Sometimes when you’ve played RPGs for a while you forget how daunting it is to face that first game. I’m convinced that a lot of people that look at an RPG imagine they have to be a mental giant to learn a book full of rules. To a new player that’s what the book is, an impenetrable block of instructions. To someone that’s played, the book breaks up into concepts that categorize the rules and that makes it a little easier to digest the whole. As for me, I get a foothold on a basic concept and work my way out. In some books it’s understanding character creation, in others it’s event resolution. Even then, I know that I’ve had players that get the basics and they’re not going to get any further. They’re a functional player and that’s okay, not everyone needs to explore every nook and cranny of a world or system.
So how can a GM get a player to that foothold? Only introduce the basics. If you could put each concept on a 3×5 card it would probably be best. the less paper they see at any one time makes it easier for them not to get overwhelmed. Here’s a list of subjects for those cards.
Just a quick blurb on the setting and what to expect as far as tone and feel of the game.
What is a character?
Explain what a character is in contemporary terms. It’s easier now with most video games using a character. You just have to translate their video game experience into how they’ll play a character in a table top game. As a player how do they control the character? Explaining the character sheet might be a good idea too.
How do you win?
I’m thinking to include something of my earlier post on this but also a very quick explanation of event resolution.
What does a Game Master do?
This is standard boilerplate but can also explain how much control the GM will have in this game.
Maybe that’s not the official title of the card. This card is there to reassure the new player that while there is more, they don’t need to know it immediately. If they need help don’t be afraid to ask.
I was trying to come up with six cards but I can’t think of any other subject’s you would need. I may be missing something obvious. Let me know if I forgot something vital. I’ll be working on a PDF with these subjects that can be printed and cut into flash cards in the next few days and I’ll make them available for download.