If you’ve never played a roleplaying game before, the core idea is simple: you get some friends together and start to tell a story about a cast of characters you make up. The game’s moderator (GM) will present your player characters (PCs) with obstacles and challenges. Then you describe how the PCs react.
That’s the essential game: you have a conversation back and forth between players and GM, collaborating to create an engaging story.
Gameplay isn’t 100% conversation. Sometimes the game’s rules bring uncertainty into the story. Players will roll dice to see how they cope. You can think of these roll results like prompts in an improv show: the dice tell you a new challenge or twist, and your characters have to react.
In Ruralpunk, you’ll tell stories about fledgling heroes trying to save their fractured small town from a myriad of cyber, mutant, and human threats in a cyberpunk future. What does being a hero mean? That’s something for you to decide. You will shape your character’s beliefs and goals as you play, dynamically responding to the story you all create together.
Starting a game of Ruralpunk is pretty simple. You need:
If you’re a new player, all you really need to know are the rules covered in this chapter and character creation (which you can read as you create your first character). Gameplay is broken into two phases: a venture phase and a town phase. You can learn the specific procedures for those phases as you play them.
Players & Game Moderator
In any game of Ruralpunk, you are either a player or a game moderator.
If you’re a player, your main role in the game is to portray one of the protagonists. You create a player character (PC) that works with the other players to define the basic identity of your team and town. The players focus on using their PCs to challenge the established powers, build relationships within their community, and push for a better future for their town. Each player decides how much they compromise their ideals, or try to hold onto their integrity despite the costs.
The players work with the GM to define tone and style of the game. This partnership starts with choosing your starting community, but will continue through all of play.
If you’re the game moderator (GM), your main role is to establish the scene and describe the world’s response to the players. The GM brings the danger and weirdness of the world to life around the PCs, especially the indifferent sledge-hammer of elite factions, deep schisms between the people in their small town, and the slow grind of scarcity wearing away at their community’s ability to survive. The GM balances the impersonal power of the factions by bringing non-player characters (NPCs) to life with individual drives and secrets.
The GM does not design a story. The GM offers hooks for the players to pursue, and presents them with obstacles to their goals. As the players react, the GM continually ties consequences and outcomes into a wider web of relationships between the PCs, town members, and factions. As the PCs improve or strain their relationship within the community, the GM will portray how the political world of power influences their pursuits.