Role-playing game

Role-playing games are played in a wide variety of formats ranging from discussing character interaction in tabletop form to physically acting out characters inLARPto playing characters virtually in digital media.[14]There is also a great variety ofsystems of rulesandgame settings. Games that emphasize plot and character interaction over game mechanics and combat sometimes prefer the namestorytelling 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 atgaming conventions, or in standalone games that do not form part of a campaign.

(Tychsen 2006:76) The variety of role playing games makes it inherently challenging to provide a common definition. However, all forms of role playing games be they PnP RPGs, CRPGs, MMORPGs or LARPS – share a group of characteristics, which makes them identifiable from other types of games: storytelling with rules, control of fictional characters, a fictitious reality, usually the presence of a game master (or game engine), and at least one player.

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.

This format is often referred to simply as arole-playing game. To distinguish this form of RPG from other formats, theretronymstabletop role-playing gameorpen and paper role-playing gameare sometimes used, though neither a table nor pen and paper are strictly necessary.[6]

The Creation of Narrative in Tabletop Role-Playing Games

Role-playing gameat Curlie (based onDMOZ)

(Heliö 2004) Naturally, an off-game object does not actually transform into the object it is imagined as being in-game: for instance, if an airplane in the sky becomes a dragon in some larpers imaginations, it does not actually turn into a dragon and even the players do not actually think so. The group of players have a common contract stating how to behave in the situation, because they willingly share the games make-believe world. In order to sustain the agreed immersion, the dragons airplaneness should not in any case be directly voiced aloud.

Roleplayer redirects here. For the RPG magazine, seeRoleplayer (magazine).

A group playing a tabletop RPG. The GM is at left using a cardboardscreento hide dice rolls from the players.

Tabletop andpen-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.[15]Some outcomes are determined by the game system, and some are chosen by the GM.[16]

There are several forms of RPG. The original form, sometimes called thetabletop role-playing game(TRPG), is conducted through discussion, whereas inlive action role-playing games(LARP) players physically perform their characters actions.[5]In both of these forms, an arranger called agame master(GM) usually decides on the rules and setting to be used, acting as referee, while each of the other players plays the role of a single character.[6]

. Digital Games Research Association (DiGRA)

CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list

A live action roleplaying game is a cross between a traditional tabletop roleplaying game and improvisational theatre.

Both authors and major publishers of tabletop role-playing games consider them to be a form of interactive and collaborativestorytelling.[2][10][11]Events, characters, and narrative structure give a sense of a narrative experience, and the game need not have a strongly-defined storyline.[12]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.[13]Such role-playing games extend an older tradition ofstorytelling gameswhere a small party of friends collaborate to create a story.

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(Tychsen 2006:75) PnP RPGs are an example of interactive narratives. The rules and fictional worlds that form the basis for these games function as a vessel for collaborative, interactive storytelling. This is possibly the most important feature of PnP RPGs, and one that CRPGs have yet to reproduce.

A LARP is played more likeimprovisational theatre.[19]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.[5]Players are often costumed as their characters and use appropriate props, and the venue may be decorated to resemble the fictional setting.[20][21]Some live action role-playing games userock-paper-scissorsor comparison of attributes to resolve conflicts symbolically, while other LARPs use physical combat with simulated arms such asairsoft gunsorfoam weapons.[22]

Heliö, Satu (2004). Role-Playing: A Narrative Experience and a Mindset.

(Tychsen 2006:7879) The GM assumes a variety of responsibilities in PnP RPGs, depending on the playing style used, however, these normally include facilitation of game flow and game story, providing environmental content of the fictional reality, as well as administrating rules and arbitrating conflicts. … In RPGs, the rules specify a great deal more than how pieces are moved on a game board. Because these games are focused on player characters, the rules are designed to govern the nature of these story protagonists and the fictional reality they act in. … Note that the rules systems in PnP RPGs can be modified or ignored on the fly by the GM or players if so desired.

