A Role-Playing Game (sometimes spelled roleplaying game and abbreviated to RPG) is a game in which players assume the roles of characters in a fictional setting.
- Players take responsibility for acting out these roles within a narrative, either through literal acting or through a process of structured decision-making of character development.
- Actions taken within many games succeed or fail according to a formal system of rules and guidelines.
There are several forms of RPG. The original form, sometimes called the tabletop role-playing game (TRPG), is conducted through discussion, whereas in live action role-playing games (LARP) players physically perform their characters' actions. In both of these forms, an arranger called a referee or game master (GM) usually decides on the rules and setting to be used, acting as referee, while each of the other players plays the role of a single character.
Several varieties of RPG also exist in electronic media, such as multi-player text-based MUDs and their graphics-based successors, massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs). Role-playing games also include single-player role-playing video games in which players control a character or team who undertake quests, and may include capabilities that advance using statistical mechanics. These games often share settings and rules with tabletop RPGs, but emphasize character advancement more than collaborative storytelling.
Despite this variety of forms, some game forms such as trading card games and wargames that are related to role-playing games may not be included. Role-playing activity may sometimes be present in such games, but it is not the primary focus. The term is also sometimes used to describe roleplay simulation games and exercises used in teaching, training, and academic research.
The history of role-playing games begins with an earlier tradition of role-playing, which combined with the rulesets of fantasy wargames in the 1970s to give rise to the modern role-playing game. A role-playing game (RPG) is a type of game in which the participants assume the roles of characters and collaboratively create stories. Participants determine the actions of their characters based on their characterization, and the actions succeed or fail according to a system of rules and guidelines. Within the rules, they may improvise freely; their choices shape the direction and outcome of the games.
Role-playing games are substantially different from competitive games such as ball games and card games. This has led to confusion among some non-players about the nature of fantasy gaming. The game Dungeons & Dragons was a subject of controversy in the 1980s when well-publicized opponents claimed it caused negative spiritual and psychological effects. Academic research has discredited these claims. Some educators support role-playing games as a healthy way to hone reading and arithmetic skills. Though role-playing has been accepted by some, a few religious organizations continue to object.
Media attention both increased sales and stigmatized certain games. In thirty years the genre has grown from a few hobbyists and boutique publishers to an economically significant part of the games industry, though grass-roots and small business involvement remains substantial. Games industry company Hasbro purchased fantasy game publisher Wizards of the Coast in 1998 for an estimated $325 million.
References & Contributors (Sources)
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