Talk:Role-playing game

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New scope of article[edit]

I've been (mildly) bold and implemented the split of content to role-playing game (pen and paper) and the change in scope of this article to a summary article of all types of role-playing games, as agreed to in the mediation. The problem with everyone editing a draft and then moving the content to the live article is that some attribution of content to editors in the history would be lost, which would violate Wikipedia's licensing requirements (see WP:SPLIT). Wikipedia is always a work in progress, so let's get on with the changes in mainspace. Material from the draft can be copied across now - I suggest editors copy their own edits across, to maintain attribution. Ryan Paddy (talk) 19:41, 31 December 2009 (UTC)

I thought it was possible for admins to perform history merges to allow us to do drafts - is that not the case? Percy Snoodle (talk) 17:11, 1 January 2010 (UTC)
I've moved over the electronic media section. The only other substantial portion is the Tychsen definition of Role-playing games. If we can get a Definitions section going, it could be included:
Tychsen (2006) [1] states "The variety of role playing games makes it inherently challenging to provide a common definition. However, all forms of role playing games – be they PnP RPGs, CRPGs, MMORPGs or LARPS - share a group of characteristics, which makes them identifiable from other types of games": storytelling with rules, control of fictional characters, a fictitious reality, usually the presence of a game master (or game engine), and at least one player.
I've redirected the draft to this talk page.--Trystan (talk) 19:13, 2 January 2010 (UTC)
Part of a series on
Role-playing video games
Role-playing video game icon.svg

I think about half the content in the "Part of a Series on RPG Video Games portal (to the right) should get folded into the new article and the rest should be available as part of the structure of articles that support the main one. Specifically, a lot of the content in:

Should be summarized and added, IMO. ɳoɍɑfʈ Talk! 20:34, 2 January 2010 (UTC)

That "cultural differences" article looks pretty awful. It only cites four sources, and the differences mentioned in those sources can be summed up in a couple of sentences. It doesn't appear to warrant a whole article, and it's too fine detail to be worth discussing in this overview article. Ryan Paddy (talk) 23:58, 5 January 2010 (UTC)
I have put Computer RPG and Console RPGs up for AfD. While they have yet to be closed, the consensus seems to be leaning toward merge, however I believe much of that info is synthesis or blatant original research based on east/west devivde after the video game crash of 1981. With that I think the cultural article needs looking at. I've added an OR tag to see if that gets anyone to add some sources, if not we should probably merge that into a section within Role-playing video games.Jinnai 21:22, 9 January 2010 (UTC)

"Original sense" of role-playing in lead[edit]

Would it be possible to update the lede to explain what the phrase "role-playing in the term's original sense" means? I don't think it explains much to a reader unfamilliar with the topic of RPGs. Copier, for instance, uses the phrase "the construction of game/play space and identities" which is a little too high-level, but gives an idea of the distinction being drawn.-Trystan (talk) 16:10, 4 January 2010 (UTC),

It might be made clearer if the lead section's paragraph breaks (and perhaps even the article) reflected the distinction between roleplaying-as-playing-of-role and roleplaying-as-statistical-improvement, rather than a not-computer/computer split; that way, it would be clear that the sentence refers back to the previous paragraph. Perhaps something like this:
In the original sense of the term, one specially designated player, the game master (GM), creates the setting in which each of the other players plays the role of a single character, and acts as referee. One form of role-playing game, sometimes called "pen-and-paper", is conducted like radio drama: only the spoken component is acted. In live action games (LARP), players perform their characters' physical actions. Several varieties of RPG exist in electronic media, including text-based MUDs and their graphics-based successors, massively multiplayer online role-playing games. At the heart of each of these formats is in-character participation in a collaborative narrative.
The term is also used to describe video games using character progression mechanics first developed in pen-and-paper RPGs, though these games do not involve role-playing in the term's original sense.
That way, the different varieties are collected by game experience, rather than by the medium through which they are played. Percy Snoodle (talk) 16:23, 4 January 2010 (UTC)
I like that change - IanCheesman (talk) 17:49, 4 January 2010 (UTC)
The sources do discuss role-playing in MMOs and MUDs, but they also describe them as vessels for "roll-playing", focussing more on the mechanics. While RP has been studied in online games, I don't think the sources justify saying that it is at the heart of them. They are the excluded middle that makes it impossible to draw a clear split between CRPGs and games of collaborative narrative. Perhaps we could incorporate some of that discussion from the articles into the lede?-Trystan (talk) 18:20, 4 January 2010 (UTC)
Perhaps we should replace "At the heart of each of these formats is in-character participation in a collaborative narrative" with something weaker but defensible like "The feature linking these formats is in-character participation", and then discuss what their "heart" is in the Purpose section. We could then expand the CRPG paragraph so it begins by describing avatar-control gameplay and explain that they're linked to some games from the other formats by their shared combat mechanics; that would balance the lead up a little. Also, given that its main article is RPG theory, should we rename the Purpose section to "Theory"? Percy Snoodle (talk) 18:50, 4 January 2010 (UTC)

