For those people training to become a role-playing game professional, this workbook is for you.
For those people training to become a role-playing game professional, this workbook is for you.
A workbook covering all 16 training session modules for level 1 RPG professional trainees.
This workbook is recommended for all RPG Professional verticals, including but not limited to: recreation, entertainment, education, therapeutic, healthcare, and other professions.
This workbook covers all of the major RPG formats, including: Tabletop (TRPG), Live-action (LRPG & Larp), Electronic (ERPG), Hybrids (HRPG).
Even if you aren't an aspiring RPG Professional, you will find the information provided with the training associated with this workbook very helpful to greatly improve your games in quality, safety, and fun!
Please note, this is a workbook, not a study guide. The workbook contains many quiz questions and blank spaces for your notes and tracking your progress as you work toward a level 1 RPG Professional Player or Game Master diploma or certification. While useful for anyone, this workbook is designed specifically to match the paid professional training workshops through RPG.LLC, self-paced online training through RPG Education, and the free volunteer training programs through the non-profit RPG Research. Includes level 1 RPG Players and Game Masters.
Assumes zero prior experience with any role-playing game format, but even experienced grognards will learn a lot from all of the information provided at even just level 1!
Recommended Prerequisites: Enrollment in either RPG Research's or RPG.LLC's level one training programs, RPG.Education's online self-paced training, or anyone interested in testing their knowledge and growing their understanding of all role-playing game formats, how to optimize your gaming experience, and the potential uses of RPGs to improve lives globally.
NOTE: Once all of the publishing costs are covered through sales, 20% of all profits from the sale of these books are donated directly to RPG Research, the 501(c)3 non-profit research and human services global volunteer-run charity organization.
Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) Edition ISBN: 9798570553040 - Price: $9.99 USD.
Primary Print Edition: ISBN: 978-1-7362302-0-6 - Price: $9.99 USD.
RPG.LLC, RPG Therapeutics LLC, RPG.Education, etc. 34
Session 1 Tips, Tricks, & Tools of the Trade. 40
You do not need any prior experience with any role-playing game (RPG) whatsoever to benefit from participating in the level 1 training programs this workbook supports.
However, this workbook is not for everyone. Perhaps it is for you, or perhaps someone you know may be a better fit.
This workbook supports multidisciplinary bio-psycho-social holistic (as in whole person & community) programs that are deep dives into role-playing game services.
Is This The Right Book For You?
If you are brand new to role-playing games, not already a professional in some field, and/or not interesting in using RPGs as a professional service provider, this is probably not the book for you. There are much easier introductions to role-playing games already out there.
If you are a professional in some field already, but you have no prior RPG experience, are curious if RPGs would be a fit for you, but you need a real professional understanding about RPGs and their potential to enhance your professional services, then this book is an excellent starting point.
If you are an experienced role-playing gamer (RPGer), with no professional background, but you want to try to take your gaming expertise “to the next level” and try to become a paid professional game master (GM) in one field or another, then this book is an excellent starting point for you as well.
If you are looking to break into the RPG Publishing industry for the first time, there are much better resources out there for you than this book.
However, if you are already an experienced RPG designer/publisher, we think you really need to read learn the material this book covers.
99% of the RPG publishing industry is “doing it wrong” when it comes to introducing new players to RPGs. An increasing number are improving their products as far as disability accessibility and inclusiveness in the industry, but with very few exceptions their dependence on the mass-learning and mentor models has continued to hamstring RPG adoption globally. Please, if you are involved with the RPG design and publishing industry, get the training associated with this workbook, it will very much be worth your while and will help RPGs explode across so many more demographic groups globally that are currently all but ignored.
If you are both an experienced professional, and an experienced role-playing gamer (RPGer), you will still find this book opens your eyes to a multitude of concepts, methodologies, research, tips, and more that you most likely have missed even after 45+ years of experience.
It will very much be worth your while to acquire the knowledge and training associated with this workbook, taking you and your groups to whole new higher vistas of experience more effectively, safely, consistently, and enjoyably.
