Role vs Roll-Playing in Unchained Heroes


I view all my players as a fixed point on part of a spectrum ranging from the “Roll Player” to the “Role Player.” The full on “Roll Player” plays the game for it’s mechanics and combat aspects. They like dice rolling and combat more than anything else and the other aspects of an RPG are not even on their mind. They are arguably board game players. The full on “Role Player” would rather spend a night talking and hashing out storyline than perform any combat. They are arguably actors in a play. These are extremes. If you can think of a way to polarize them even more while keeping with those basic premises, more power to you. Keep these baselines in mind as I discuss Roleplaying in Unchained Heroes.

Most of my players that I have gamed with over the years have fallen somewhere very close to the middle, anomalies to this are few and far between. Even when one would seem to stray in a particular direction, it wouldn’t last forever, and none of them would fit the extreme. As for myself, I would dare to say that I am hardcore “Roll Player” and that few others are as hardcore about it as I am when chips fall. I NEED combat in just about every session when I am playing. As a GM however, I tend towards the middle and seek to push the “Role Player” end of the scale for my stories. This leads to an important life lesson of mine of which I try to apply in every aspect of my life. That lesson is one of Balance. Balance is my ideal state and I felt that one thing that all Paper RPGs that I ever played lacked was Balance.

The Balance of which I speak is the balance between Roll-playing and Role-playing; figures and storytelling; character development and statistical improvement. You may claim that such a Balance all depends on the GM, but that is not an excuse for why a system can’t accommodate both. I am declaring right now, that Unchained Heroes is designed with such a Balance in mind and as such, you won’t have to sacrifice one for the other. I have a great friend that would often make those sacrifices when he played a Wizard. He continually had to sacrifice his effectiveness in a system that only allowed him a restrictive spell book. To keep his role-playing options open, he would stock up on special case spells rather than the all powerful Fireball. He paid for it a lot of times, but he didn’t mind. He defended his choices with a shrug. I made Unchained Heroes so people don’t have to defend their choices at all.

Abilities and Talents are on separate progression tracks, so you will never have to worry about taking Fireball over a Dimensional Doorway or Instant Feast. The balancing is done for you within the Unchained Heroes System. Your “Role-playing” choices are carefully separated from your “Roll-playing” decisions and where they are not, I hope to improve their separation in the future. On one end of the spectrum we have Abilities and Techniques. On the other end we have Talents and Character Skills. Both have crossovers. Abilities are primarily combat-based, but can be used to hop around and lift things high into the air on occasion. Talents are primarily role-playing based, but shapeshifting in combat or changing your arm into a melee weapon are also beneficial for combat situations.

In Unchained Heroes, the only thing that will be pushing you one way or another on the Roll and Role Playing Scale is your playstyle and the GM’s story. Feel free to take what is best for your Hero’s development as a Combatant and a Character. Both aspects will develop your Hero into what you envisioned without a cost-benefit analysis required to see if it is worth it. So when you are playing Unchained Heroes and the next time you need to choose between Fireball and Gregoire’s Instant Banquet, take both!

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