Second Person: Roleplaying and Story in Playable Media

Proceedings of DiGRA 2007 Conference: Situated Play

Media related toRole-playing gamesat Wikimedia Commons

…the participants sustain these temporary worlds for a few hours or several days

A roleplaying game is a storytelling game that has elements of the games of make-believe that many of us played as children.

(Tychsen 2005:218) CRPGs can be separated into single- and multiplayer categories…

Copier, Marinka (2005).Connecting Worlds. Fantasy Role-Playing Games, Ritual Acts and the Magic Circle

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.

(Tychsen 2006:77) In PnP RPGs, the general game process consists of information-feedback cycles between the players and the GM, or internally within the group.

Widing, Gabriel (2008). We Lost Our World and Made New Ones: Live Role-Playing in Modern Times. In Markus Montola, Jaakko Stenros.

CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)

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.

While simple forms of role-playing exist in traditional childrens games ofmake 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 ongoingplot. A consistent system of rules and a more or less realisticcampaign settingin games aidssuspension of disbelief. The level ofrealismin games ranges from just enough internal consistency to set up abelievable storyorcredible challengeup to full-blownsimulationsof real-world processes.

Tychsen, Anders; Hitchens, Michael; Brolund, Thea; Kavakli, Manolya (July 2006).Live Action Role-Playing Games: Control, Communication, Storytelling, and MMORPG Similarities.

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.

(Tychsen et al. 2006:255) In a computer RPG, the role of the GM is taken on (with varying degrees of success) by software.

(3): 333356.doi10.1525/si.2004.27.3.333. Archived fromthe original

Main article:Tabletop role-playing game

Falk, Jennica;Davenport, Glorianna(2004). Live Role-Playing Games: Implications for Pervasive Gaming.

(Heliö 2004) Still, we must note that there is no actual story in the game of the role-playing game, though there are events, characters and structures of narrativity giving the players the basis for interpreting it as a narrative. We have many partially open structures that we may fulfil with our imagination during the course of the game within its limitations. We also have the ability to follow different kinds of narrative premises and structures as well as imitate them for ourselves to create more authentic and suitable narrative experiences. We have the narrative desire to make pieces we interpret to relate to each other fit in, to construct the plot from recurring and parallel elements.

Arole-playing game(sometimes spelledroleplaying game[1][2]and abbreviated toRPG) is agamein which players assume the roles ofcharactersin a fictionalsetting. Players take responsibility for acting out these roles within a narrative, either through literalactingor through a process of structured decision-making of character development.[3]Actions taken within many games succeed or fail according to a formalsystem of rulesand guidelines.[4]

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.[34]

. Digital Games Research Association (DiGRA)

Wikipedia articles with LCCN identifiers

. Ropecon ry.ISBN978-952-92-3579-7.

The LRP player, like a stage actor, is a person who under-goes a transformation into a character. The characters 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.

Wikipedia articles with GND identifiers

Single player role-playing video games form a loosely defined genre of computer and console games with origins in role-playing games such asDungeons & Dragons, on which they base much of their terminology, settings, and game mechanics.[18]This translation changes the experience of the game, providing a visual representation of the world but emphasizing statistical character development over collaborative, interactive storytelling.[7][8]

. Interactivities Ink. p.1.ISBN0-9708356-0-4.

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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Tychsen, Anders; Newman, Ken; Brolund, Thea; Hitchens, Michael (2007).Cross-format analysis of the gaming experience in multi-player role-playing games

(PDF). Solmukohta.ISBN952-91-6843-8. Archived fromthe original

CRC PressISBN978-1-43986-524-8.

LARPs vary in size from a handful of players to several thousand, and in duration from a couple of hours to several days.[23][24]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.[25]

(Tychsen 2006:75) A major source of inspiration of computer games of all genres is role playing games. Being of a somewhat similar age as computer games, Pen and Paper Role Playing Games (PnP RPGs), a specialized form of table-top games (TTGs) involving multiple participants interacting in a fictional world, have influenced not only the Computer Role Playing Game (CRPG) genre [6], but virtually all types of computer games…

. Springer Berlin / Heidelberg. p.131.ISBN978-3-540-22947-6

Kilgallon, John; Sandy Antunes; Mike Young (2001).

