User Guide Old
Old Junk Topics to pick from...
The Database is where you can meet all your collecting, ranking and statistical gaming needs. Here you will be able to find books by their mechanics or genre. You can search by name or author and browse by a multitude of categories to help you research your next major purchase!
Searching for RPGs and Items
The easiest way to find what you want is using the search feature on top of the page.
The All option finds things everywhere. As an example, if you search for "Weis" using the All option, you will find both Margaret Weis (the great writer of Tales of the Lance), Margaret Weis Productions, Ltd. (her publishing company), Sabine Weiss (artist of Das Schwarze Auge (DSA) (4th Edition)). If you want a more narrow search choose any of the options on the pull-down box to the left of where you enter search text.
Another common way to find books is browsing the database for them. On the menu, you hover your mouse over Browse to get the list of browsing options.
Browse Menu (numbers in parenthesis are # of items)
The Advanced Search button will take you to a new page where we have defined a number of search templates where you can perform more complicated searches. From here you can venture out on searches governed by a selection of filters . Keep an eye out as a number of custom searches will be added in the future.
Both RPGs and RPGItems have a rank on the site. When you browse lists of games in our system, you can order this list by ranking. The ranking of any game or item is based on an average of the ratings given by the users of the site (a minimum of 5 ratings are required before an item can be ranked). It is important to rate games that you are knowledgeable of, since the more ratings a game gets, the more reliable the ranking. By rating games accurately and honestly, you make the site much better for everyone, so take your time to accurately rate games you have played or have an opinion about. Ratings are, of course, not the only measure of a game - which is why the system also supports reviews and session reports (but those belong in the Forums section discussed later in this guide).
You'll notice in the rankings list both a Geek Rating and an Average Rating. The Average Rating is simply the total of all ratings for the game divided by the number of voters. Simple averaging. The Geek Rating takes into account two things - the database here uses a Bayesian Averaging Algorithm (similar to how IMDB does it) where a number of dummy average votes are introduced into each to smooth out edge cases on rankings. I won't go into it here, but it's a common weighting scheme and you can research it elsewhere. The second thing the Geek Rating takes into account is that we have a Shill Busting algorithm in place. Details are not given out but it only affects a tiny number of voters. These voters tend to come in with an agenda - they make an account, they rate a bunch of games a 1 (lowest rating) and leave (often never to be seen again). Or they come in and hammer a 10 rating to a game and similarly disappear. If you are rating your games as 99.9% of all normal users would, you will NOT be caught by this Shill Busting Algorithm.
Here is a typical browse list in our system showing the various rankings and ratings.
And here it gets a little confusing. You are allowed to mark any item in the database as owned. This makes sense - an item is a physical, tangible thing which you can acquire. You are also allowed to mark any RPG as "owned". This is a little more abstract - when you say you "own" an RPG you are saying that you have some (or all) of the books for it and have some vested interest in it. You may own a book like GURPS Aztecs to help you flesh out that world for your D&D campaign, but you wouldn't consider yourself to own GURPS. If you have the core books for GURPS and some source books and feel attached to it as a game you would play - then marking it as "owned" makes some sense. We may change the wording for "own" at the RPG level soon - but the concepts will remain. Please note, you do not need to mark an RPG as "owned" to rate it or comment on it.
There are two ways to rate an RPG or RPGItem, the first is from the game entry, and we'll talk about that later. The other is on the ranking list shown above. You can click in any of the boxes listed under Your Rating and will be given a quick-entry to enter your rating.
The RPG Item Page
The item entry page is the place where most of the info can be found on a given book, product or box set. It is probably the place where you will spend a lot of time. Here you can find the artist, publisher, categories and genre of the item. From the item entry page you can add it to your collection, rate it, log a play and record other important information. Here is one of the more popular RPG Items in our system which serves as a good example of the kinds of information you will find here:
Adding a Game to Your Collection
At the bottom of every RPG and Item page is the User Information Module:
The three selections here allow you to add a copy of this RPG or Item to your tracked collection, record information about the RPG or Item (does not add it to your collection - in the event that you played something but don't own it) and you can also track each time you play the game.
When you record information or add a copy to your collection, you are presented with a dialog box to enter a wealth of information:
The Private Info: field is a text box to keep information you want for yourself but don't want to be available publicly (that is, only you can view it). From this dialog box you can rate the game, add notes about the game, etc. Some items have multiple printings, different cover artwork, etc. These are known as versions and this Add To Collection dialog lets you specify which of the versions you actually own (just click on the versions field to select which version this is). If you own more than one version of an item (say, the Hardcover, Softcover and the PDF versions) you would need to add new items and select the appropriate versions.
