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A role-playing game (sometimes spelled roleplaying game;abbreviated RPG) is a game in which players assume the roles of characters in a fictional setting. Players take responsibility for acting out these roles within a narrative, either through literal acting, or through a process of structured decision-making regarding character development. Actions taken within many games succeed or fail according to a formal system of rules and guidelines.
A game is a structured form of play, usually undertaken for enjoyment and sometimes used as an educational tool. Games are distinct from work, which is usually carried out for remuneration, and from art, which is more often an expression of aesthetic or ideological elements. However, the distinction is not clear-cut, and many games are also considered to be work or art.
A player character is a fictional character in a role-playing game or video game whose actions are directly controlled by a player of the game rather than the rules of the game. The characters that are not controlled by a player are called non-player characters (NPCs). The actions of non-player characters are typically handled by the game itself in video games, or according to rules followed by a gamemaster refereeing tabletop role-playing games. The player character functions as a fictional, alternate body for the player controlling the character.
The setting is both the time and geographic location within a narrative, either nonfiction or fiction. A literary element, the setting helps initiate the main backdrop and mood for a story. Setting has been referred to as story world or milieu to include a context beyond the immediate surroundings of the story. Elements of setting may include culture, historical period, geography, and hour. Along with the plot, character, theme, and style, setting is considered one of the fundamental components of fiction.
There are several forms of role-playing games. The original form, sometimes called the tabletop role-playing game (TRPG), is conducted through discussion, whereas in live action role-playing (LARP), players physically perform their characters' actions.In both of these forms, an arranger called a game master (GM) usually decides on the rules and setting to be used, while acting as the referee; each of the other players takes on the role of a single character.
A tabletop role-playing game is a form of role-playing game (RPG) in which the participants describe their characters' actions through speech. Participants determine the actions of their characters based on their characterization, and the actions succeed or fail according to a set formal system of rules and guidelines. Within the rules, players have the freedom to improvise; their choices shape the direction and outcome of the game.
A live action role-playing game (LARP) is a form of role-playing game where the participants physically portray their characters. The players pursue goals within a fictional setting represented by the real world while interacting with each other in character. The outcome of player actions may be mediated by game rules or determined by consensus among players. Event arrangers called gamemasters decide the setting and rules to be used and facilitate play.
Several varieties of RPG also exist in electronic media, such as multiplayer text-based Multi-User Dungeons (MUDs) and their graphics-based successors, massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs). Role-playing games also include single-player role-playing video games in which players control a character, or team of characters, who undertake(s) quests, and may include player capabilities that advance using statistical mechanics. These electronic games sometimes share settings and rules with tabletop RPGs, but emphasize character advancement more than collaborative storytelling.
An online text-based role playing game is a role-playing game played online using a solely text-based interface. Online text-based role playing games date to 1978, with the creation of MUD1, which began the MUD heritage that culminates in today's MMORPGs. Some online-text based role playing games are video games, but some are organized and played entirely by humans through text-based communication. Over the years, games have used TELNET, internet forums, IRC, email and social networking websites as their media.
A MUD is a multiplayer real-time virtual world, usually text-based. MUDs combine elements of role-playing games, hack and slash, player versus player, interactive fiction, and online chat. Players can read or view descriptions of rooms, objects, other players, non-player characters, and actions performed in the virtual world. Players typically interact with each other and the world by typing commands that resemble a natural language.
Massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs) are a combination of role-playing video games and massively multiplayer online games in which a very large number of players interact with one another within a virtual world.
This type of game is well-established, so some RPG-related game forms, such as trading/collectible card games (CCGs) and wargames, may not be included under the definition. Some amount of role-playing activity may be present in such games, but it is not the primary focus.The term role-playing game is also sometimes used to describe games involving roleplay simulation and exercises used in teaching, training, and academic research.
Role-playing is the changing of one's behaviour to assume a role, either unconsciously to fill a social role, or consciously to act out an adopted role. While the Oxford English Dictionary offers a definition of role-playing as "the changing of one's behaviour to fulfill a social role", in the field of psychology, the term is used more loosely in four senses:
Roleplay simulation is an experiential learning method in which either amateur or professional roleplayers improvise with learners as part of a simulated scenario. Roleplay is designed primarily to build first-person experience in a safe and supportive environment. Roleplay is widely acknowledged as a powerful technique across multiple avenues of training and education.