Harrigan, Pat; Wardrip-Fruin, Noah (2007).

Text is available under the; additional terms may apply. By using this site, you agree to theTerms of UseandPrivacy Policy. Wikipedia® is a registered trademark of theWikimedia Foundation, Inc., a non-profit organization.

(Heliö 2004) Even if a game does not support active role-playing, as most of the massive multi-player online role-playing games fail to do (Dark Age of Camelot and others), experienced role-players may adopt the mindset and take advantage of the games communication functionalities, and start to role-play. This, however, requires the willing support or at least acceptance of the other players any one of us can act like a prince, but if the others wont play along, it does not constitute role-playing.

.Steve Jackson Games. 2004. pp.Chapter 1.

Entertainment Computing ICEC 2004

Not to be confused with other forms ofrole-playing.

Computer-assisted gamingcan 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.

But roleplaying is not purely educational. Its 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 theyre in the story.

This is the format in which role-playing games were first popularized. The first commercially available RPG,Dungeons & Dragons(D&D), was inspired byfantasy literatureand thewargaminghobby and was published in 1974.[17]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.[18]

(Tychsen et al. 2005:215-216) The areas for which a GM can be responsible, regardless of the game platform (PnP RPG, LARP, CRPG or MMOG), vary not only internally in games from each platform but also across platforms. A GM in a MMOG generally has different responsibilities than a GM in a PnP RPG.These differences can be related to a limited number of variables, such as the media of expression. In some tabletop role playing games, including Dungeons and Dragons, the GM is referred to as the Dungeon Master, or DM. The full range of possible responsibilities of GMs can be subdivided into the following five categories, which also cover the functions of automated storytelling engines: [Narrative flow, Rules, Engagement, Environment, Virtual world:]

Waskul, Dennis; Lust, Matt (2004).Role-Playing and Playing Roles: The Person, Player, and Persona in Fantasy Role-Playing

(Tychsen et al. 2006:258) Games range in size from a handful to more than 4,000 players

Dungeons and Desktops: The History of Computer Role-playing Games

Tabletop role-playing games have been translated into a variety of electronic formats.[26]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 asdndandDungeon. These early computer RPGs influenced all of electronic gaming, as well as spawning the role-playingvideo gamegenre.[18]Some authors divide digital role-playing games into two intertwined groups: single player games using RPG-style mechanics, and multiplayer games incorporating social interaction.[18][27][28]

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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.

(Tychsen et al. 2006:255) LARPs can be viewed as forming a distinct category of RPG because of two unique features: (a) The players physically embody their characters, and (b) the game takes place in a physical frame. Embodiment means that the physical actions of the player are regarded as those of the character. Whereas in a RPG played by a group sitting around a table, players describe the actions of their characters (e.g., I run to stand beside my friend)

. McFarland & Company. p.6.ISBN978-0-7864-4451-9.

Despite this variety of forms, some game forms such astrading card gamesandwargamesthat are related to role-playing games may not be included.Role-playingactivity may sometimes be present in such games, but it is not the primary focus.[9]The term is also sometimes used to describeroleplay simulationgames and exercises used in teaching, training, and academic research.

List of designers of role-playing games

.Wizards of the Coast. June 6, 2008. pp.Chapter 1.ISBN0-7869-4867-1.

Tychsen, Anders; Hitchens, Michael; Brolund, Thea; Kavakli, Manolya (2005).The Game Master.

Online text-based role-playing gamesinvolve many players using some type of text-based interface and an Internet connection to play an RPG. Games played in a real-time way includeMUDsMUSHes, and other varieties ofMU*. Games played in a turn-based fashion includeplay-by-mail gamesandplay-by-post games.