Record a Play allows you to record another play you did for this item. On the first window you select the date, if you want, clicking on More, you can add players to the game (and can even link to their RPGG usernames), select the location, duration and even post the game play to twitter. When you select Record a Play you are given a dialog box to edit actual play information:
You can record plays at the RPG level or the Item level. This can be a little confusing but the guideline is that you should normally log the play at the higher RPG level (after all, RPGs are the thing you play... they are the game). If you are playing a specific module or campaign, you may log it at the item level (i.e. on the entry page that contains the book for the module or campaign) and optionally also record it at the RPG level.
Guidelines for Rating RPGs and RPG Items
There is a fundamental difference between an RPG and and RPG Item in our database. An RPG Item is a physical, tangible item - be it a book, dice, map set or accessory. The RPG is the game that you play. The difference is saying you play "Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition" vs. owning the "Monster Manual II for D&D 3rd Edition".
* RPG Items (books, maps, products, etc) can be rated if you've read the book or used the product.
* RPGs (the actual games we play) are be rated if you're actually played the game.
In other words, if you've read the Dungeons & Dragons Player's Handbook and Monster Manual for the AD&D 1st Edition, you can rate those books. You don't need to have played the game to rate individual books. But you should only rate the AD&D 1st Edition RPG if you've actually played the system. In this we realize that more items (tangible products) will be rated than RPGs but that's fine - there are many more products in the database than parent RPGs they belong to!
When rating RPG Items (books, maps, etc) we suggest the following guidelines:
10 - Outstanding.
Rules and concepts well presented and a near perfect fit to your play style. Excellent writing. Excellent Editing. Highly consistent throughout. You would highly recommend this book/product.
9 - Excellent.
Same as 10 but lacking in one or more of the elements (writing style, editing, consistency).
8 - Very Good.
Rules and concepts are a good fit to your play style with some reservations. Solid writing. Solid Editing. Highly consistent throughout.
7 - Good.
Same as 8 but lacking in one of the elements (writing style, editing, consistency).
6 - Above Average.
Rules and concepts are a reasonable fit to your play style but there are significant sections which you would change or not use in actual play. Solid writing. Solid Editing. Highly consistent throughout.
5 - Average.
Same as 6 but lacking in one of the elements (writing style, editing, consistency).
4 - Below Average.
Rules and concepts are not a great fit to your play style and there are significant sections which you would change or not use in actual play. You would cherry pick a few ideas from such a book and discard the rest. Solid writing. Solid Editing. Highly consistent throughout.
3 - Well Below Average.
Same as 4 but lacking in one of the elements (writing style, editing, consistency).
2 - Poor.
Rules and concepts are not likely to mesh at all with your play style and there are precious few things you can cull from this book to use in your actual play. Solid writing. Solid Editing. Highly consistent throughout.
1 - Horrible.
Same as 2 but lacking in one of the elements (writing style, editing, consistency).
Now for actual RPGs (which are the games we play). This scale is much closer to the BGG rating scale because we're at least talking apples to apples here!
10 - Outstanding. Likely your Bread-and-Butter RPG of choice. A game you tend to return to again and again.
9 - Excellent. You look forward to playing/running this game and would consider long-term play of the game.
8 - Very Good. You enjoy the game and would play/run it often but need to take a break from it once in a while.
7 - Good. Enjoyable once in a while but wouldn't feel the need to make this a staple of your gaming group.
6 - Above Average. Will play occasionally if the mood is right or the group really wanted to. Wouldn't clamor to play.
5 - Average. Can be talked into playing but usually for the benefit of the group.
4 - Below Average. Will play but would probably put up some resistance in favor of a game that is better suited to your play style.
3 - Well Below Average. You have played once and might give it another shot but are unlikely to return to it again. You would usually excuse yourself from a game if suggested.
2 - Poor. - You've played once and that's more than enough.
1 - Horrible. Maybe you didn't even get through a full session on this before you wondered if it was a game after all.
Be sure to rate RPGs as well as RPG Items... the games are at least as important as the individual books! Our system only works if enough people make an effort to enter ratings.
Guidelines for Rating Periodicals
Periodicals include magazines, newsletters, zines and APAs. When rating periodicals we suggest the following guidelines:
10 - Outstanding.
Enjoyed virtually every issue that was produced. Would pay well to seek out missing issues.
9 - Excellent.
Highly enjoyable read for most of the print run. Would seek out missing issues as spare funds allowed.
8 - Very Good.
