As as player, you control a main character and hero (also known as a Player Character or PC) of the story. Player Characters move the story forward by interacting with the world around them. You are responsible for deciding how your character should speak, act, and otherwise interact with its surroundings. Your character exists within a world and setting developed by your Gamemaster. The character will have connections to the world and a background story that you develop with the help of your GM. This background often includes information about family, previous training or occupations and major events that have occurred in the character's life. Heroes often have humble beginnings, and begin adventuring to seek fame or fortune. Sometimes a tragic event in a character's past will fuel its motives for adventuring. Ultimately, your character's background can be anything you can imagine, as long as it fits into the Gamemaster's world. Make sure you have a clear picture of your character's backstory and motives; you will use them to make decisions for your character throughout the game.
How to Play your Character
Playing a character means making decisions for the character and stating the actions that they try to take. When faced with a decision, try to draw on your character's background and previous experience to determine how he should act. For example, if your character is generally cautious by nature, then he is not likely to greet a stranger with open arms. Likewise, a character who tends to be boisterous and energetic is unlikely to sulk in a corner during a lively town festival. Background and experiences can also cause your character to have prejudices towards certain types of other characters or creatures, eliciting perhaps unusual and extreme reactions. For example, a character whose loved ones were killed by Orcs will likely act hostile when confronted with an Orc hunting party, even if that character is normally peaceable. Likewise, a character that was once saved by a Cleric of Odeen, may react kindly to any characters of the same order.
As a player, you help drive the story forward by speaking for your character and having them perform actions. This includes exploring and investigating new environments (where your character may discover important information, find useful tools and items, or locate hidden passages). You get to interact with other player's characters and come in contact with characters created by the Gamemaster (called Non-player characters or NPCs). Your character may find it useful to build relationships with NPCs whom can later be called upon for help. Although not all NPCs exist to help and some NPCs may be villainous, creating conflict with your character.
Throughout an adventure your character can be presented with a multitude of challenges, such as treacherous terrain, mind bending puzzles and riddles, and dangerous creatures. For some challenges, your character may have to fight to survive, while others may require them to use their heads. Not all situations encountered will be black and white, either. For example, when pursued by some corrupted city guards, will your character attempt to lose them on the winding streets, use wits to talk his way out of the situation, or will he stand and fight?
Ultimately, your are responsible for maintaining all aspects of your character. During a session, you are expected to describe what your character does, speak for your character, and communicate to the GM and players how your character visibly acts in situations and conflicts. You are expected to recognize and record information that your character has learned and recall its interactions with people, places, and things within the story.
You also get to handle the more mechanical aspects of your character. You roll dice to determine the outcome of your character's actions (occasionally your GM will do it for you). You keep track of your character's current health and energy usage. You also keep a record of your character's possessions, valuables, and equipment. You maintain a character sheet where you can track such information, as well as your character's statistics and abilities. More details about how to determine and utilize these mechanics are discussed later.
How to Portray your Character
Portraying your character, often referred to as roleplaying, is about breathing life into the character you create. Much as an actor takes on a role in a movie, you take on the role of your character and can act out his speech and mannerisms. As QoD is about telling a story, it is your descriptions of your character's appearance and actions that help bring life to the story and paint a picture for the other players.
Just as everyone comes into the game with different levels of experience, everyone will have different comfort levels when it comes to roleplay. Some players may be uncomfortable to start, spending more time stating the actions of their characters than describing them. Other players may be able to describe their actions, but tend to refer to their characters in the third person and are reluctant to speak for their character. The most comfortable roleplayers tend to speak as their character at all times and vividly describe each move their character makes. All of these styles and comfort levels are perfectly fine, but the more description and personality you can bring to your character, the more that you and the other players will enjoy the story being told. Also, players tend to feed off each other, so the more your character speaks and interacts with them, the more comfortable other players will become in their roleplay.
You don't have to start out as a Roleplaying master. As long as everyone is having fun, then you're playing the game right. All gaming groups have different styles too, so some are more roleplay oriented than others. A great way to start is to think of a few habits your character might have, such as biting their nails when they get nervous. You can then insert this habit at appropriate times to signify how your character is feeling. Your Gamemaster may prompt you to roleplay by starting up simple conversations with you through NPCs(see the sidebar to the right).
Portraying Dice Rolls
Often, you are asked to make dice rolls within the game to determine your character's success of failure at a task. Sometimes your roll will fail, allowing you a great opportunity to roleplay your character. For example, if your character attempts to sneak up on an opponent and fails, you can decide how he fails (though the GM may alter your decision to have it better fit the setting). Maybe he stubbed his toe and cursed loudly. Maybe he stepped on a creaky stair. Likewise, when trying to charm the local bar wench into giving you a free drink, a failed roll could mean a smack in the face, or that your character threw up at her feet ("You've had enough!" she cries.) Remember, that your character is not you, and failing at a task is not you losing or failing at the game. A failed roll is simply your character's mistakes and flaws coming to light. Remember to think of your successes and failures not just as mechanics within the game, but as chances to describe the deeds, actions, shortcomings, and pitfalls of your character.
Early in the morning, Onyx receives a summons from Count Edmund, urging him to come at his earliest availability. Onyx arrives and is led to the Count's study.
Michelle (The Gamemaster, speaking as Count Edmund, an NPC): Hello Onyx. Thank you for meeting me on such short notice.
Dylan (speaking as his character, Onyx): Onyx gives a slight bow in response to the Count's greeting. Of course, your grace. How can I be of assistance to you?
Michelle: I've heard troublesome reports of raids on the small towns of Creekwater and Shadeshore at the edge of my lands. I'd like you and your compatriots to investigate and report back to me.
Dylan: Of course, my liege. Do you have any additional information about the raids?
Michelle: Nothing concrete, but the reports speak of livestock going missing in the night, farms set ablaze, and store rooms broken into.
Dylan: I've heard of those towns and they are fairly close to each other. Are the raids similar in nature? Could it be the work of a single culprit?
Michelle: As the reports from both villages are similar, I think it likely we are looking at a single culprit.
Dylan: Alright sir, and what compensation should my compatriots and I expect for investigating this matter?
Michelle: I've always liked you Onyx, he says with a smile. Right down to business. I offer you and your fellows each a sum of 10 gold coins to investigate the matter, deliverable upon receiving a report back from you.
Dylan: And if we are able to locate and eliminate the problem for you?
Michelle: Count Edmund chuckles. I think that can be negotiated at a later time and will depend on what you find.
Dylan: Of course, your grace, Onyx says with a polite smile. Is there anything else you can tell me that may be of use?
Michelle: You should travel first to Creekside. The magistrate there, Conrad Brewster can give you more details on the attacks.
Dylan: Thank you, your Grace. We will depart straightaway. I assure you, we will have information for you soon.
Michelle: Thank you, Onyx. I appreciate your assistance with this matter.Dylan: Onyx bows once again and takes his leave.
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