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New wave role-playing games are the heirs to what the old school role-playing games started. Some commonalities of the new wave are:

  • Narrative structure is just as important as mechanical aspects of the game
  • There is a strong tendency toward unified mechanics instead of numerous special cases
  • Options to depart from the central narrative are freely offered.
  • A raised bar in terms of layout, graphics, and editing.

Ancestors of the new wave include GURPS, Shadowrun, and Star Wars. The new wave begins in earnest, however, with Vampire: The Masquerade, notable for turning goths into gamers and gamers into goths.

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