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The Xina Roleplaying Game
The Lands of Xina is a game of imagination. You participate in exploration and adventure by taking on the role of a character in a story. This fictitious person is an ordinary man or woman with the potential for greatness. Every decision he makes and every action he takes is up to you. While roleplaying through your character, your choices are limited only by your creativity. Some choices will lead to success and others to failure, but they are yours to make. How the story unfolds depends on you.
Xina stories take place in a world that seems familiar to fans of stories such as "Lord of the Rings" or the "Forgotten Realms". The geography, history, economics, politics, religions and cultures are unique, but drawn from the classic fantasy genre. Xina is a world where kings sit upon jeweled thrones in mighty castles, dark priests plot the rise of their cults, rival nations gather their armies for war, and evil creatures lurk in the unexplored wilderness.
Have you ever been frustrated when your favorite TV show character missed a vital clue during an episode? During a movie, did you watch the main character blunder into danger and think, "I could have done better"? This is your chance to find out if you're clever, perceptive and determined enough to be a hero.
Your character and those of the other players are in the spotlight. The story revolves around them. Over time, these characters learn more about the world they live in. They gain experience, train in new skills, and become capable of resolving more dangerous situations. With luck and hard work, they can achieve power, fame and fortune. Ultimately, they will change the course of history.
Your character will have a unique personality and biography. He will also have a custom set of skills and abilities, chosen by you. The character you create should be a person capable of becoming a hero and worthy of participating in an epic adventure. He is not some random person off the street, he is the one chosen by fate. The motivations that drive him are up to you, but ultimately he must answer the call to adventure.
An adventure is a short story, similar to a single episode of a TV show. One adventure can last a single game session, or be divided up over multiple sessions. A game session typically lasts for two or more hours. It all depends on how the players prefer to schedule their gaming time. Each adventure generally has its own plot, with a foe or perilous situation to overcome. A series of related adventures, featuring the same group of characters, make up a campaign. Many campaigns have a master plotline with reappearing allies and enemies, similar to a book series.
The Game Master (GM) is the person who runs the adventures. He writes the stories, determines the outcome of actions, and handles rules arbitration. While you and the other players act through your own personal characters, the GM takes on the role of every other character in the story. Sometimes he will speak out of character, narrating a scene or answering a rules question. Other times, he will roleplay one of the non-player characters (NPCs) which you will interact with.
Playing the Game
There are a few items required to play the game. You will need three six-sided dice, a character sheet, a pencil and paper for keeping notes, and a basic understanding of the rules.
Before the story begins, you must create a character. All of the players and their characters work together as a team. On paper, a character consists of attributes, traits, skills, a short biography and a physical description. Your character's attributes and skills are represented by numbers - the higher the number, the stronger the ability. For example, your character may have a Strength attribute of 12 and a Boxing skill of 14.
As the story unfolds, the GM will describe each scene to you. Picture it in your mind's eye, the way you would when reading a book. If you have any questions about the situation your character is in, ask the GM before taking any actions. Players take turns telling the GM what their character will say or do next. Be patient and pay attention when another player is taking his turn.
Whenever your character attempts a difficult action, or someone tries to stop him from completing an action, you must perform a "check" to see if your character succeeds. You'll roll three six-sided dice and compare the total to a target number. If the sum of the dice is less than or equal to the target number, your character succeeds.
At the end of each story, you will be awarded a number of Character Points. These points represent how much your character has learned and improved during the adventure. They are spent to increase your character's skills and abilities. The number of points you earn is based on how much you participated and contributed to the story.
Ultimately, the goal of this game is to tell a good story. There is no winning or losing. Your character doesn't need to be the most powerful person in the group. Even when he's hurt or fails, it's all part of the adventure. There's no thrill to victory without the possibility of defeat. The GM's role in the game is to write a good story and narrate fair, enjoyable scenes. The player's role is to portray a realistic character and fully participate in the action. It takes both good story-writing and skilled acting to make a great adventure.
Fantasy Versus Reality
There are two important concepts to understand before playing this game – in character (IC) and out of character (OOC). Anything which is said, done, or known by the player is considered out of character. Anything which is said or done by the character is considered in character. While roleplaying, it is important to know when the GM or a player is speaking IC or OOC. For example, did another player ask you what you want for lunch, or did his character ask your character what he wants for lunch?
It is also critical to distinguish between in character and out of character information. Your character may be a brilliant doctor, but you probably have no OOC knowledge of how to perform surgery. Here is another example. Let's pretend for a moment that your character is lying on a warehouse floor, knocked unconscious by a security guard. Joe's character is standing nearby, pointing a gun at the guard. Speaking IC as the guard, you hear the GM say, "The artifact is up there, in the green crate." You, Joe, and Joe's character now know where to find the artifact. However, your character does not know because he's unconscious.