If we're talking about the original sense of "role-playing game", we need citations per WP:V. It's a controversial subject. I recall hearing that Gygax spoke out against players getting really into role-playing their characters - I think he really was more focussed on the game aspect. Given that D&D was not so far removed from its wargame roots, I think it's better to talk about what the various forms of RPGs have in common today, which is something we have sources for. Ryan Paddy (talk) 18:51, 5 January 2010 (UTC)

I agree that we need more cites in this lead. The reading I've done on it seems to indicate that computer RPGs and tabletop RPGs were both first recognized in 1974, and as Ryan Paddy mentioned, neither involved or promoted an actor style of character play. It is difficult to justify one particular modern notion of role-playing as being the original. --The Yar (talk) 11:51, 29 June 2010 (UTC)

well computer/video game RPGs have been an even more contriviersial subject as many do not even consider them true RPGs.Jinnai 15:12, 29 June 2010 (UTC)
I think we got rid of the "original sense" text back in January, now the only mention of originality is that tabletop was the original form, which I gather is correct? The only thing that trips me up in the lead now is "At the heart of these formats is in-character participation in a collaborative narrative" which seems questionable and in need of a reference. It's dubious whether D&D was originally intended to create a narrative or support in-character participation. You'd have to use very loose definitions of both narrative and IC participation for those things to describe early dungeon-crawling, which would make that sentence pointless. In fact, I suspect early dungeon-crawling was exactly like typical modern World of Warcraft dungeon-crawling in terms of lack of narrative and IC play, certainly that's how people I know used to play it and how I gather Gygax preferred it.
Personally, I find the attempt in the lead to differentiate between tabletop, larp, multi-player CRPGs and single-player RPGs on the basis of what is "at the heart" of them a bit inaccurate. More accurately, each of these mediums has greater or lessor support for improvised narrative and IC play, and various cultures exist that use each medium in a different way. So it's true to say that single-player CRPGs have very poor support for IC play and especially for improvised narrative, and it's true to say that most MMORPG players don't do IC play. But it's not true to say that tabletop and larp have IC participation in a collaborative narrative "at their hearts", and to imply that all CRPGs don't. That's a fuzzy over-generalisation based on stereotypes. Ryan Paddy (talk) 22:46, 29 June 2010 (UTC)

I also have some problems with statements that allude to a lack of collaborative storytelling in video game RPGs. It is my sense that certain video games are called RPGs precisely because instead of playing out a single pre-defined narrative, the player devises and plays their own role or roles within the game, resulting in a collaboration between player and designer to create a unique version of the story that is likely a significantly different narrative than what other players went through or perhaps even significantly different from anything the designer specifically envisioned. It is the player's significant, original actualization of a particular role (regardless of whether they dramatize speech and/or actions of a detailed character, or simply make decisions like a mage because their role is a mage), and not necessarily real-time dramatic collaboration with others, that is at the heart of role-playing. However you look at it, I don't see how a player and GM in D&D are doing any more collaborative storytelling than a game designer and player of a similar offline CRPG. Of course I don't intend to cite my own opinions in order to change the article. The cite as it stand seems to be a web page that looks like it was written based off of the previous version of this wiki article; does anyone know of a good source for other cites? On the previous talk page I cited a published book that defined CRPGs as RPGs with a game engine as the GM. I need to find that one again. --The Yar (talk) 18:06, 30 June 2010 (UTC)

I decided to make a few sourced edits to balance these statements rather than to remove them altogher. --The Yar (talk) 21:27, 1 July 2010 (UTC)

John H Kim sources[edit]

I don't think the John Kim sources meet the definition of WP:reliable sources. They're all from a self-published website. I think we should be replacing these sources with reliable sources, which we now have quite a number of listed above. Ryan Paddy (talk) 19:00, 5 January 2010 (UTC)

I agree. --The Yar (talk) 22:27, 30 June 2010 (UTC)


Does anyone have a reliable source for the history of pen and paper RPGs? It would be good to sum it up in a couple of sentences. There's a whole article on the subject (History of role-playing games) but it's not very well sourced. There's a multi-part history article on Places to Go, People to Be but I'd like to get beyond web sources like fanzines and self-published articles and rely more on better sources like journal articles and books from reputable publishers. Does anyone have the books Shared fantasy: Role playing games as social worlds or The fantasy role-playing game: A new performing art? Do they have history sections that we can quote? Ryan Paddy (talk) 01:08, 7 January 2010 (UTC)