Both authors and major publishers of tabletop role-playing games consider them to be a form of interactive and collaborative storytelling.Events, characters, and narrative structure give a sense of a narrative experience, and the game need not have a strongly-defined storyline. Interactivity is the crucial difference between role-playing games and traditional fiction. Whereas a viewer of a television show is a passive observer, a player in a role-playing game makes choices that affect the story. Such role-playing games extend an older tradition of storytelling games where a small party of friends collaborate to create a story.
Storytelling describes the social and cultural activity of sharing stories, sometimes with improvisation, theatrics, or embellishment. Every culture has its own stories or narratives, which are shared as a means of entertainment, education, cultural preservation or instilling moral values. Crucial elements of stories and storytelling include plot, characters and narrative point of view.
A storytelling game is a game where two or more persons collaborate on telling a spontaneous story. Usually, each player takes care of one or more characters in the developing story. Some games in the tradition of role-playing games require one participant to take the roles of the various supporting characters, as well as introducing non-character forces, but other systems dispense with this figure and distribute this function among all players.
While simple forms of role-playing exist in traditional children's games of make believe, role-playing games add a level of sophistication and persistence to this basic idea with additions such as game facilitators and rules of interaction. Participants in a role-playing game will generate specific characters and an ongoing plot. A consistent system of rules and a more or less realistic campaign setting in games aids suspension of disbelief. The level of realism in games ranges from just enough internal consistency to set up a believable story or credible challenge up to full-blown simulations of real-world processes.
Make believe, also known as pretend play, is a loosely structured form of play that generally includes role-play, object substitution and nonliteral behavior. What separates play from other daily activities is its fun and creative aspect rather than being an action performed for the sake of survival or necessity. Children engage in make believe for a number of reasons. It provides the child with a safe setting to express fears and desires. When children participate in pretend play, they are integrating and strengthening previously acquired knowledge. Children who have better pretense and fantasy abilities also show better social competence, cognitive capabilities, and an ability to take the perspective of others. In order for the activity to be referred to as pretend play, the individual must be intentionally diverting from reality. The individual must be aware of the contrast between the real situation and the make believe situation. If the child believes that the make believe situation is reality, then he/she is misinterpreting the situation rather than pretending. Pretend may or may not include action, depending on whether the child chooses to project their imagination onto reality or not.
Plot refers to the sequence of events inside a story where each event affects the next through the principle of cause-and-effect. The causal events of a plot can be thought of as a series of events linked by the connector "and so". Plots can vary from simple structures—such as in a traditional ballad—to complex interwoven structures sometimes referred to by the term imbroglio. In the narrative sense, the term highlights important points which have consequences within the story, according to Ansen Dibell. Plot is similar in meaning to the term storyline.
A campaign setting is usually a fictional world which serves as a setting for a role-playing game or wargame campaign. A campaign is a series of individual adventures, and a campaign setting is the world in which such adventures and campaigns take place. Usually a campaign setting is designed for a specific game or a specific genre of game. There are numerous campaign settings available both in print and online. In addition to published campaign settings available for purchase, many game masters create their own settings, often referred to as "homebrew" settings or worlds.
Role-playing games are played in a wide variety of formats ranging from discussing character interaction in tabletop form to physically acting out characters in LARP to playing characters virtually in digital media.There is also a great variety of systems of rules and game settings. Games that emphasize plot and character interaction over game mechanics and combat sometimes prefer the name storytelling game. These types of games tend to minimize or altogether eliminate the use of dice or other randomizing elements. Some games are played with characters created before the game by the GM, rather than those created by the players. This type of game is typically played at gaming conventions, or in standalone games that do not form part of a campaign.
Tabletop and pen-and-paper (PnP) RPGs are conducted through discussion in a small social gathering. The GM describes the game world and its inhabitants. The other players describe the intended actions of their characters, and the GM describes the outcomes.Some outcomes are determined by the game system, and some are chosen by the GM.
