Recipe for a Role-Playing Game
By: Alex Bowden

You’ve decided to make a role-playing game, but you’re having trouble getting started. Have no fear, simply include the ingredients below and you’re well on your way to creating the greatest RPG of all time. You’re guaranteed to earn so much money that you’ll be able to buy every last rune in the known universe.


Wherever and whenever your game is set, you must have swords. It is preferable to only include weaponry from pre-gunpowder days such as maces, axes, crossbows, halberds and pikes, but you may include guns in futuristic RPGs. If you do, then they must have no advantage over swords or more primitive weapons. Remember, we have had hundreds of years to practice infusing swords with magic. The industry of magic infusion for guns is only in its infancy. The lead character should have a sword imbued with sacred properties. Either that or some sort of a slot for an orb of some kind. The weapon will probably be a bit useless for a good proportion of the game until the correct orb is affixed. From then on, you’ll be carving mountains up and all sorts.

Ultimate magic

Early on in the game, you should establish what the absolute pinnacle of magic is for any of your characters. It should be one particular spell with a suitably grandiose title, like ‘Breath of the Four Elders.’ The first third of the game should be spent attaining this level. The final two-thirds should be spent superseding it. Having attained the spell your character should quickly go on to discover that he (yes, ‘he’ – face it, your gamers won’t be female) can perform ‘Breath of the Eight Elders’ – a move twice as destructive as what had previously been considered the ultimate in magic. From there, you should keep on redefining the maximum. Make sure that all characters in the game are suitably awe-struck every time the bar is lifted. Also, despite the fact that your characters are entering uncharted magical waters, every spell should have a name. Here are some suggestions:

Ghost of the spirit moon
The king’s rain
Force of the seven tides
Sacred storm of terra firma
The sun’s rain
The five fires of thunder
Thirteen harvests of hail
Nineteen ancient mountains of fire – God’s fire, that is
Cloud of twenty-three prophets of fire and each of the prophets is a king – of fire

The important things to remember are to use prime numbers for quantities; a reference to antiquity wherever possible; and a type of bad weather.

British villain

When I say British, I mean English and when I say English, I mean aristocratic English. The actor should sound like the Queen having a competition with herself as to how royal anyone could ever be. When foiled, they should say ‘damn’ and pronounce it ‘darm,’ even though nobody in the world pronounces ‘damn’ this way. The foot soldiers of evil should look and sound more like characters from Oliver Twist: Grubby, flat-capped and so redolent of petty crime that they can actually steal your wallet using only their voices.

Faintly incomprehensible story

There’s a fine line between magical and incomprehensible, and you must walk it. You must summon that sensation you had as a child, where everything was enchanting and full of mystery. The good news is that this can be created through telling a story badly. Simply miss out crucial bits of information or pretend that certain sections of the story are common knowledge when they clearly aren’t. Make the characters act erratically so that they are difficult to relate to. The player will experience the game with a childlike sense of wonder. If this is too difficult, simply translate a foreign game that relies on a shared cultural history and make no attempt to explain anything.

New and exciting beasts

You can use the accepted canon of creatures: Griffins, trolls, goblins, elves. You should add to this however. New enemies can be difficult to come up with, so try blending two existing animals together. It worked for centaurs and the Minotaur. It’s accepted practice. How about a cow with the head of a wolf? Too slow? How about a cheetah with the head of a cow? Not terrifying enough? How about a tyrannosaurus with the udder of a cow? You don’t even need to use cows. The animal world is your oyster… Here are some under-used animals:

Langur monkeys

Immense game world

Your world must be really, really, tremendously big. You should travel around it in real time for a more absorbing experience. When told by the king of Begonia that you must find a dragon in the mountains, it must take you at least three months. Remember, if the player doesn’t lose their friends, their family, their job and all sense of personal hygiene, then it isn’t a role-playing game.

Pale, waif-like, elfin, female traveling companion

As above, the player must be totally engrossed in playing this role at the expense of their real life. You have to cover all bases to ensure this, so include a girl. They should be innocent and sweet; loyal and committed; flirtatious yet unavailable. Plus, they should dress as slutty as possible. They should be clad in the kind of attire which no one would ever consider battling a warlock in.


Never stop at one title. This is a mistake that will mark you out as a complete novice. Regardless of the quality of the original, you must continue to churn out sequels. Don’t give them fresh names either. That’s why God gave us Roman numerals. Always remember, the better the game, the more sequels. Consider the VI or IX as a score more than a label.

So there you go. You’ve no excuses. Just get all your minions to put all this into practice and you’ve a gaming hit on your hands. Simply by reading this article you have gained +6 game-making experience.