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A definition of a role-playing game:
 
A definition of a role-playing game:
   
1. A role-playing game takes the form of a narration, with play consisting of a series of logically connected events.
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# A role-playing game takes the form of a narration, with play consisting of a series of logically connected events.
2. Critical game decisions are made collaboratively by using a set of rules.
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# Critical game decisions are made collaboratively by using a set of rules.
3. At least one player takes on the role of a specific character, making decisions as if that character.
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# At least one player takes on the role of a specific character, making decisions as if that character.
4. Any possible action that could be taken by a character can be adjudicated within the immersive framework of the game.
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# Any possible action that could be taken by a character can be adjudicated within the immersive framework of the game.
   
 
Variations:
 
Variations:
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In an improvisational game, criterion one is not present. An example would be a theatre game in which participants had to act out characters called out by an MC or the audience.
 
In an improvisational game, criterion one is not present. An example would be a theatre game in which participants had to act out characters called out by an MC or the audience.
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In make-believe, criterion two is not present. Decisions are made using standard social conventions. Cops and robbers and freeform LARP are make-believe games.
 
In make-believe, criterion two is not present. Decisions are made using standard social conventions. Cops and robbers and freeform LARP are make-believe games.
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In a narrative game, the third criterion is not present. Players are narrating about characters, not as them. Once Upon a Time is a game like this; you can tell a story about just about anything, but you are not truly any one character within the game.
 
In a narrative game, the third criterion is not present. Players are narrating about characters, not as them. Once Upon a Time is a game like this; you can tell a story about just about anything, but you are not truly any one character within the game.
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In a traditional game, the fourth criterion is not present. If there is no rule for it, you cannot attempt it. An example would be a board game, or a storytelling game that allowed only certain kinds of actions or decisions. Talisman is a game like this, as is the Baron Munchausen Role-playing Game (despite the name).
 
In a traditional game, the fourth criterion is not present. If there is no rule for it, you cannot attempt it. An example would be a board game, or a storytelling game that allowed only certain kinds of actions or decisions. Talisman is a game like this, as is the Baron Munchausen Role-playing Game (despite the name).
   
Note that since role-playing games include all the elements, they may at time incorporate other modes. But all the role-playing criteria have to be present at least some of the time to be a true role-playing game. At times, players might participate in a narrative mode; this is called meta-gaming. Traditional game elements come into play when the rules specify the kinds of results from specific actions. Some parts of role-playing require few rules; this is often described as immersion, and operates in the make-believe mode. Role-playing games often emphasize decisions or action more than continuity; when narration becomes disconnected or unimportant, the game might be described as beer-and-pretzels, gonzo, hack-and-slash, or surrealist.
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Note that since role-playing games include all the elements, they may at time incorporate other modes. But all the role-playing criteria have to be present at least some of the time to be a true role-playing game. At times, players might participate in a narrative mode; this is called meta-gaming. Traditional game elements come into play when the rules specify the kinds of results from specific actions. Some parts of role-playing require few rules; this is often described as [[immersion]], and operates in the make-believe mode. Role-playing games often emphasize decisions or action more than continuity; when narration becomes disconnected or unimportant, the game might be described as [[beer-and-pretzels]], gonzo, [[hack-and-slash]], or [[surrealism|surrealism]].
   
 
[[Category:Role-playing game terms]]
 
[[Category:Role-playing game terms]]

Revision as of 21:26, May 7, 2008

RPG Talk is about role-playing games, specific, traditional pen-and-paper role-playing games such as Dungeons and Dragons.

A definition of a role-playing game:

  1. A role-playing game takes the form of a narration, with play consisting of a series of logically connected events.
  2. Critical game decisions are made collaboratively by using a set of rules.
  3. At least one player takes on the role of a specific character, making decisions as if that character.
  4. Any possible action that could be taken by a character can be adjudicated within the immersive framework of the game.

Variations:

In an improvisational game, criterion one is not present. An example would be a theatre game in which participants had to act out characters called out by an MC or the audience.

In make-believe, criterion two is not present. Decisions are made using standard social conventions. Cops and robbers and freeform LARP are make-believe games.

In a narrative game, the third criterion is not present. Players are narrating about characters, not as them. Once Upon a Time is a game like this; you can tell a story about just about anything, but you are not truly any one character within the game.

In a traditional game, the fourth criterion is not present. If there is no rule for it, you cannot attempt it. An example would be a board game, or a storytelling game that allowed only certain kinds of actions or decisions. Talisman is a game like this, as is the Baron Munchausen Role-playing Game (despite the name).

Note that since role-playing games include all the elements, they may at time incorporate other modes. But all the role-playing criteria have to be present at least some of the time to be a true role-playing game. At times, players might participate in a narrative mode; this is called meta-gaming. Traditional game elements come into play when the rules specify the kinds of results from specific actions. Some parts of role-playing require few rules; this is often described as immersion, and operates in the make-believe mode. Role-playing games often emphasize decisions or action more than continuity; when narration becomes disconnected or unimportant, the game might be described as beer-and-pretzels, gonzo, hack-and-slash, or surrealism.

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