fiat' and determine the outcome of any action, and may override any check, any roll of the dice, whether openly or secretly in doing so, if they believe it would be more fun or more fair to do so. Therefore, when you roll to swing a knife at the bear that's attacking you, if the dice say you missed, but the GM says you hit, then you hit, and the bear is going to take damage.

Roleplaying is co-operative, not competitive. In order for a game to be good and for everyone to have fun, GM and players should work together. In most games, the story should be about the player characters, and if it's not necessarily about them, players must at least feel part of an important story, as people who are responsible for advancing, shaping, changing, or even derailing the story. Fun should be the number one priority.

Specifics on how to be a Game Master and how to run a game of MazeWorld can be found in all of the pages listed in the For Game Masters section.

Making things happen

Player Characters (PCs) are thinking, living, feeling people just like you.

In MazeWorld, a session generally follows the day-to-day adventures of one, or a small group of PCs as they are involved in the plot and circumstances surrounding it. It is even possible to play without a specific plot in mind, by simply relying on the pre-existing jobs and activities and on the randomly-generated dangers of the Uncivilized Area and having the GM simply follow where the PCs go.

In most cases, however, a GM should prepare a story and some sort of basic plot, and although the game can be adapted for virtually any kind of story within the realm of the Mazes, it is best suited for adventures spanning across multiple towns and localities, with multiple ways to tackle a specific problem. GMs should never railroad their players into a desired outcome, or at the very least, they must never feel as though they are being funneled, at the risk of players feeling as though they really had no control over the outcome.

Outside of the considerations of story and plot, which should be up to the imagination of the GM, most actions are resolved through checks or rolls of the dice. Most of the time, they will involve d6s, d8s and d100s, but since this game was conceived with dice bots in mind, you must fully expect to roll any and all kinds of dice, sometimes in quantities larger than would be feasible with real, physical dice.

In particular, the 2d6 is important in MazeWorld, as it is the most commonly used dice for resolving attacks. For example, in a gunfight, every shot is tied to a 2d6, the result of each is checked against various circumstances in order to determine which bullets hit, and which miss. (the shooter's personal accuracy level, skill level, point of aim, and other modifiers - all of which will be explained later, so don't feel intimidated!)

Every time the dice are rolled, the results are checked against thresholds in order to determine success or failure. In MazeWorld, unless the conditions for success or failure of a specific action are clearly detailed otherwise, rolling higher is better, and you must roll higher than a certain threshold in order to succeed. For example, the Failure Threshold (FT) is a statistic governing combat accuracy; it is a number that must be beaten by a dice roll in order for an attack to to be successful and turn into a hit landing onto a target. The lower your FT is, the more chances you have to hit the target.

  • Example: John's Failure Threshold is 7, meaning that all other factors being equal, he must roll 8 or higher in order for his punch to land into the stomach of his opponent.

Plenty of things can modify these thresholds (and in turn, one's chances of success), but they are generally grouped into three categories: Permanent effects, which fully and completely lower a particular character's thresholds for certain actions, Secondary effects, which are usually limited in time or tied to a specific condition, but is otherwise not permanent, and Situational effects, which are dependent on specific actions.

  • Example of a permanent effect: John has Master skill level in Automatic Rifles, allowing him to shoot burst- and full-auto capable rifles with such ease that he is more accurate than most. He therefore benefits from a permanent FT-1 effect when shooting this kind of weapon.
  • Example of a secondary effect: When John is under the influence of a specific substance, such as Diazepam, he benefits from a temporary boost to his Failure Threshold, making him more accurate with every single type of weapon or attack, until the effects of the substance dissipate.
  • Example of a situational effect: When John is fighting an armed henchman who happens to be wearing body armor, he can choose whether to hit him in the torso, and risk having to waste more bullets than usual to put him down, or to try and go for the head, which would impart a malus (FT+1); the head is smaller and harder to hit. But a successful hit could eliminate the henchman more quickly.

Sometimes, the dice produce outstanding results that are known as criticals. There are two kinds: critical successes and critical failures. Whether or not criticals are possible, and the conditions for triggering them, depend on the circumstances, but most of the time, you will see criticals occur during combat. As stated earlier, the 2d6 is the roll to make to resolve an attack. A critical failure happens on the lowest possible result, a 2, and a critical success occurs on the highest possible result, a 12. As a result, veteran MzW players learned to fear the two and bless the twelve, so to speak.

This section will not go into further detail; other sections of the wiki will fill you in on how each kind of action can be resolved, this page is just here to give you an idea of how things work, and what to expect in a typical session.

If this has motivated you to keep going, then the next step is character creation. For Game Masters, rest assured; later sections will give you tools and tips on how to run the game, and what to read in order to familiarize yourself with the game's world and lore, to help you create your own stories.

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Step 1: Introduction Step 2: Basic concepts Step 3: Character creation