This is the format in which role-playing games were first popularized. The first commercially available RPG, Dungeons & Dragons (D&D), was inspired by fantasy literature and the wargaming hobby and was published in 1974.The popularity of D&D led to the birth of the tabletop role-playing game industry, which publishes games with many different themes, rules, and styles of play. The popularity of tabletop games has decreased since the modern releases of online MMO RPGs.
This format is often referred to simply as a role-playing game. To distinguish this form of RPG from other formats, the retronyms tabletop role-playing game or pen and paper role-playing game are sometimes used, though neither a table nor pen and paper are strictly necessary.
A LARP is played more like improvisational theatre.Participants act out their characters' actions instead of describing them, and the real environment is used to represent the imaginary setting of the game world. Players are often costumed as their characters and use appropriate props, and the venue may be decorated to resemble the fictional setting. Some live action role-playing games use rock-paper-scissors or comparison of attributes to resolve conflicts symbolically, while other LARPs use physical combat with simulated arms such as airsoft guns or foam weapons.
LARPs vary in size from a handful of players to several thousand, and in duration from a couple of hours to several days.Because the number of players in a LARP is usually larger than in a tabletop role-playing game, and the players may be interacting in separate physical spaces, there is typically less of an emphasis on tightly maintaining a narrative or directly entertaining the players, and game sessions are often managed in a more distributed manner.
Tabletop role-playing games have been translated into a variety of electronic formats.As early as 1974, the same year as the release of Dungeons & Dragons, unlicensed versions of it were developed on mainframe university systems under titles such as dnd and Dungeon. These early computer RPGs influenced all of electronic gaming, as well as spawning the role-playing video game genre. Some authors divide digital role-playing games into two intertwined groups: single player games using RPG-style mechanics, and multiplayer games incorporating social interaction.
Single player role-playing video games form a loosely defined genre of computer and console games with origins in role-playing games such as Dungeons & Dragons, on which they base much of their terminology, settings, and game mechanics.This translation changes the experience of the game, providing a visual representation of the world but emphasizing statistical character development over collaborative, interactive storytelling.
Online text-based role-playing games involve many players using some type of text-based interface and an Internet connection to play an RPG. Games played in a real-time way include MUDs, MUSHes, and other varieties of MU*. Games played in a turn-based fashion include play-by-mail games and play-by-post games.
Massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs) combine the large-scale social interaction and persistent world of MUDs with graphic interfaces. Most MMORPGs do not actively promote in-character role-playing, however players can use the games' communication functions to role-play so long as other players cooperate.The majority of players in MMORPGs do not engage in role-play in this sense.
Computer-assisted gaming can be used to add elements of computer gaming to in-person tabletop role-playing, where computers are used for record-keeping and sometimes to resolve combat, while the participants generally make decisions concerning character interaction.
One common feature of many RPGs is the role of gamemaster, a participant who has special duties to present the fictional setting, arbitrate the results of character actions, and maintain the narrative flow.In tabletop and live action RPGs the GM performs these duties in person. In video RPGs many of the functions of a GM are fulfilled by the game engine. However some multi-player video RPGs also allow for a participant to take on a GM role through a visual interface called a GM toolkit, albeit with abilities limited by the available technology.
Another standard concept in RPGs is the player character, a character in the fictional world of the game whose actions the player controls. Typically each player controls a separate player character, sometimes more, each of whom acts as a protagonist in the story.
In contrast to player characters, non-player characters (NPCs) are controlled by the gamemaster or game engine, or by people assisting the gamemaster. Non-player characters fill out the population of the fictional setting and can act as antagonists, bystanders or allies of the player characters.
But roleplaying is not purely educational. It's also one of the most creative possible entertainments. Most entertainment is passive: the audience just sits and watches, without taking part in the creative process. In roleplaying, the "audience" joins in the creation, may introduce huge impact to the project. The GM is the chief storyteller, but the players are responsible for portraying their characters. If they want something to happen in the story, they make it happen, because they're in the story.
