Tabletop RPGs are a such a unique type of game because there’s so many distinct mechanics to enjoy. Rulebooks offer everything from character building and combat rules, to a framework for players to fully immerse themselves in their character and create collaborative stories. Every TTRPG player comes to the table for different reasons, and consciously thinking about what parts of RPGs you and your friends like the most can help you focus your gameplay and pick a rulebook that’s right for you. Some players are all in it for the combat, while others love to roleplay and solve mysteries. From my experience, players typically fall into six archetypes which your group can consider when deciding on what you like most about RPGs. When you’re reading through each type, think about which reasons you love RPGs and leave a comment!
The “Looter Shooter”
Some players love tabletop RPGs for the same reason they love a video-game like Skyrim. The “Looter Shooter” loves an RPG’s cycle of action-packed combat and awesome loot (that can be used for future combat). They often spend less time concerned with the details of their character’s personality or background, and prefer to express the uniqueness of their character through the weapons they wield and the fighting style they employ.
Recommended RPGs: Dungeons and Dragons (all editions), Black Crusade
Though some players like loot and action, others prefer to focus on designing the perfect character. Some RPGs allow you to make exactly the character you want by offering lots of powers, skills, and classes to mix and match. Some players love character building to create the most powerful fighters possible, while others enjoy complex character building systems because it lets them create a very specific character they want to act out.
Recommended RPGs: Shadowrun, Dungeons and Dragons 3.5 edition
The “Problem Solver”
Many adventures revolve around complex problems or intricate puzzles. How can the party break into a museum without getting caught, or slay a dragon with impenetrable scales? The problem solver loves being the guy with the perfect solution. They enjoy spending time coordinating team movements, searching for valuable information, and doing other side quests to set up a master plan to tackle even the most complex of puzzles.
Recommended RPGs: Shadowrun, Dark Heresy
Being able to walk and talk as an entirely new person is a core experience of RPGs. The Actor loves getting into character, and takes actions entirely based on what they think their character would do, even when those actions may hurt the party’s chances of winning a fight or gaining more loot.
Recommended RPGs: FATE system, Fiasco, The Burning Wheel
While the actor cares about making sure he represents the personality of his singe character well, the storyteller wants to make sure his character fits well into a larger story, and wants to make decisions that he thinks will benefit the drama, suspense, and surprise everyone at the table feels. These players will often want to coordinate the backstory of their character with other characters in the party and the lore of the world the game master has created.
Recommended RPGs: FATE system, Savage Worlds
At the end of the day, playing RPGs is about having fun. The Goofball loves RPGs as a way of creating ridiculous characters and situations that everyone can laugh along with. They often pick the craziest combination of classes and races when making their characters, and usually give their character a backstory and personality anywhere from comical to outright absurd. The goofball is having the most fun when his character can be a catalyst for laughter at the table.
Recommended RPGs: Demon Hunters: A Comedy of Terrors, Monster of the Week, Kobolds Ate My Baby, Paranoia
So what kind of player are you? What kind of players do you think are most common in your RPG group? Once you know what your group likes most about Tabletop RPGs you can tailor your plots to focus on what everyone is interested in, pick out a rulebook and setting that lets your player characters thrive, and spend more time at the table focusing on what you love most!