Pen and Paper or tabletop RPGs work by one simple principle: You meet up with your friend and create your own heroes of your own interactive story. In order to do so, you are given a set of rules which will determine how weak or strong your hero will be. The story itself will be influenced by all actions you do with your character but you net a framework in which you can actually do something. Therefore one of you will take on the role of the game master (or narrator).
The narrators’ task is to describe and create the scenery in which your characters act. He also manages external events that can happen to your heroes and oversees that everything works all according to the rules. The rest of you play their characters and react on the scenery and event description the narrator gives you. You do not dress up as medieval heroes. All is happening in your mind, like friends telling a story together over a long night at a fire place.
An example of role-play in Shattered Prophecy:
Narrator: Okay Marcus, you play Charles Hellhunt right? Good! Then let’s begin with you!
You wake up in your room of one of the finest hotels in the capital. Your father has send you here to deal with the dormish delegation. The peace between your two countries is at stake! You stand up, get dressed and begin to preoccupiedly read through your documents on the current diplomatic agendas of the two realms. Lost in thought, you don’t notice how you move through the room and execute your morning routine as your eyes are pinned to the documents in your hands. But as you arrive in the bath everything changes.
At first it’s not the look, but more the brutal stench which abruptly rips you out of your trance. It’s the smell of rot and decay. You feel lucky you haven’t eaten yet as your eyes leave the paper and focus the sink. You cannot believe your own eyes and feel a dreadful sickness eating through your stomach like a crawling jaw of some nameless horror.
In the sink, right in front of you lies the obscenely ripped of head of a maybe six-year-old kid. The eyes were torn out of his face and replaced with – you are not sure- cow eyes?
What do you do?
Markus: I can bearly stand the look of it. I make a run for the other room, slam the door and search for the next best place to vomit.
Narrator: You hear a knocking on the door to your hotel room.
Markus (yells): "Comin'!"
Narrator: The word is hard for you to pronounce. You still fight with the terrible sickness in you. But yes, you finally find a small chamber pot under your bed.
Markus: I don’t waste any time. Charles runs to the pot and vomits as fast as he can.
Narrator: Wait! Before you can release yourself of the growing nausea you see something in the pot. Something really bad. Somebody was in your room. Somebody left the eyes of the kid in the pot. They swim in the urine you have left there. At the top of the pot hangs a little note. It reads: “Hello Charles. Welcome to Merina.
Markus: Okay that’s it! Charles is done. Do I have to roll for poise?