Introducing RPGAMIX (RP-game-iks), the new open-source role-playing game you've all been waiting for!

(Or at least a few of you. I know I told at least eight people about it.)

   If you were not lucky enough to be one of those eight, you're probably wondering what the hell I'm going on about. What, you are asking, is an open-source roll-playing game? Why did it need inventing? Was it worth all the time I've put into it, at the cost of thousands of hours I could have spent in the lab, convincing my advisor I'm not the laziest student he's ever seen?

   In order to explain what an open-source roll-playing game is, I first have to explain what a roll-playing game is. If you think you can skip that part, click on this sentence to be magically transported to a beautiful land where everyone knows what a roll-playing game is.

   I used to know what a role-playing game was until I talked to my friend, Mike Hubbard. Mike convinced me that I have been using a more restricted definition of roll-playing games than at least some other portion of the population. We'll call my definition sensu stricto (Latin: in the strict sense), and we'll call Mike's sensu Hubbard. A roll-playing game, sensu Hubbard, is any game that's played by acting out a role. He says that for him role-playing games include such diverse pastimes as Dungeons and Dragons, Live-Action Role-Playing, Killer (or Assasin), the Society for Creative Anachronism and even some video games. I questioned him on one or two points and decided that if he wanted to run around in Highschool with a squirt gun and not only try to squirt his classmates, but actually pretend that he was a secret agent, trying to save the world from Nuclear Death and the Communist Threat, that's his business and not mine. I was happy to squirt.

   For my part, I only pretended I was a secret agent when I was sitting around a table with lots of pizza and chips (and things), rolling little dice. For me, role-playing is all in the head. I don't care for the kind of role-playing game where you have to run around and catch people for real, because -- let's face it -- I'm a wimp. I don't like to get out of breath when I imagine things. That's just me.

   So, a role-playing game, sensu stricto, is any game where there are players, each of which portrays at least one character, and at least one Game-Master, who describes and/or controls the behavior of the rest of the game universe. The outcome of any proposed action is determined by some combination of a set of rules (which purport to simulate someone's warped sense of reality) and the Game-Master's whim(s). The object for the Game-Master is to make sure that the players have a good time. The rules describe how the characters' characteristics (skills, abilities and so forth), which are numerically determined, are related to the probability of success for the proposed action. Over the course of several hours, these procedures allow the game master and the players to act out a story, but it is all done verbally and mathematically. It all stays firmly lodged in the capesa, comprenez vous?

   So, now that we are all in the land of RPG, what the blazes is an "open-source" role-playing game, and why am I inventing one. I'll answer those questions in reverse order.

Whaddya mean, open-source?? | The Rules