As suggested by the name, TRPGs are played face-to-face (around a table, most likely), and involve players 'acting out' a role. This acting is not always literal. Players do not arrive in costume or speak exclusively in-character — something that differentiates TRPGs from live-action role-playing games (LARPs). Instead, players develop characters based on certain rules and are responsible for deciding what those characters do over the course of the game.
In some ways, the emphasis on character development has impeded progress in storytelling with RPGs. The central premise of these [computer RPGs] is that the player steadily builds his abilities by acquiring wealth, tools, weapons, and experience. This emphasis on character development tends to work against the needs of dramatic development - dramatic twists and turns clash with the prevailing tone of steady development. Fortunately, this impediment is not fundamental to the RPG genre; it is a cultural expectation rather than an architectural necessity.
Although Werewolf is a game, it is more concerned with storytelling than it is with winning. Werewolf is a tool enabling you to become involved in tales of passion and glory, and to help tell those stories yourself.
A roleplaying game is a storytelling game that has elements of the games of make-believe that many of us played as children.
The Role-Playing Game (RPG) is one of the major genres of games, and has proven an extremely portable concept - from the physically embodied live action and tabletop formats to the various digital, mobile and even enhanced and augmented reality formats.
A live action roleplaying game is a cross between a traditional 'tabletop' roleplaying game and improvisational theatre.
The LRP player, like a stage actor, is a person who under-goes a transformation into a character. The character’s costume and accessories, or kit, aids this transformation ... Physical structures may be used as game locations, and sometimes even purposely constructed to enhance the game world ... Players frequently use physical artifacts as props and tools in their role-play, primarily to back up their character roles.Cite uses deprecated parameter
"Live combat... requires the players' abilities to perform an action. You want to hit someone with a sword? You have to actually hit the player with a prop representing a sword, usually a padded weapon. ... Simulated combat is more abstract. It uses an external method that does not rely on player ability. For example, if you want to hit the other person with a sword, you may have to make a rock-paper-scissors challenge.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
...the participants sustain these temporary worlds for a few hours or several days
However, the majority of players in MMORPGs do not role-play at all, but self-play, that is, play as being themselves without adopting a fictional role.Cite journal requires
A gamemaster is a person who acts as an organizer, officiant for regarding rules, arbitrator, and moderator for a multiplayer role-playing game. They are more common in co-operative games in which players work together than in competitive games in which players oppose each other. The act performed by a gamemaster is sometimes referred to as "Gamemastering" or simply "GM-ing".
White Wolf Publishing was a roleplaying game and book publisher. The company was founded in 1991 as a merger between Lion Rampant and White Wolf Magazine, and was initially led by Mark Rein·Hagen of the former and Steve Wieck and Stewart Wieck of the latter. White Wolf Publishing, Inc. merged with CCP Games in 2006. White Wolf Publishing operated as an imprint of CCP hf, but ceased in-house production of any material, instead licensing their properties to other publishers. It was announced in October 2015 that White Wolf had been acquired from CCP by Paradox Interactive. In November 2018, after most of its staff were dismissed for making controversial statements, it was announced that White Wolf would no longer function as an entity separate from Paradox Interactive.
A role-playing video game is a video game genre where the player controls the actions of a character immersed in some well-defined world. Many role-playing video games have origins in tabletop role-playing games and use much of the same terminology, settings and game mechanics. Other major similarities with pen-and-paper games include developed story-telling and narrative elements, player character development, complexity, as well as replayability and immersion. The electronic medium removes the necessity for a gamemaster and increases combat resolution speed. RPGs have evolved from simple text-based console-window games into visually rich 3D experiences.
Freeform role-playing games, also called freeforms, are a type of role-playing game which employ informal or simplified rule sets, emphasise costume and theatricality, and typically involve large numbers of players in a common setting. Actions are typically adjudicated on the spot by a referee, though variants exist whereby players jointly mediate their own actions.
Dream Park is a 1981 novel written by Larry Niven and Steven Barnes set in a futuristic amusement park of the same name. It was nominated for the 1982 Locus Award and later expanded into a series of books: The Barsoom Project (1989), The California Voodoo Game (1992), The Moon Maze Game (2011).
