How To Get Started As A Philippine Gamer

Posted: April 30, 2010 by pointyman2000 in Articles, Local Scene, Roleplaying Games

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.)
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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
  • 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-]
  • Adrian: tybalt1701 [-at-]
  • Adam: ambrosetallis [-at-]

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.

  1. sam says:

    Unfortunately, the RPG scene seems to be diminishing as you previously mentioned, the cosplay/anime scene and fandoms is staggering. It’s just sad that a lot of people are NOT migrating to the RPG’s and are stuck on computer games and so called computer RPG. Don’t forget magic cards and its ilk.

    It’s a great time to be a gamer. It is sad that the new blood doesn’t seem to be coming in.

    • Hey Sam!

      Good point on the cosplay/anime scene. I’m not quite a tuned into that particular subculture, but I am willing to run games at their cons to see if I can get converts.

    • Hey Sam!

      Good point on the cosplay/anime scene. I’m not quite a tuned into that particular subculture, but I am willing to run games at their cons to see if I can get converts.

    • I got into Table-top RPGs through Anime conventions (was an animu fan before I converted). Some folks were offering to play table-top RPGs of popular animes and I remember there were A LOT of people who joined.

      As an anime fan, the ultimate show of “fan-devotion” was living the life of your favorite anime, and what could do that more than RPGs?

      After that exposure the rest is history. It’s been 7 years and I’m more devoted to the hobby than I ever did as an anime fan. 😀

  2. sam says:

    Btw nice site. Very helpful. I’d still go for the use of pen and paper and rule books rpg. 🙂

    • Thanks Sam!

      Been trying to keep an online presence to represent the Philippines as part of the pen-and-paper RPG hobby, and I’m glad that a few people have actually found this site. 🙂

  3. Tentaclese says:

    There are piles of gaming material online. If you need character sheets, name generators or random dungeon maps. It’s only a google away.

    My favorite stuff online are interactive character sheets. There are many available online.

    If dice is too expensive for you, there are a number of dice programs available.


  4. ColdShaft™ says:

    me i got into this stuff back in college….im still a noob at this(because of mage) but im having fun.
    as a social animal that i am just hanging out with people that i like and in some way likes me is good enuff,
    so i guess its just influence that can get someone into RPG

  5. AzraelCC says:

    I guess I’m one of the New Blood in the RPG scene, since I’m only 24 and I started in High School. I was a player back then, but now I’ve become a DM for D&D 3.5 for my grade school cousins and my little sister. I’d like to share my experience running a game for kids.

    I have to say that introducing young kids to the game is a very rewarding experience. They really get into roleplaying easily: they scream when a goblin manages to hit them, and they cover their eyes when a vampire spawn tries to dominate them.

    We just started last March, and they are still beginners. They recently reached third level but died at the aforementioned vampire spawn. We’ve started a new campaign in Golarion, and I’m waiting for my Pathfinder rulebook to finally arrive.

    I really wish there were more gamers to interact with–hopefully my college block mates will get to play soon.

    A quick question though, are there any local shops where I can buy battle mats or dungeon tiles? My funds for gaming has been drained when I bought the Pathfinder rulebook and Bestiary, and I feel it wouldn’t be cost-effective to pay a large delivery fee for small purchases like that. A cheap shop for miniatures would be nice, too.

    • Hey AzraelCC!

      It’s always awesome to hear from the new generation of gamers to the hobby. I find it very cool that you’re running rpgs for kids. I have to agree that kids really have that sense of fun and appreciate the fantasy of it all that you don’t often see in older (more jaded?) gamers.

      Unfortunately the availability of Battlemats and Dungeon Tiles is spotty at best. Neutral Grounds once carried Dungeon Tiles, but I’m not sure if they still have them. Battlemats on the other hand are non-existent. I actually have one that I ordered from Noble Knight Games, and honestly it seems like the only way to go if you really want one.

      I’ve heard a lot of good things about Pathfinder. I fell on the Fantasy Craft side of the 3.5 remix, but I have to admit that Paizo’s work is visually stunning, and from what I’ve heard, you can kill someone with the size of the Pathfinder book.

      Say, if you’re ever free on Saturdays and want to hang out and talk to a few other gamers, I’ll email you the details on how to contact me and where to find my gaming group.

    • Have you considered making them by hand? That’s a fairly good activity to make really and the kids would love to make their own pieces.

      Battlemats for that you can either print and laminate. Just buy erasable markers 🙂

      As for dice bowls, the wooden bowls we used were bought from a Filipina store in SM. I just bought felt paper, cut it and stuck it inside the bowl. The bowl’s sturdy and makes for good dice rolling 😀

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