So how does one even get started with the hobby in the Philippines?
Well, if you’ve found this blog, then you’re on the right track. Roleplaying games area niche hobby here, perhaps moreso than in other countries, but it doesn’t mean that we’re a hopless case. Thanks to the internet, getting stuff from overseas has been made a lot easier, and for those who don’t mind reading stuff off a computer screen, RPG pdfs are readily available for anyone who has a credit card.
So, let’s start with the basics:
- Do your research – Maybe you’ve heard of a particular game, or the concept of the hobby in general interests you. Take your time and do some research. Check out company websites, and find out what kind of game you’d really like to enjoy. There’s a whole spectrum of RPG games for a variety of genres from high fantasy, to pulp, to modern day espionage, to space opera and hard sci-fi.
- PDF or Print? – This is mostly a personal preference thing. Some people do better with reading physical books, and they enjoy the fact that they’re actually holding on to something for their purchase. Others might prefer the pdfs for the ability to search, print out the pages that you really need, and making annotations on the pages. For the Philippines, your best bet for getting a physical copy is Noble Knight Games. I’ve yet to have a bad experience with these guys, and when they say that they’ll give you a Mint condition book, they mean it. For PDF releases, check out DrivethruRPG, which has a large selection of games on pdf for a fraction of the price of a physical copy (and without having to deal with our lovely customs officials here.)
- Need Dice? – Dice beyond d6′s are a little hard to come by here. Thankfully some stores like Fortress Toys & Hobbies (in Virra Mall) stocks sets of Polyhedral Dice, as well as sets of d10′s. Lately Neutral Grounds has also been stocking sets of Polyhedrals.
- Find or Gather a Group – We Filipinos are a remarkably social people, so I don’t really think you’ll have that much trouble rustling up a few friends who are willing to try something new. My own gaming group is composed of friends from college, who in turn pulled some people they knew together and we’ve been gaming with this core population for about seven years now.
- Feel Free to Ask Around – I’m perfectly willing to answer any questions you might have about getting started with the hobby. Several other gamers also hang out at the Tabletop Wars forums who will be happy to answer any questions.
- Article on Pen and Paper Roleplaying Games on Wikipedia
- List of Pen and Paper Roleplaying Games by Genre on Wikipedia
- RPG.net is one of the largest communities of RPG gaming. There’s a good chance that someone there can answer your questions about any specific game.
- Tabletop Wars is a local group of Philippine Boardgame, Strategy game and RPG enthusiasts.
- The RPGbloggers Network is a massive network of gaming blogs talking about anything from GMing advice to specific games to play styles and giving out free content.
- DrivethruRPG is one of the biggest rpg pdf bookstores out there. Unburdened by issues of stock inventory, they’re a great place to look for pdfs of long out of print stuff.
- Noble Knight Games is perfect if you really must have a physical copy of a book and you can’t find it anywhere here. A bit on the pricey side, but you get your money’s worth.
In addition to these resources several other GMs that I know of have willingly volunteered to run games for newbies. You can get in contact with them through the following emails:
- Tobie: tobito_abad [-at-] yahoo.com
- Adrian: tybalt1701 [-at-] gmail.com
- Adam: ambrosetallis [-at-] yahoo.com
These guys are all Veteran GMs who have a lot of experience running all sorts of games. Feel free to email them if you want to arrange for a sample game to try.
While I was around at the right time for the heyday of early RPGs, I’d like to argue that today is even better. The Philippines has (mostly) moved out of the book-burning close-minded society to one that celebrates subcultures. Heck, the cosplay and anime scene here is staggering. Various groups like the New Worlds Alliance are making it awesome to be a fan.
So many obstacles to being a Philippine Gamer no longer exist. The internet has made it possible to get our stuff from publishers and retailers we would otherwise have been completely ignorant of just a decade ago. I hope that this article helps get those guys who are on the fence about the hobby to give it a shot. Check out the links, look for something that interests you, and give it a shot.