Welcome to the world of Role-Playing Games (RPGs), where interactive, story-driven adventures come to life. In an RPG, the audience isn't just passive observers. Instead, they become the Protagonists of an evolving story, shaped by their actions and decisions. The Narrator and the Players collaborate, crafting a tale that springs from the collective imagination of the Group. Unlike traditional games, there are no winners or losers in an RPG. The goal is to immerse yourself in a world created by the Narrator, a world that, while bound by certain rules, encourages unrestricted imaginative play.
Think of the dynamic of a group playing Metanthropes like this: the Narrator is the screenwriter, the director, and the entire supporting cast of a series. You, the Player, become the Protagonist: the star of the show. But there are no scripted lines or directions for you. You're free to do whatever you want, and the Narrator adapts the story based on your actions. The Narrator sets the scene, describing the environment, the mood, the setting, and the Characters involved. Then, it's up to you, the Protagonist, to drive the story forward. You interact with other characters, the environment, and the world around you. You're responsible for your character's inner thoughts and how they translate into dialogue and actions. The Narrator controls the dialogue and actions of all non-player characters (NPCs), including the Antagonists.
The Narrator can impose instinctual responses, inner dialogue, dreams, visions, or flashbacks for a Protagonist. But the rest is up to the Player. The outcomes of actions are determined by rolling dice, combining luck with a numerical value that represents a Character’s attribute. This system ensures that every Metanthrope is a unique individual, with their own personality, temperament, virtues, and vices. And just as every Protagonist is unique, so is every story. Each Narrator tailors a tale to the needs and tastes of the group, making each session a unique experience. RPGs are the ultimate form of entertainment, offering players limitless options in a setting of endless possibilities.
For more about the system and rules of the Metanthropes, visit here.
Roleplaying in Metanthropes is the act of embodying the role of another character, bringing them to life within your Group. There's no right or wrong way to do it. Each Group can develop its own style of roleplaying, tailored to their interests and preferred pace and intensity of the game.
The Narrator sets the mood and tone with their descriptions and the roleplay of the NPCs. From there, the Players take over. With limitless possibilities at their fingertips, Players are free to explore, interact, and shape the story as they see fit. The game unfolds as Players and Narrators engage in collaborative storytelling, improvising on the spot to create a truly unique narrative. The Narration can be momentarily suspended whenever the Narrator or a Player needs to ask an "out of character" question or seek clarification.
Transitioning into your Protagonist is an important process that helps the entire Group stay "in-character". Once the flow of roleplay begins, Players are advised to jot down any non-urgent, out-of-game questions or notes and save them for the next pause, to avoid disrupting the game flow. Players can ask in-game questions to the Narrator, such as what they see around them, or if their Protagonist has knowledge of the subject that is in question in-game. The Narrator should provide all necessary information and then resume the Narration.
The Narrator can also ask in-game questions to the Players about their Protagonists. For instance, they might ask how their Protagonists are feeling at a particular moment, or what their exact train of thought is that led to their current behavior. Players should always answer openly, expressing the inner conflicts and deepest desires of their Protagonist. This provides the Narrator with a source of inspiration and scaffolding for the story. Stories are meant to challenge and reward the Protagonists as they develop along the way.
Transitioning from out-of-character to in-character can be achieved through changing the tone, mannerisms, accent, posture, body language, personality quirks, and any other method used to personalize a Protagonist's distinct roleplay. According to the Group’s preferences, roleplaying could range from exchanging a few pop culture one-liners to engaging in philosophical conversations and intense performances. Each story is forged by the preferences of the Group, and the level of commitment and involvement is entirely up to each Player.
Some Players might enjoy roleplaying a Protagonist with which they identify, focusing more on the metaphysical aspect of the game. Others might relish the challenge of delving deep into the unknown, roleplaying Metanthropes that bear little resemblance to their real-life selves. Some might enjoy embodying a Protagonist generated through complete randomization, while others might prefer researching their Metanthrope’s background, place of origin, culture, and beliefs, feeling that this brings life and essence to their roleplay. Each Player should find the level of participation and preparation that triggers their enthusiasm and excitement the most and be vocal about it to their Group.
Roleplay can range from an amusing form of entertainment to a transcendental, emotional journey of self-discovery. Let your imagination take over and be inspired to act out scenes, adding greater depth and meaning to the storyline.
For more about how to create a new Protagonist, visit here.
You'll encounter the prefix "Meta-" frequently in Metanthropes, in terms such as Metanthropes, Metapowers, Meta Speed, and Meta Intelligence, etc. One such use is the term Metagaming. In Roleplaying Games, Metagaming refers to the act of using out-of-game information that you, as a Player, know in real life, but your Protagonist does not.
Players must distinguish between information their Character receives in-game and information the Player knows out-of-game. Exploiting out-of-game knowledge for in-game purposes is forbidden. If the Narrator plays out a conversation with another Character that does not include your Protagonist, you are free to listen to the conversation as a Player. However, keep in mind that your Protagonist is not privy to this information in-game.
