Play is the activity of participating in a role-playing game. Someone who engages in play is a player. In a wider context, it can mean any activity that someone engages in for enjoyment or recreation (an alternative to work), but in the tabletop role-playing game hobby it is often used specifically for activity at the table (distinguishing it from, e.g., prep done between sessions).
Play can include:
- narration (including role-playing and making decisions on behalf of a character);
- engaging with rules (including referring to rulebooks, following procedures, rolling dice, etc.); and
- non-game social activity (including table chatter).
Character creation and related admin (such as leveling up) may be considered a type of play, but the term can be used informally in a way that excludes these (e.g. "Once character creation is finished, we'll start to play the game").