While the training programs covered in this workbook could be applied to many professions, most of the research and evidence-based-practice these programs are based on, focus primarily on 5 groups:
1. laypersons (non-professionals wishing to improve their game without going pro)
2. professional recreation service providers (providing standard RPG experiences as a paid GM)
3. professional entertainers (providing RPG experiences to entertain an audience rather than just the players)
4. professional educators (using RPGs to enhance the learning experience in a wide range of educational settings)
5. professional healthcare & therapy workers & service providers (using role-playing games as intervention modalities to achieve specific measurable goals for specific populations and individual client/patient needs)
This Is A Workbook Not A Study Guide
We want to be very clear so there is no misunderstanding:
THIS IS A WORKBOOK NOT A STUDY GUIDE. THE ANSWERS TO THE QUIZZES ARE NOT INCLUDED IN THIS WORKBOOK.
To complete this workbook, you need to either engage in one of the many training options available (described later in this introduction), or use the many free online resources recommended for those engaged in self-study.
This Is One Of Many Approaches Available
As is the case with all of our programs, we are not suggesting that “our way is the only way”. We are attempting to establish a (high) minimum professional standard as a starting point for suggestions and guidelines that over time will help standardize professional role-playing game training and services, especially maximizing safety, accessibility, and inclusion.
In recent years a number of new individuals and organizations have begun to offer training and consulting workshops and services. They all serve a purpose in specific niches, as do ours.
Lack of Professional Standards Now Leading to Harm!
In recent years we have become aware of several individuals and organizations, including licensed therapists and educators, that have grabbed a potpourri of information from sites like RPG Research, without participating in the community or training programs, just "taking" without peer review or engagement, then quickly cobbling together their own programs without consultation or peer review, and attempted to implement their own programs.
Unfortunately several of these programs have lead to actual harm to the participants! This is nothing inherently wrong with role-playing games! These were used with at-risk and high-risk populations, but used without the experience and expertise to merge the two domains of knowledge (RPG as one domain, and then the other domain from their profession).
THIS is why professional standards and training need to be available! We want to do all we can to help people prevent such incidents occurring as the potential uses of RPGs is explored in ever-wider circles.
Based on 40+ Years of Research & Evidence-in-Practice
We have been involved with role-playing games for more than 40 years! Since the 1970s, as paid professional game masters and other RPG-related paid professional service providers since 1983, and in schools and other educational settings since 1985. The earliest version of this workbook was first created around 1985 and has undergone massive growth and improvements over the decades.
What stands out most about our programs is the depth. Depth of research, depth of training, thousands of iterations of testing and re-testing, and depth of evidence-in-practice. To date we are not aware of any programs that even come close to taking you deeper (or wider) across the domains of RPG study, research, training, application, and professional practice.
If you want just some lightweight fluffy introductions to RPGs and their potential uses, you have many other options available. This workbook and the associated training is not one of them.
If you are looking for the most comprehensive program available about RPGs and their uses in professional settings, then this workbook, and the associated training, is for you.
This workbook is the first in many levels of information provided to role-playing game service professionals as a starting point for implementing and optimizing the use of role-playing gaming (RPG-ing) as an intervention modality in various professions to safely and effectively achieve measurable goals.
We believe that the rising tide of shared knowledge floats all boats, so most of we you learn can be found freely on the sites we list, for those with the discipline to take a self-study approach to completing this workbook.
We really want and appreciate friendly and constructive input, suggestions, ideas, critiques, etc. If you have feedback, we would love to hear from you. Please contact us at:
US Toll-free: (833) RPG-PROS (774-7767)
Direct phone/text: (509) 608-6441
Postal Mail: 1312 N. Monroe Street, Suite 114, Spokane, WA, USA 99201.
How to Use This Workbook
This workbook is designed with the assumption that you will be participating in training sessions. For most people these will be guided in-person (or online) training sessions, typically on a weekly basis. Others may be receiving training through intensive days-long workshops. Still others may choose self-study and/or online training options.
Whichever option you use, the learning approach follows the same basic pattern for each session, aka chapters or weeks.
1. Attendance check-in for training session 15 minutes before training begins.
2. Address any administrative issues (access to online materials, character sheets, etc.).
3. Take baseline assessment quiz.
4. Participate in applied gaming.
5. Participate in theory lecture and discussion.
6. Participate in tips, tricks, & tools of the trade discussion.
7. Participate in more applied gaming.
8. Retake the quiz.
9. Take optional quiz.
10. Go over the assigned tasks for the week (homework).
11. Attendance check-out, total up participation hours.
12. Work on assigned tasks between sessions.
The instructions for using the other sections of this workbook, including the Gamification Learning, Badges, etc., is covered during your training sessions and are not detailed here.
