JRPGs, WRPGs and Tabletop RPGs (Connections and Disconnects) Introduction

So much like what I assume is a large part of the current generation of RPG gamers, I got my start in front of a Nintendo rather than at a gaming table.  I played the Final Fantasy series and Chrono Trigger back when my mom was still convinced that those Dungeons and Dragons books would lead me into devil worship.  I also played some Western RPGs on our old Computer, Like The Bard’s Tale and the Wizardry series.  I actually managed to completely miss the Ultima series though.

Anyway, the point of this post is that playing JRPGs made Western RPGs a bit confusing, and my methods for playing them both really made me an ineffective tabletop player when I first started playing Dungeons and Dragons.  Conversely, my experience playing tabletop RPGs made me much better at videogame RPGs because I learned the importance of things like specialization.  This series of posts is going to look into some of the ways playing one type of RPG can influence the way you play the others.

This series is going to be divided into three parts…

Story and Narrative (The Actual Role Playing Part):  Where I will talk about how playing JRPGs and WRPGs can affect how players in Tabletop RPGs see their role and place in the adventure.  There will be some revisiting of Main Character Syndrome, as well as a little talk about the differences in plot structure between the more restrictive videogames and the completely open tabletop worlds.

Mechanics (Crunching the Numbers):  This is the section that’s going to include the most differentiation between the two types of videogame RPGs.  I plan to talk about how, traditionally, JRPGs leave everything outside of combat to automatically succeed while WRPGs are more like tabletop games with non-combat skills being mechanically represented.  I’ll also talk about things like the difference in scale between videogames and tabletop RPGs.

Proficiency (Getting Better):  Where I talk about the skills that I learned from videogame RPGs that I tie into my tabletop gaming, and vice versa.  I’m tackling this one last because I think the others are an important set up.

So yeah, stay tuned because I expect that this will be a real fun set of posts.  Hopefully the whole series will be finished by the weekend.

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