Enjoyed most of the print run and extracted plenty of RPG goodness from the reads. Don't feel the need to own every issue.
7 - Good.
Enjoyed most of the print run but a bit more hit-and-miss. No need to own every issue.
6 - Above Average.
More than half of the issues were of some use. No need to own every issue.
5 - Average.
About half of the issues read were of some use. May own a few of the better issues.
4 - Below Average.
A bit less than half of the issues read were of some use. May own a few issues - or may pass them along to others who might extract value from them.
3 - Well Below Average.
Far less than half were of any real use. Would not see the need to hold onto these issues other than the occasional article.
2 - Poor.
Most likely to end up in the recycle bin after a quick reading.
1 - Horrible.
Didn't feel that any value was given for the periodical.
Adding New Content to the Database
Having something we don't have listed yet? You are encouraged add your entry to the growing RPG Geek database! You do all of this through the Misc->Create menu at the top of the screen.
Because we want to keep the data quality very high, please be sure to read one of the Data Entry Guides below:
Concise Guide to Data Entry (95% of everything you enter would be covered by this short guide)
Guide to Data Entry (and this is the full version for everything else!)
A place where Elven Archer, Space Explorer and World Adventurer alike can come together to discuss our hobby. RPG Geek offers a powerful forum system that is unlike other forums you might be accustomed to. This can cause some disorientation for those not familiar with the way it works. This is a very short guide to help you get the lay of the land.
Before you go any further, please have a peek at our RPG Posting Etiquette Guidelines.
First of all, the forums here (and reviews + sessions) are data-centric. That is, the forums are not in a traditional hierarchy as they might be for other sites. We center our forums around the games themselves. This is a bit of a foreign concept for most! What that means is that you don't post a question about the original 1977 AD&D Monster Manual to a general forum - you go to the page for the Monster Manual in our database and scroll down to the forum section and post it there. It will show up on the front page of RPG Geek all correctly linked to the 1977 Monster Manual book. If you have a more general question about AD&D 1st Edition (not specific to any book), you can post it to the forums attached to the RPG. If you have a question about a specific Series or Setting, you can post your question to forums attached to any of those.
This concept of a data-centric world is one of RPG Geeks greatest strengths. It means that small press games like Luke Crane's The Burning Wheel Fantasy Roleplaying System (Revised) have the same powerful forum capabilities and resources as Dungeons & Dragons (3.5 Edition). It also means that Dungeons & Dragons (3.5 Edition) is on equal footing with GURPS (4th Edition) and The World of Darkness. Equality above all!
When browsing in our system, you will find that these RPG Geek levels:
All have the following forums attached to them: Reviews, Sessions, General, GMs Only, Rules, House Rules, News, Play By Forum
Forum Links at the Bottom of an RPG Item
These RPG Geek levels:
only have the |General| forum attached.
Special Link Tags in Forum Posts
When you post to any forum you will see the following:
You can use this pull-down to create a link to RPGs, Authors, Genres, etc. Using this you can produce links that look like: Player's Handbook 2 (D&D 4e)
. You can even use this to link across to Video Games or Board Games. It's a powerful tool - use it!
Session Reports and Reviews
Our database is hierarchical and so are the forums, reviews and session reports. If you post a review of the Player's Handbook v3.5 using the forums attached to that item, you will see those posts linked in not only at the item level, but also at the parent RPG level! Likewise, if you put a review in at the RPG level, it will also show in the parent Family level.
When you want to enter a review or a session, decide if the commentary you are making is specific to a single book, or the entire game. If it is specific to a given book - post the review or session at the item level. If you want to make a review or comment that applies to the entire game, post it at the RPG level.
Any session posted to the appropriate forum will also show in the Sessions list on the front page.
Any review posted to the appropriate forum will also show in the Reviews list on the front page.
You can subscribe to posts at any level. If you are interested only in Player's Handbook commentary, you can subscribe at the item level. If you want anything and everything related to D&D v3.5 you can subscribe at the RPG level. Interested in a particular mechanic? Subscribe to that mechanic and see all related discussion. This provides a huge level of control for the end-user. Don't knock it until you've tried it! In most places (forum posts, reviews, items) you will see a subscription link which you can click on to subscribe at that level. This link looks like:
When you log into the RPG Geek, the top of the screen (above the menu bar) will show you if you have any new subscriptions to read:
If you want to manage your subscriptions (including a host of cool options to get emails when someone posts to your favorite threads, etc):
General Purpose Forums
In addition to the data-centric forums mentioned above, we do have some general purpose forums. The most popular of which are:
General Role-Playing - General discussion about the RPG hobby. This is likely to be the most active forum.