To maintain secrecy, Narrators can request private meetings with Players to give out secret information that they do not want to risk being revealed out-of-game. This can help Players avoid the temptation of Metagaming. It's worth noting that sometimes Players might Metagame unintentionally, subconsciously using out-of-game knowledge without realizing it. It is important to stay mindful of this and strive to keep Player knowledge and Protagonist knowledge separate. Certain Metapowers can break this barrier and transfer information directly to a Protagonist. But Characters who do not possess such abilities should always be mindful of the potential disconnect between Player knowledge and Protagonist knowledge.
The Narrator's role within the Group is multifaceted and distinct from that of the Players. While Players create and roleplay a single Character, the Narrator breathes life into a multitude of NPCs, and the entire Cosmos. The Narrator also sets the pace of the Session and often acts as a referee or judge to resolve in-game or out-of-game disputes.
The Narrator's primary focus should be on the story and the Players. They are tasked with ensuring that the spotlight is distributed equally among the Protagonists. Each Player, in turn, must respect their fellow Players' moments in the spotlight. It's crucial for all Players to understand that the dynamic between them and the Narrator is not competitive. The Narrator crafts a variety of scenarios for the Protagonists, ranging from challenging trials and comedic moments to horrific nightmares and casual encounters. The Narrator is also behind the roleplay, thoughts, and actions of a Protagonist’s best friend and worst foe alike. They narrate with the same passion a Protagonist's best and worst moments. Narrators should always build, develop, and deliver their stories without bias or favoritism towards the Players or their Protagonists.
The Narrator's role involves adapting to the unpredictable actions of the Protagonists, which can often lead the plot into uncharted territory. This requires a degree of improvisation and adaptability, as the Narrator must manifest the Players' desires within the game. Similarly, Players cannot prepare for every scenario the Narrator might create. Both Players and Narrators are encouraged to request short breaks whenever they need clarification, feel something is missing from the story, or simply need a breather. Additionally, both Players and the Narrator must respect any topics or contexts that have been designated as off-limits by any member of the Group. Such no-go zones could be any topic or context that makes any member of the Group uncomfortable.
In summary, the role of the Narrator is both challenging and rewarding. As a Narrator, you have the opportunity to bring your own mythology to life, populate it with a diverse cast, and watch as your Players inhabit this world. The fruits of your labor are often seen in the surprised reactions of your Players to a well-executed plot twist, or in the shared excitement when a Protagonist achieves a long-sought goal.
Every Narrator brings something unique to the table. Some may excel in dramatic roleplay performances, while others shine in creating action-packed tactical scenarios. Some may struggle with intricate plots but excel in improvisation. If you're a Player considering the role of the Narrator, remember that you'll only discover your unique talents by giving it a try – and with each Session, you'll only get better.
For more about guidelines and tools about Narrator, visit here.
Narration in Metanthropes is segmented into Scenes. The Narrator announces to the Players when a Scene begins and when it ends. At the beginning of each new Scene, the Narrator sets the parameters, such as the mood, the weather, the surroundings, and the passage of in-game time since the last Scene.
After the conclusion of each Scene, the Narration may continue exactly from where it left off, or the Narrator may introduce a downtime period during which the Players can develop their Protagonists and interact with the in-game world. The duration of this downtime can vary, ranging from a couple of hours to days or even longer, depending on the needs of the story. A Session is comprised of the total number of Scenes played during a Group gathering.
Metanthropes RPG can be played as a one-shot Session story, or it can be played over a series of gatherings, developing the same story. In the latter scenario, the Narrator can segment the total number of Sessions into Acts. An Act consist of any number of Sessions, typically followed by prolonged downtimes, and tied to a specific concept, theme, mission, or an important chronological period in-game.
A Saga, on the other hand, is comprised of the total number of Acts in a story. Sagas can span a few Sessions, while epochs can stretch for years in the real world (and millennia in-game). Metanthropes RPG offers content for all eras, allowing Sagas to unfold during antiquity, modern times, or the distant future where Metanthropes have colonized the stars. Some Sagas may even involve visiting multiple time periods through the use of Metapowers, temporal Dimensions, dreams, visions, cinematic descriptions, or any other means the Narrator can conjure.
Roleplaying games are a platform for exercising imagination and creativity. In Metanthropes, Narrators have the freedom to use all the content and rules provided as a foundation for crafting and telling their unique stories. Narrators are also encouraged to introduce house rules, and homebrew content to further customize and tailor the game to their Group's preferences.
Narrators have the liberty to create and implement their own house rules, either as standalone additions or modifications to existing rules. These house rules can enhance gameplay, introduce new mechanics, or address specific needs or preferences of the Group. It is essential for Narrators to effectively communicate any rule changes to the Players, ensuring that everyone is on the same page and understands how the house rules will impact the game.
Players are also encouraged to actively participate in the discussion and provide input on personalized content or homebrew suggestions for further rule amendments. By collaborating and considering the perspectives of all Group members, the house rules can be refined and tailored to perfection, enhancing the overall gaming experience.
The introduction of house rules allows for flexibility and customization, creating a game that truly reflects the preferences and playstyle of the Group. It fosters a collaborative environment where creativity can flourish, and players can fully immerse themselves in the world of Metanthropes.
For the next part of Chapter 1: Enter Meta, visit here.