I don't get his game AT ALL

cry I’m so lost. Maybe someone tell me what an RPG really is…

How do people say a session lasts like an hour when they have like 2 checks and 2 conflicts.

EDIT: I watched a PAX video of burning wheel, I think I’m starting to get it…

It is a bit difficult to explain precisely what an RPG is; because, RPGs exist in a few genres and individual games provide different options.

At the most fundamental layer, an RPG is a role-play game. It provides a rules-based structure to players for an imagination game. In nearly all games, the players interact with the story through their characters. So, this creates an impression of a shared story experience where the Player Characters (PCs) are the center of attention–they are protagonists in the story.

Protagonists in a story need conflict and choices to really present something interesting. So, a Game Master (GM) presents antagonists, choices, opposition, obstacles, results, and/or consequences (in fact, other things might also be listed). Often this is done through the Game Master presenting Non-Player Characters who also have motivations, goals, and plans.

The rules, hopefully, provide a structure of what is allowed and not, how conflict is resolved, and what characters in the story can influence.

That’s about where the fundamentals reaches a wall. On one side of that wall is the basic and fundamental elements of an RPG. On the other side of that wall is the world of individual games. Personally, I like to play Burning Wheel, Mouse Guard, 4th Edition Dungeons and Dragons, and Advanced Dungeons and Dragons. I’ve also learned to play Star Wars Saga Edition, Kobolds Ate My Baby, Traveller, Star Frontiers, and Pathfinder.

Mouse Guard has a pretty solid ruleset for offering a lot of player involvment, character motivation, and structured play. I think it really takes pressure off the Game Master and places more responsibility on Players as a group to create their stories. The players need to decide their character is involved, engaged, and motivated toward one or more goals in their world.

A session runs about 4 hours; sometimes it is easy to collect checks, but sometimes it is not. That can depend largely on whether players are willing to allow character traits to create a detriment to their actions. It can also depend slightly on the situations a GM presents. I tend to not present fighting scenes in favor of other forms of conflict and drama; however, I’m trying to loosen up on that habit. For players with tons of interest in fighting mice, their characters are built to succeed at fighting and don’t get as much engaged in other scenes.

Using the structure of 2 major obstacles, possibly 2 twists of failing to solve the obstacle, and a good notion of when an obstacle ought to be a full conflict, the session flows fairly well. Not every obstacle must be a conflict. In fact, sometimes the conflict places too much emphasis on a scene that would be best handled with a single check. That can depend on player interest. In a game with fight interested mice, a fight conflict gets them excited; in contrast, an arguement conflict might be too much effort for such players. Learning a group takes a bit of time; also, players must show some respect for the obstacles presented by a GM as they learn the GM’s style.

Very informative… So do you like… Note the general idea, and some twists, and then that’s it… For the rest you just wing it based on what they want to do to solve the problem.