Game Masters - A forum for GMs to discuss ideas - potential spoilers here so tread lightly!
RPG Design - Post articles related to designing and developing RPGs.
How To RPGG - Related to the RPG Geek site itself (great place to ask questions on the site itself)
RPGG Suggestions - Post and discuss suggestions to improve the site.
The Tavern - The off topic place to kick back, drink ale and talk about anything you want.
Once you have mastered the database and forums, there are still a few things left for you to understand before you begin your journey. These are areas which help tie it all together and maximize the RPG Geek experience.
Whenever you see a post that you enjoyed or found valuable, you are encouraged to click the little thumb-up icon next to the post. This tells the poster that you found his contribution valuable - and it draws attention to the post on the main page. Thumb generously - they do not cost you to thumb and we want to provide an environment in which the users encourage each other in a positive manner! Also, images that are uploaded are only eligible for an "Uploader Award" if they receive three or more thumbs - so be generous here.
It is considered in bad taste to thumb your own post (though thumbing replied to your post is in good taste!). While there is no thumb-down, there is a little red 'x' which you can use if someone posts something overtly offensive or steps on another user's basic rights. Use this very cautiously - when you do, an admin looks into the situation. Here is what the Thumbs and red 'x' icons look like:
Thumbs are free - spread them around please!!
Each account on the RPG geek comes with GeekMail. This provides you an Inbox and Outbox. At the top of the screen you will see the title bar has a little box with your mail and subscription information in it. The red number next to the mail icon indicates the number of unread messages in your inbox.
Clicking this will allow you to enter the GeekMail system (where you can send and receive email). There are lots of ways to send mail - the most common of which is to simply click on the little envelope icon under any username which will bring up the mail system and allow you to send that person a private message. Please respect the Geekmail guidelines listed on the message entry page.
Geeklists allow you to create a list from items in the database. By default, the items will show in the order you add them and they will display an associated image (the default is the representative image of the RPG item - usually the front cover of the book - though you can change the image for the purpose of the geeklist and select different ways to sort the items on the list). Other users can recommend your list, comment on the list you created and can add their own geeklist items to your list (you can restrict any or all of these additional features).
When you create a Geeklist, you can select whether this is an RPG only geeklist or a combination of RPGs, Video Games and/or Boardgames.
Rules for Cross-Posting Geeklists Across Domains:
Rule 1: Generally (see rule 2) don't cross-post unless your initial list has at least one item for each cross-posted domain. Don't think "this might be of interest to..." - better to error on the side of caution and if and when someone asks to add an item of that type, you can expand the geeklist to cover the new domain (by editing the header of the geeklist you've created). Those of us interested in Boardgames, Video Games and RPGs are capable of checking the geeklists on all the sites that are of interest to us.
Rule 2: If you are absolutely sure that the geeklist crosses multiple domain boundaries (for example, asking for games played at big conventions such as Origins or Gencon or non-game related lists that may be of interest to all domains), feel free to cross-post (even if you don't have an initial item from the cross-posted domains) but please keep the title generic. That is, if you're going to cross-post to RPGG and BGG, don't title your geeklist: "RPGs Played at Gencon" but instead just use something like "Games Played at Gencon". This way, the list seems more inviting to the domains you've cross-posted it to.
Geeklists are often used to list games played at a convention, RPGs found in thrift stores, games that are appropriate for a certain group (younger players, non RPGers, etc). The creativity of how geeklists are used is almost endless! Be sure to check out the Geeklist module on the front page for some examples of what people are using geeklists for.
Geekgold is an economy used here at the RPG Geek. When you submit reviews, session reports, images and enter new data into the sytem, you are awarded geekgold (usually abbreviated gg). You can spend this geek gold on a wide variety of things - a new avatar, microbadges, to block the ADs on the system, to tip other posters whose work you enjoy and even some RPG auctions are run using only geekgold! While earning and spending geekgold is not required for your use of RPG Geek, we find that it can be an enjoyable experience.
Now... as a reward for anyone reading this far into the User Guide (good for you!) you can send me a geekmail at wavemotion and put in the geekmail the secret phrase "CROM!" and I will give you 8gg so that you can get any RPG Microbadge you want. For a list of the over 300 RPG Microbadges, see RPG Geek.
