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OCD are a small games design company based in SE England. Our flagship product is the obSESSION Cross-Genre RPG System but we also make a small number of card games and have plans for further expansion.

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What the heck is a Role-Playing Game?

If you have somehow found your way to this site with no prior knowledge of RPGs then we congratulate you - you are in the process of discovering one of the most rewarding hobbies available in the modern world. A Role-Playing Game (or RPG for short) is a game in which each Player takes on the role of a single Character, much as an actor does in a play or film. Unlike actors, however, you have total control over what your Character thinks, says and does in a Role-Playing Game.

This does not mean that you can simply tell your Character’s story and expect everything to go your way. One Player takes on the role of Games Master, or GM, and takes charge of everything in the world that is not your Character. Additionally, a set of rules - commonly known as a “system” and based around one or more “mechanics” - determines how well your Character can perform certain actions. Don’t worry about that though, because these are simply names for common sense things you will hardly ever think about in the game. You just react to the situations you are presented with and decide what your Character does. In situations where it becomes necessary to know how well your Character performs these tasks then the system mechanics come into play and let you determine the result.

So you decide what you want to do, then roll some dice. Like moving on a game board, right?

No. Some RPGs do use a board to show where Characters are and this can be very handy in some situations but all of the action in an RPG takes place in your imagination. It is a form of co-operative story-telling where the Players’ Characters (known as PCs) react to a story devised by the GM and the group as a whole play out the ongoing drama. In some groups, play consists primarily of the Players talking as their Characters and dice are rarely rolled, while others rely heavily on the board and miniature figures to play a game of combat and conquest. The real beauty of Role-Play is that each group can find a style of play that works for them and play the game that they want, not what some designer or developer somewhere decided they should play.

Wait a minute - storytelling? I thought this was a game?

It is, and it is a lot of fun to boot. In an RPG you don’t think about the story you are telling, just as you don’t think about the story of your life while you are living it. You simply react to situations and desires and play your Character. Want a new magic sword? There’s gonna be a story to tell there, no doubt about it. Pro-Human types kidnapped your mutant sister and you need to get her back? That’s a story I’d want to hear. After the scenario, which is what we call each individual story, is over it becomes a story you can tell your gamer friends. Go and find a few Role-Players somewhere and you’ll find a plethora of stories about their favourite Characters and their most exciting adventures just waiting to be heard.

This sounds hard. What if I can’t think of anything to do?

No problem. While the best stories, in my experience, come from spontaneous action by Players who have a goal for their Characters and set out to achieve those goals, the GM’s job is to ensure that there is always something for the characters to be doing. Whether it is as simple as exploring an ancient tomb in search of treasure or as complex as tracking down a traitor within their organisations, the GM will have some story for you to tell. Initially the story will seem like it belongs to the GM but the more you settle into your Character and into the game the more it becomes your story. So what have you got to lose? Find a group in your local area and start playing. Then, when you’ve been doing it for a while, come back to the Forums and tell us all about your story.