RPG Museum
"However your group decides what happens in play, that's your system."Vincent Baker[1]

A system in a role-playing game is the way that players decide and agree on what happens in the fiction of the game.


The term system is used in different ways by different role-playing communities, from a very narrow interpretation (making system synonymous with the rules or game mechanics of a given game) to a very broad one that encompasses "[a]ll formal and informal rules, procedures, discussion, interactions and activities" by which players form a consensus about what happens in play. This broad definition is part of the Lumpley Principle.[2]

To complicate matters further, the term system is also used to describe a (sometimes generic) game engine that is used for multiple published games, e.g. the D20 System.


  1. Vincent Baker (2012-11-21). "Positioning: Some Looly Pooly Groundwork". anyway. Retrieved 2019-12-17.
  2. Emily Care Boss. "Terms". Black and Green Games. Retrieved 2019-12-17.