The Art of Tipping
When you see an article or post from someone, at the left low side you'll see a little gold coin which you can click to enter a tip (can be as little as a 0.01gg -- a "Geek Penny"). It's a great way to show that you found something valuable! This is especially great to do when you've accumulated a bit of geek gold and wish to spread the wealth to others (especially new users who struggle to get enough to buy an avatar or microbadge). Most small tips do not need special thanks or acknowledgments but if you get a large tip (say, over 5gg) it's polite to drop the person a note and thank them. Here is what the geek gold coin looks like (this image also shows that the poster has received 0.25gg already for his efforts):
An Avatar is a visual representation of you on the RPG Geek system. The Avatar is displayed as a part of the user information block, a typical example of which is shown below:
Your avatar can be a picture of yourself, something dear to you, an RPG you enjoy, etc. A custom avatar costs 30gg and can be purchaed by visiting your profile page.
Above the avatar you will see the username (in this case wavemotion). Below this are 5 slots for microbadges though you can fill it with less (zero to 5 microbadges). You can buy a microbadge for 8gg and do so in your profile page. Some microbadges are awarded by the system (for example, for contributions you make to the Geek, promotional giveaways, contest participation, etc) but most can simply be bought with geekgold. Clicking on a microbadge will show what other users own the badge (a nice way to find all us Pink Floyd fans!). A few special microbadges such as or allow you set a custom URL for those badges (meaning anyone that clicks on those microbadges can jump directly to your Blog entry or your Twitter page).
You access your profile page by clicking the 'My Geek' menu item a the top of the screen and selecting Profile.
This is where you can buy, sell or trade RPG items in your collection. Some auctions are run for money, some for geek gold only (this is your choice when running the auction). This is a great way to cycle out some older RPG material for something you are hankering for. The Bazaar Menu is located at the top of the screen:
Geekbay (Ebay Auctions supporting RPG Geek)
The Geekbay module is attached to every item in our database. For example, this is the Geekbay module (a snapshot in time obviously) for the Rogue Trader Core Rulebook item:
This Geekbay module is updated manual by our users. That is... a user would click on the Add... link to add current ebay auctions to this Geekbay module for a given item. This does two things. First it improves the experience for other users who are interested in an item (after reading the description, reviews or comments) and wants to potentially buy one. Secondly, if the user clicks through these links to ebay and buys an item, the RPG Geek gets a few pennies kickback from Ebay (which, in turn, supports our site!). As incentive for users to add auctions (obviously it doesn't have to be your own auction though it could be) for every listing you add that someone else clicks, you get 0.01 geekgold (a geek-penny) up to 0.05 geekgold total (given at the end of the auction). Do not abuse this but please do help in adding current auctions and help make the 'Geek more useful (and earn a little something for your effort).
Using Ad Block, it is possible to hide the Geekbay module. Hence, if you cannot find this module, you should check your Ad Block settings; it might be blocked.
Geekmodding allows the user community to approve or decline images and articles entered into the system. This takes the burden off of the admins and allows the user community to help with the quality control of content on the site. The job is fairly easy - but there are rules. The rules for images and articles are posted on each Geekmod screen so you'll know what criteria to base your Approve/Decline vote. This process also earns you geekgold - 0.01 (a "Geek-Penny") for every approve vote that eventually gets into the system and 0.05 (a "Geek-Nickel") for every decline that gets rejected properly. Do not vote as you think the majority will vote - use the guidelines as your criteria for voting.
Geekmodding is done here:
http://www.rpggeek.com/geekmod (and then choose one of the Geekmod areas: Images, Image Links, Articles, Data)
RPG Geek of the Week
The fine tradition from BGG is born anew here on RPG Geek! For all the details on the RPG Geek of the Week, please see the wiki.
Becoming a Patron
We obviously love having the site and the information contained be freely available. However, the site does require both manpower and server power to continue running. If you feel that the site is worth your monetary support, you can become a Patron of RPG Geek for 1 year with a USD $15 donation. For USD $25 you can turn off all advertisements on the site as well as gain access to a number of other premium features (these features are not needed to enjoy RPG Geek but do enhance the enjoyment of our site). You can find out more at:
Follow Us on Twitter
RPG Geek has a slick Twitter account: http://www.twitter.com/rpggeek
You can also just follow the twitter feed at @rpggeek
We recommend the tag #rpggeek if you are tweeting and mention the site!
We'll be posting tidbits about upcoming site features, some cool activities happening on the forums and generally anything that we feel would be of interest to the RPG Geeks out there!
This is our community. The users drive all of the content and ratings - as such this is exactly what you want it to to be. Be proactive and supportive of the community - help to make it the place you want it to be! Your adventure is just beginning... Enjoy and have fun out there!!
(If you have questions, comments or suggestions for this guide, please geekmail wavemotion)