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Role-playing game

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A role-playing game (RPG) is a type of game where players assume the role of a fictional character. Characters gain various abilities based on gameplay and typically involving the use of several statistics (such as strength, dexterity, intelligence, charm, etc.), which may in some game systems be advanced. The term is used for two distinct types of game. One is typically a pen-and-paper game played with dice by several people. The term is also used as a name for a genre of video games featuring similar gameplay concepts. See Role-playing game (video games) for more information.

In pen and paper RPGs, participants play the parts of characters in an imaginary world that usually is organized, adjudicated, and sometimes created by the gamemaster, usually with the support of rules, simple or complex. Some newer RPGs expand the players' powers beyond dictating the actions of their player characters, making them "mini-GMs". At the most radical, an RPG may have rapidly rotating GM duties, or no GM at all. See also role playing.

Many roleplaying games use a common bestiary of creatures which are easily recognizable.

Table of contents

History Of course, interactive and impromptu dramas have included elements of play long before the advent of modern wargames -- the children's games of "Playing House" or "Cowboys and Indians" are in essence very simple role-playing games.

Modern RPGs evolved from wargaming roots in the early 1970s. Where a marker or miniature once typically represented a squad of soldiers (although "skirmish level" games did exist where one figure represented one entity only), in early proto-RPGs each token invariably represented a single character. Each player controlled the actions of that one character. The first edition rules of Dungeons & Dragons (abbreviated as D&D) betray these roots in the use of a distance scale of one inch per ten feet (or ten yards, outdoors). D&D is considered the first modern role-playing game, and it has influenced nearly every RPG produced since its inception in 1974.

Starting from the early days of RPGs there were accusations of connections to devil worship, as well as claims that RPGs lead to suicide. This may have been caused by the ability of some roleplaying characters to cast imaginary "magical spells." These accusations continued into the 1980s and, with lesser frequency, into the 1990s.

RPGs were originally played on a tabletop, because they involved paper, dice, and, often, miniatures or tokens of some kind. From these origins, RPGs have evolved in different directions. Some RPG rules systems are complex and attempt to be realistic simulations; other rules systems place a priority on game balance or on personality, character development, and storytelling. Today, there are RPG games for computer and video game systems. Nowadays, there are MMORPGs, or Massive Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games, which are large RPGs played over the Internet.

Types of RPGs

The term "role-playing game" can be applied to a number of distinct genres:

Popular RPGs

Fantasy Genre

Near-Future Genre

Science Fiction Genre

Horror Genre

Satiric Genre

Universal Roleplaying Systems


Notable RPG Developers and Publishers

See Also

RPG.NET, MUD, MUSH, MUX[?], false document, storytelling game, WorldForge, letter games, system agnostic, role-playing bestiary

External Links

The Attacks on Role-Playing Games - While diminishing in frequency, attacks on role-playing games are still popular with the mass media (http://www.rpgstudies.net/cardwell/attacks)

Dark Dungeons (http://www.chick.com/reading/tracts/0046/0046_01.asp) - a pamphlet from Chick Publications that brings together the claims of suicide and devil worship

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