If you're reading this, then there's a good
chance you're already familiar with the concept of roleplaying. Probably you've
played some pencil and paper sort, be it Dungeons and Dragons® , Rifts®, White
Wolf®, or some other variety. There's also a good chance that, considering where
you've undoubtedly found this, you're familiar with online chat rooms. Whethere
you usually chat here at The Pork, or elsewhere, you understand the concept of
online interaction. You've used terms like "lol" or "rti" and the like.
To my knowledge, this is the first roleplaying game that is designed
specifically to be used with a chat room. All the tools, information, and
characters will be found right here. No need to purchase different books, and no
need to buy dice or figures. Everything is just a mouse click away.
Dark Pines was created out of a gradual growth of different online
roleplaying chat rooms. The first inception, when I came to my first HTML chat
room, was a pretty basic, vague setting. The room you entered was, of course,
"The Tavern". And around it? Well... that depended on who was telling what
story. It was what was eventually termed "free form" roleplaying. Meaning there
were absolutely zero limitations; as long as you could imagine it and type it,
you could do it.
Now, there were some fabulous benefits to freeform roleplaying. You could
have battles on epic scales that no roleplaying game in existence could match on
pencil and paper. You could have your hero slice his or her way through army
after army, and since there were no dice you could control exactly how it turned
out. Free form roleplaying was like giving every person who was playing the
ability to be a Game Master. It made for some interesting sets, I'll tell you
Of course, there were also some drawbacks. The open-ended nature of the
experience was great, but sometimes rules actually make games more fun, instead
of just making them more limited. If two people got along and were fighting
towards the same goal, for example, things usually went smoothly. All the bad
guys were defeated, and both were heroes. But put two characters in direct
confrontation? Well... let's just say that people liked their characters, and
didn't want to see them die. Ever. It didn't matter who did what, both
characters would inevitably walk away from the fight alive and claiming to be
the better warrior.
That's what the dice in a roleplaying game give you: the element of chance.
Of unpredictability. The uncertainty of whether or not, if you press the
situation, it'll come out in your favor. It's all well and good to want to have
an invincible character, but after a while, it gets dull. The same thing that
makes real life so precious and worth living (ie the knowledge it could end at
any moment) is the same thing that makes roleplaying characters so much fun to
play. The unknown! The slight tug at the back of your neck where you wonder "Do
I really want to do this? What might happen?"
That's what we're trying to bring here: the perfect balance between free form
ideas, and that element of chance. Did we nail it the first time around?
Probably not. But the great thing about this game, and the place in which we
play it, is that players have a direct line to the creators, and can toss in
ideas and suggestions on how to make things better. It is probably one of the
most dynamic roleplaying games that will be out there.
So, now that I've introduced you to the framework, let's move on to the flesh
and blood of the matter, hm? Dark Pines. You may or may not be familiar with it.
As the title suggests, it's a little gritty. A little dark. A little...
dangerous. This is a world of vampires, of demons, of devils and ghouls. A world
spotted with trees that rise so high they blot out the sun, and the darkness
they create is home to the foulest of creatures.
But there is light here, too. A spark or two; and if you'll follow that light
into the forest, you may emerge on the other side no worse for wear. Oh, you'll
hear sounds and you'll catch something just out of the corner of your eye. But
if you follow the light, and keep up, I'm sure you'll be fine.
Come take a walk with me, then. Into the forest. And if the light happens to
flicker and die, don't worry.
It'll all be over soon.