Requirements For Using This Workbook
To be successful in using this workbook, you need the following things:
• discipline sufficient to follow through with commitments
• language & cognitive functioning sufficient for reading this workbook (the language level used herein assumes you are a professional or aspiring professional)
• ability to participate in the training sessions
• the ability to receive and memorize information
• the ability to store information covered during the training sessions into some kind of static & dynamic data storage and retrieval tool (typically pencil, paper, & eraser).
• This workbook.
• Additional paper or a notebook (though we try to provide sufficient space for notes, there will be times you will want to have more space available for lengthier notes, especially during applied gaming sessions)
• An Internet connection.
You will also need to attend training (online, self-study, workshops, or in-person), tracking the hours you attend.
Each session may have additional requirements specific to that session’s training content.
If attending training in person, all equipment requirements will be supplied.
If you are attending remotely or participating in online or self-study programs, you may have to purchase additional materials in order to complete your training.
For example, for the applied gaming sessions, you may be required to purchase certain game rule books. Or, you may need access to a computer running Microsoft Windows with Steam installed, and then purchase, install, configure, and run Neverwinter Nights: Enhanced Edition, during the electronic role-playing game (ERPG) training sessions.
The Administration section for each workbook session attempts to provide a basic list of these requirements, however, the specifics may change over time. Therefore, before making any additional purchases, consult with your trainer at the end of each training session to make sure that you know and understand what is required for the next session.
No Prior RPG Experience Required for Level 1 Training
Our level 1 training programs assume that you have no prior RPG experience whatsoever.
This workbook is designed primarily for established and aspiring professionals, with support for:
• laypersons wishing to learn or improve their role-playing game playing or game mastering (GM-ing)
• educational professionals wishing to integrate role-playing games into their curricula
• entertainers wishing to provide on-stage and on-air role-playing games as an entertainment medium that includes an audience outside of the gaming group itself
• therapists and other healthcare professionals wishing to use role-playing games as an intervention modality to achieve specific measurable results for specific populations and individual clients
• especially effective connection with Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS) trainees and professionals
• aspiring game masters (GMs) working toward becoming a professional paid GM
• volunteer trainees working toward receiving their training diploma as a volunteer at the non-profit RPG Research
• professionals & aspiring professionals working toward certification through, or employment at, RPG LLC, RPG Therapeutics LLC, or other organizations offering professional role-playing game services
There will be language in this book that you may not be familiar with initially. Over time as you complete the training you should have at least rudimentary understanding of all the terminology within. This will be built upon further in higher level training workbooks.
Training covers all role-playing game (RPG) formats:
• Tabletop (TRPG)
• Live-action (LRPG & Larp)
• Electronic (ERPG)
• Hybrid (HRPG)
Throughout your training you will learn the distinctive differences, pros, and cons, of each RPG format.
Learning Tools & Example Learning Requirements
This workbook is one of a number of tools offered to help you meet the multiple requirements for RPG Professionals.
• training workbook(s)
• study guide(s)
• Online resources
• training session attendance
• supervised peer-reviewed applied gaming session hours
• observed community program experience hours
• in-person, written, verbal, and/or online quizzes
• final practicum project(s)
• final exam(s)
It is critically important that game masters have recurring play experience to keep in touch with what it is like to be a player. This makes for a better GM. We recommend that all GMs spend, at least 10% of their RPG time as a player in any given year.
The appendices contain a number of additional resources, that you may find useful, including an alphabetical index of the content of this workbook. We have noted that a significant number of professional workbooks are missing this feature, and we think it is critically important for the ongoing usefulness of this tool.
Training Levels, Learning Options, Certifications & Diplomas
You can read the latest information on training levels, learning options, certifications and diplomas online at:
RPG.LLC workshops, self-study, online learning, & certifications:
RPG Research volunteer training and diplomas:
Based on RPG LLC’s certification & employment guidelines, and RPG Research’s volunteer training diploma programs, as of the publication of this edition of this book in 2020, there are currently 20 Professional training levels.
There are many options you can choose from to learn the information necessary to complete this workbook. You can learn more details about the latest options available online.
Recreation & Entertainment Training Pathways
Depending on the individual, Level 1 training may be a sufficient start for especially talented and experienced professionals wanting to round out their recreational or entertainment RPG programs. For those wishing to take it further, there are additional levels of training available. These additional levels cover even a wider variety of game systems, theories, evidence-in-practice, tips & tricks of the trade, etc.