Fate is a generic role-playing game system based on the Fudge gaming system. It has no fixed setting, traits, or genre and is customizable. It is designed to offer minimal obstruction to role-playing by assuming players want to make fewer dice rolls.
The history of role-playing games begins with an earlier tradition of role-playing, which combined with the rulesets of fantasy wargames in the 1970s to give rise to the modern role-playing game. A role-playing game (RPG) is a type of game in which the participants assume the roles of characters and collaboratively create stories. Participants determine the actions of their characters based on their characterization, and the actions succeed or fail according to a system of rules and guidelines. Within the rules, they may improvise freely; their choices shape the direction and outcome of the games.
Deliria: Faerie Tales for a New Millennium is an "interactive urban fantasy setting" created by Phil Brucato. The title refers to an altered state of awareness in which several levels of reality can be perceived at once, to both good and ill effect.
Role-playing game terms are words used in a specific sense (terms) in the context of role-playing games. This includes both terms used within RPGs to describe in-game concepts and terms used to describe RPGs. Role-playing games also have specialized slang jargon associated with them.
A role-playing game system is a set of game mechanics used in a role-playing game (RPG) to determine the outcome of a character's in-game actions.
Live action role-playing games, known as LARPs, are a form of role-playing game in which live players/actors assume roles as specific characters and play out a scenario in-character. Technically, many childhood games may be thought of as simple LARPs, as they often involve the assumption of character roles. However, the scope of this article concerns itself mainly with LARPing in a technical sense: the organized live-action role-playing games whose origins are closely related to the invention of tabletop role-playing games in America in the 1970s.
A party is a group of characters adventuring together in a role-playing game. In tabletop role-playing, a party is composed of a group of players, occasionally with the addition of non-player character allies controlled by those players or by the gamemaster. In computer games, the relationship between the party and the players varies considerably. Online role-playing games or MMORPG parties are often, in the above sense, of the same constituency as tabletop parties, except that the allies are always controlled to a lesser or greater extent by the computer AI. In single-player computer games, the player generally controls all party members to a varying degree.
A non-player character (NPC) is any character in a game which is not controlled by a player. The term originated in traditional tabletop role-playing games, where it applies to characters controlled by the gamemaster or referee, rather than another player. In video games, this usually means a character controlled by the computer via algorithmic, predetermined or responsive behavior, but not necessarily true artificial intelligence.
Western role-playing video games are role-playing video games developed in the Western world, including The Americas and Europe. They originated on mainframe university computer systems in the 1970s, were later popularized by titles such as Ultima and Wizardry in the early- to mid-1980s, and continue to be produced for modern home computer and video game console systems. The genre's "Golden Age" occurred in the mid- to late-1980s, and its popularity suffered a downturn in the mid-1990s as developers struggled to keep up with hardware changes and increasing development costs. A later series of isometric role-playing games, published by Interplay Productions and Blizzard Entertainment, was developed over a longer time period and set new standards of production quality.
Dungeon World is a fantasy tabletop roleplaying game created by Sage LaTorra and Adam Koebel. The game uses the Powered by the Apocalypse engine originally designed for Apocalypse World and used in Monsterhearts and other games. The game is advertised as having old school style with modern rules. The text of the game was released under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.
Powered by the Apocalypse (PbtA) is the name associated with a game system developed by Meguey Baker and Vincent Baker. This term is closely associated with role-playing game mechanics developed for the 2010 game Apocalypse World and later used for Dungeon World, Monsterhearts and numerous other RPGs.
Jason Morningstar is an award-winning indie role-playing game designer, publishing mostly through Bully Pulpit Games. Morningstar's games are often GM-less and about things going badly. Grey Ranks (2007), for example, is about doomed child soldiers in the 1944 Warsaw Uprising, and Fiasco (2009) is about impulsive crooks pulling heists that are sure to go terribly wrong. With these two games, Morningstar became the only named person to have won the Diana Jones award twice as of 2013. Morningstar also works with academia and industry, consulting on using games for teaching and learning in education, with a focus on health sciences.