Proceedings of DiGRA 2005 Conference: Changing Views–Worlds in Play

. MIT University Press.ISBN87.

. New Riders Publishing. p.163.ISBN978-0-13-146099-7.

responsible for keeping the narrative flow. The GM can however oversee the progress of the game and help or influence where needed… Establishing a hierarchy of GMs and NPCs to monitor the game and ensure everyone is entertained and activated within the shared game space is a typical way of controlling large fantasy LARPS. This structure is usually established before the game commences.

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.

. Creativity and Cognition Studios Press. p.218

Tychsen, Anders (2006).Role Playing Games Comparative Analysis Across Two Media Platforms. Proceedings of the 3rd Australasian conference on Interactive entertainment. Australia. pp.7582.

. Lecture Notes in Computer Science.

List of role-playing games by genre

Eladhari, Mirjam P; Mateas, Michael (2009).Rules for role play in Virtual Game Worlds Case study: The Pataphysic Institute: 1

Yee, N. (2006). The Demographics, Motivations and Derived Experiences of Users of Massively-Multiuser Online Graphical Environments. PRESENCE: Teleoperators and Virtual Environments, 15, 309-329.

Massively multiplayer online role-playing games(MMORPGs) combine the large-scale social interaction andpersistent worldof 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.[29]The majority of players in MMORPGs do not engage in role-play in this sense.[30]

List of publishers of role-playing games

(Heliö 2004) In the family of role-playing games there are also a whole bunch of other game types and game-like activities that can be included or excluded, like the collectible card games (such as Magic: The Gathering) and board and strategy games (like Warhammer 40.000), or different forms of theatrical and larp-like combinations, such as fate-play. The action of role-playing is usually somehow present in these game forms, but the focus can be more either in the competitive nature of the game (MtG, Warhammer), or in the immersive performance (as in fate-play), than in role-playing itself.

(Tychsen et al. 2005:218) [The LARP GM is] forced to let go of the game and let it take on a life of its own outside his or her control. While based on similar principles, the requirements [are] therefore very different in practice from GMs in PnP RPGs… The GM is generally, unless the LARP is small in terms of number of participants,

.White Wolf Publishing. 1994. pp.Chapter 1.ISBN1-56504-112-7.

The Second Australasian Conference on Interactive Entertainment

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.

(Tychsen et al. 2005:216) The environment needs to be filled out with non-player controlled characters (NPCs)

(Tychsen et al. 2005:218) CRPGs can be separated into … those few who have incorporated a GM toolkit instead of a fully automated storytelling engine. … In PnP RPGs and LARPs all lines of normal human communication are available: Speech, Emotion and Body Language (Figure 3). In CRPGs and MMOGs, they become narrowed down due to technical limitations, albeit with the added feature of Scripting as a means of communications. Additionally, contemporary game engines do not allow for on-the-fly updating of the game world and generation of new content in reaction to the actions of the player-controlled avatars (or characters in PnP RPG terminology).

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.[31]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 thegame engine. However some multi-player video RPGs also allow for a participant to take on a GM role through a visual interface called aGM toolkit, albeit with abilities limited by the available technology.[32][33]

(Copier 2005:3) …fantasy role-playing as a commercial product was developed in the 1970s as Dungeons and Dragons (D&D, 1974) by Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson. The game was based on a combination of their interests in table-top wargaming and literary fantasy.

This page was last edited on 5 July 2018, at 00:03

Werewolf: The Apocalypse(2nd Edition)

. Interactivities Ink. pp.78.ISBN0-9708356-8-X.

Rules to Live by: A Live Action Roleplaying Conflict Resolution System

Several varieties of RPG also exist in electronic media, such as multi-playerand their graphics-based successors,massively multiplayer online role-playing games(MMORPGs). Role-playing games also include single-playerrole-playing video gamesin which players control a character or team who undertake quests, and may include capabilities that advance using statistical mechanics. These games often share settings and rules with tabletop RPGs, but emphasize character advancement more than collaborative storytelling.[7][8]

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