Educational & Therapeutic Training Pathways
The Educational and Therapeutic Training pathways have additional professional requirements related to their fields. Level 1 training is just the first step in a series of training milestones required for those professions.
Level 1 training is NOT sufficient for professional educators or therapists to begin practice. This is just the first step in a multi-step process to build the skills and experience necessary for safe and effective use of RPG modalities for your professional goals.
For example, while other disciplines and professions may be applicable, we highly recommend the Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS) by the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification (NCTRC), for Professional Role-Playing Game Master Therapists.
Anyone wishing to use role-playing games specifically as a medical or therapeutic intervention modality must have some other professional training, certification, licensing, etc. While our training is based on medical & therapeutic professions and research, none of the training we provide supplants that critical training, certification, and licensing. However, our training will help you integrate the separate domains of RPG knowledge and application with the appropriate field in a complementary way to maximize the benefits, enjoyment, and safety of your role-playing gaming programs.
Level 1 Potential Roles
This workbook is required for all professional RPG-related roles. It does not apply to other training roles available.
Example roles include:
• Role-Playing Game Professional - Facilitator (RPGP-Fx)
• Role-Playing Game Professional - Advocate (RPGP-Ax)
• Role-Playing Game Professional – Player (RPGP-Px)
• Role-Playing Game Professional - Player Archetype Specialist (RPGP-PASx)
• Role-Playing Game Professional – Game Master (RPGP-GMx)
• Role-Playing Game Professional – Game Master Educator (RPGP-GMEx)
• Role-Playing Game Professional – Game Master Therapist (RPGP-GMTx)
(Where “x” is the applicable training level.
For example RPGP-PAS1, RPGP-F2, RPGP-GM3, etc.)
Learn to Play Before You Attempt to Run Games as a GM
All candidates for Role-Playing Game Professional Level 1 Game Master must first finish the Level 1 Player training. Experienced players and GMs may complete the Level 1 Player and Level 1 Game Master training in parallel if they put in the additional hours each week to participate in both.
Typical Training Session Duration
A typical training session is around 4 hours of in-person training, followed by a few hours of task assignments to be completed before the next training session.
Typical Steps in Training Process
If you are relatively inexperienced with role-playing games the training process will likely follow this path:
1. Participate as a level 1 player trainee for the full 16 sessions.
2. Complete all the additional requirements before taking the final exam.
3. Take the final exam. If you pass, you receive your Role-Playing Game Professional Level 1 Player diploma or certificate.
4. Retake the level 1 training as a level 1 game master trainee for an additional 16 sessions.
5. Take the final exam as a GM. If you pass, you receive your Role-Playing Game Professional Level 1 Game Master diploma or certificate.
We recommend this iterative approach for anyone relatively new to role-playing games and the many concepts the training covers.
While It is possible to complete both the player level 1 and game master level 1 training in the same 16 session period, trainees will generally need to attend 2 training sessions per week to get all of the hours required both playing and running each of the introductory role-playing games.
Why Professional Standards Matter
Safety is the first and foremost reason for establishing – and meeting – professional standards.
The other reasons are presented during the first two sessions, and are then built upon in each subsequent session and level of training.
The rest of the reasons are touched upon during the first and second training sessions, then built upon further with each subsequent session and level of training.
Without giving away too many of the answers to the questions in this workbook, key items include:
Key areas of importance include:
• physical & emotional safety
• customer satisfaction
• government compliance
• insurance requirements
• legal liabilities
• online streaming (de)monitzation issues
• optimization of experience
• research consistency
• risk management
• services quality & consistency
Multidisciplinary & Cognitive Neuroscience Approach to Learning
We take a multidisciplinary and holistic approach to all of our programs. Many of the hands-on aspects of our programs are also heavily based on proven methodologies from Therapeutic Recreation / Recreation Therapy standards.
All of our training programs, research, and this workbook have been designed from a multidisciplinary perspective which is also heavily supported by the neurosciences, especially Educational Psychology and Cognitive Neuropsychology disciplines.
