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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 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 of character development. Actions taken within many games succeed or fail according to a formal system of rules and guidelines.
An adventure is either a published or otherwise written collection of plot, character, and location details used by a gamemaster to manage the plot or story in a role-playing game. Each adventure is based upon a particular gaming genre and is normally designed for use with a specific game or gaming system. However, skilled gamemasters can often convert an adventure to different game systems, and many adventures are designed with such conversions in mind.
In some role-playing games, armor class is a derived statistic that indicates how difficult it is to land a successful blow on a character with an attack. It represents either a character's protective equipment, ability to dodge attacks, or a combination of the two.
In role-playing games, a campaign is a continuing storyline or set of adventures, typically involving the same characters. The purpose of the continuing storyline is to introduce a further aspect into the game: that of development, improvement, and growth of the characters. In a campaign, a single session becomes a scene or an act within an overall story arc. At its inception, a campaign may or may not have a defined conclusion. A campaign by definition spans more than one session of play. Certain aspects of the game are nearly always constant throughout a campaign: the campaign setting, the players, and the gamemaster. The gamemaster for a campaign is said to run the campaign.
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.
A non-player character (NPC), also known as a non-playable character, is any character in a game which is not controlled by a 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. In traditional tabletop role-playing games, the term applies to characters controlled by the gamemaster or referee, rather than another player.
Dungeons & Dragons is a fantasy tabletop role-playing game (RPG) originally designed by Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson. It was first published in 1974 by Tactical Studies Rules, Inc. (TSR). The game has been published by Wizards of the Coast since 1997. It was derived from miniature wargames with a variation of Chainmail serving as the initial rule system. D&D's publication is commonly recognized as the beginning of modern role-playing games and the role-playing game industry.
A gamemaster's screen, also called a GM's screen although most commonly referred as the screen, is a gaming accessory, usually made out of cardboard, used by the gamemaster to hide all the relevant data related to a tabletop role-playing game session, hiding them from the players in order to not spoil the plot of the story.
In most tabletop role-playing games an initiative system determines in which order player characters and non-player characters take their actions, to avoid confusion on when a character gets to act. These derive from RPGs roots in tabletop wargaming, where similar systems are used. Rules for initiative vary from game to game, but often follow one of a few common methods.
Metagaming is a term used in role-playing games, which describes a player's use of real-life knowledge concerning the state of the game to determine their character's actions, when said character has no relevant knowledge or awareness under the circumstances. This can refer to plot information in the game such as secrets or events occurring away from the character, as well as facets of the game's mechanics such as abstract statistics or the precise limits of abilities. Metagaming is an example of "breaking character", as the character is making decisions based on information they couldn't know and thus would not make in reality.
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.
GNS theory is an informal field of study developed by Ron Edwards which attempts to create a unified theory of how role-playing games work. Focused on player behavior, in GNS theory participants in role-playing games organize their interactions around three categories of engagement: gamism, narrativism and simulation.
In role-playing games (RPG), a character class is a job or profession commonly used to differentiate the abilities of different game characters. A character class aggregates several abilities and aptitudes, and may also detail aspects of background and social standing, or impose behavior restrictions. Classes may be considered to represent archetypes, or specific careers. RPG systems that employ character classes often subdivide them into levels of accomplishment, to be attained by players during the course of the game. It is common for a character to remain in the same class for its lifetime; although some games allow characters to change class, or attain multiple classes. Some systems eschew the use of classes and levels entirely; others hybridise them with skill-based systems or emulate them with character templates.
A dungeon crawl is a type of scenario in fantasy role-playing games in which heroes navigate a labyrinthine environment, battling various monsters, and looting any treasure they may find. Because of its simplicity, a dungeon crawl can be easier for a gamemaster to run than more complex adventures, and the "hack and slash" style of play is appreciated by players who focus on action and combat. The term can be used in a pejorative sense, since dungeon crawls often lack meaningful plot or logical consistency. The parody game Munchkin is about "the essence of the dungeon experience… Kill the monsters, steal the treasure, stab your buddy."
Alternity is a science fiction role-playing game (RPG) published by TSR in 1998. Following the acquisition of TSR by Wizards of the Coast, the game was discontinued in 2000 as part of a broader rationalisation of TSR's business holdings, but it retains a small and devoted fanbase. Parts of Alternity as well as TSR's classic Star Frontiers game have been incorporated into the d20 Modern game, especially the d20 Future setting. The first campaign setting for the Alternity game, the Star*Drive setting, was introduced in 1998.
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.
The monk is a playable character class in most editions of the Dungeons & Dragons fantasy role-playing game. A D&D monk is a fantasy martial artist, specializing in unarmed combat.
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.
The Dungeons & Dragons Basic Set is a set of rulebooks for the Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) fantasy role-playing game. First published in 1977, it saw a handful of revisions and reprintings. The first edition was written by J. Eric Holmes based on Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson's original work. Later editions were edited by Tom Moldvay, Dave Cook, and Frank Mentzer.
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.
Dungeon Masters Screen is an accessory for the Dungeons & Dragons fantasy role-playing game.
BASH! is a popular superhero role-playing game written by Chris Rutkowsky and published by Basic Action Games. The game system is designed to allow players to create virtually any type of hero or villain desired.