Key Educational & Cognitive Neuropsychology concepts applied in this training include:
• distributed practice aka differential learning, retrieval, & rehearsal
• iterative progression
• building on prior knowledge
• targeted intentional interference factors
• multiple levels of processing (shallow, mid, & deep)
• “why” questions for improving elaboration & distinctiveness
• considerations of limitations in chunking
• token economy and gamification reinforcement tools
• exploration of opportunities
• interspersing desirable difficulties
• application of the testing effect
• ongoing assessment feedback for objective determination of comprehension and retention for realistic determination of progress to avoid inaccurate self-assessment of competency areas and to help you focus on the areas needing further mastery so you can avoid wasting time on areas already mastered
Date:__________________ Time: _______:________
Instructor’s Name: ___________________________________________
GM 1 Name: _________________________________________________
GM 2 Name: _________________________________________________
• Introduction to RPG Accessibility Part 2:
• Theater of the Mind vs. Aphantasia
• Visual aides
• Considerations for Dyslexia & others
• Considerations for Visually Impaired & Blind Participants
• Applied Gaming: TRPG Format: Basic Fantasy Role-Playing Game (BFRPG) Adventure “Gold in the Hills”, combat is not the best solution.
• Tips & tricks: Introduction to turn management part 2: Initiative tracking tools.
• RPG-0105-0201 - Introduction to Accessibility Considerations for RPG Part 2: Theater of the Mind vs. Aphantasia. Visual aides, VI, Dyslexia, & others related to visuals.
• RPG-0154-0361-01 – Applied Gaming: TRPG BFRPG – AA1: Adventure 1: Gold in the Hills. Combat is not the best solution.
• RPG-0159-0201 - GM Tips, Tricks, & Tools: Introduction to Turn Management Part 2: Initiative Tracking Tools.
• Participants/students/trainees check-in 15-minutes before session start time.
• Did you complete your assigned tasks from the previous session?
• Did you post your online community comments?
• If you have already been through this session as a Level 1 Player Trainee, then contact the instructor the session before this session is scheduled to offer to run the Applied Gaming portion as a Level 1 GM Trainee. All GM Trainees are required to run the Applied Gaming section for this session as part of your requirements to receive your diploma. You may not take the Level 1 GM final exam until these GM session requirements are complete.
Session 8 Baseline Quiz & Lecture/Discussion
1. QUESTION: To increase readability, especially for people with dyslexia, visual impairments, and other reading considerations, what font style is recommended? (Hint, it is NOT the dyslexi/dyslexic font).
2. QUESTION: In addition to selecting the “best” font style, what are 3 other commonly available adjustments you can make to the font settings to improve readability of the text itself.
3. QUESTION: Besides font styles & settings, what are 4 other key layout considerations to improve readability of documents, rulebooks, character sheets, etc. for people with dyslexia or visual impairments?
6. QUESTION: What is a useful website specifically for Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and others that want to incorporate sign language into role-playing games?
7. QUESTION: What are 2 effective methods to prepare your game to be more accessible for participants when you have the opportunity to know your players before the session (this is difficult to apply to PUGs).
8. QUESTION: What is the name of the game, acronym, and website for the fantasy TRPG that we recommend and use extensively to provide the benefits of an enhanced old-school basic system? It is freely available for download, inexpensively available for print, and very accessibility friendly.
9. QUESTION: What are some digital technological options to provide gaming materials and role-playing gaming for people with visual impairments/blindness?
10. QUESTION: What is the name of the neural-cognitive condition usually characterized by an inability to voluntarily visualize mental imagery.
TOTAL SCORE: NUMBER CORRECT ________ OF ___________ POSSIBLE
Session 8 Applied Gaming Part 1
Tips, Tricks, & Tools of The Trade
Applied Gaming 2
Session 8 Quiz Retake
(as baseline quiz but without notes)
Session 8 Assigned Activities
• Write a short half to one page essay about your thoughts and experiences from this session. Think of this more as a journal or blog. It is required you write something thoughtful, but you will not be graded on the content of the writing. You may use this to help inspire you in your online postings with others if you wish.
• Participate in at least one chatroom by saying hello and introducing yourself.
• Participate in chatrooms in at least 2 separate conversations with other trainees. This can be through any of the referenced chatrooms.
Session 8 Journal Entry
_____________ _____________ _____________ _____________
_____________ _____________ _____________ _____________
CHECKOUT TIME: ________: ________
SESSION TOTAL HOURS:MINUTES: ________: ________
GRAND TOTAL HOURS:MINUTES ________: ________