Wow, you guys have done a great job restructuring the RPG article since I last visited! Kudos for the long journey. You might check out 30 Years of Dungeons and Dragons, which talks at some length about the transition from the wargame to the first RPG (D&D). --Alkah3st (talk) 19:35, 16 January 2010 (UTC)
Is that this book by Vin Diesel? ;) What would be really good is a book or magazine/journal article that doesn't focus on one game, but talks about the spread and diversification of tabletop RPGs in general, starting with the origins in the 70s and hitting some key points like licensed games, the sudden popularity of Vampire in the 90s, the remaking and resurgence of D&D, and the indie movement. Those are the kinds of stand-out points I think we should be hitting in this brief summary, but reliable sources with that broad a perspective seem to be lacking. Ryan Paddy (talk) 22:49, 17 January 2010 (UTC)
Vin Diesel didn't write the book, just the forward to it (although that alone was enough to blow my mind when I first read it). That book actually came to my mind as a good start for a reliable source, although of course it's all TSR/WotC and it would be biased toward D&D and other products from that company. A couple of potential sources:
Those are the best books I could find with a quick search that seemed to devote some time discussing the history of P&P RPGs. Most books I found dealt with computer RPGs (especially online ones), and most of the ones that dealt with P&P RPGs didn't really go into the history of them, but instead the social interactions between players and the psychology of role-playing. -- Atama 17:02, 18 January 2010 (UTC)
Are there any editors who own one of these books and are able to summarise the history of tabletop RPGs given in them? I've been searching the first one on Google Books but can't find the history stuff (it may not be available in the limited preview), and the second one has no preview at all. Ryan Paddy (talk) 19:05, 18 January 2010 (UTC)
Amazon actually has a preview for the second book, similar to the previews at Google Books. Unfortunately, all that I could glean from it is that the History chapter begins at page 17 and ends at page 35, we can't actually read that chapter in the preview (the only chapter you can read is an unhelpful one that has a directory of comic book superhero-based RPGs).
The first book has a very short section devoted to the history of RPGs, specifically its evolution from wargames. On Google Books, if you start at page 13 and read through page 17 you'll see that Mackay starts with the 1811 game he calls War Chess, continuing with the HG Wells game Little Wars, then going into what is considered the first actual RPG, D&D. This seems like a good bit to mine for references. -- Atama 19:23, 18 January 2010 (UTC)


The Purpose section in this article is confusing and out-of-place. It is only talking about a very specific subset of RPGs (as the sources clearly indicate), but extrapolates these statements as if they were the purpose of the entire RPG article. Furthermore, the sources appear to be purposefully hand-picked from a collection of opinion pieces that collectively contradict one another and do not present any clear facts. Does this need a "Purpose" section? What purpose is being served here? At the least, it should be cleaned up with more reliable sources and more accurate and general summaries of the facts presented in those sources. --The Yar (talk) 12:58, 1 July 2010 (UTC)

The whole article used to be almost entirely about tabletop RPGs. We moved all that content to Role-playing game (pen and paper), but an editor moved Purpose back here. I think it's a good idea to have a purpose section in this article, but agree that the existing one is poorly referenced in terms of roleplaying games in general. Ryan Paddy (talk) 19:34, 1 July 2010 (UTC)


I'm going to delete this line. "However, they are not considered true narratives like novels or films as there is no actual story within a role-playing game."

This is too strongly stated. An RPG system doesn't include a story, but game sessions do unless they're randomized or improvised. D&D modules or video game RPGs almost always include a story, for instance. And just two sentences later the article itself says: "Whereas a viewer of a television show is a passive observer, a player at a role-playing game makes choices that affect the story."

I weakened this to "... the game need not have a strongly-defined storyline"

--Mujokan (talk) 17:36, 11 August 2010 (UTC)

I think this is a reasonable change. It would be nice to have some more sources around RPGs and narrative, and the purpose of RPGs. Ryan Paddy (talk) 23:38, 11 August 2010 (UTC)

See also[edit]

Do we need a link to Polish role-playing games next to Japanese role-playing games ? I don't see first one's relevance. (talk) 10:48, 12 August 2010 (UTC)

Both should be removed. They're already listed under Role-playing game (pen and paper) and that's where they belong, not here. Ryan Paddy (talk) 00:35, 13 August 2010 (UTC)


There's an article about defining role-playing games in the second edition of the International Journal of Role-Playing Games, which has just been released. Accessable here: - there is some good material and sources in this which may be useful for this article. In particular, I think it would be helpful to summarise various common aspects of RPGs such as Game Word and Characters in this article, as we currently do with Gamemaster. Ryan Paddy (talk) 19:54, 7 April 2011 (UTC)


I believe there was brief talk was on RPVG if i remember before someone realized that the article was not about video game rpgs.Jinnai 22:38, 11 April 2011 (UTC)

The tag has been there for months, but there is no ongoing discussion about a possible merge. The purpose of the tag is to draw attention to a discussion that's underway, but there isn't one. Also, Japanese role-playing game certainly shouldn't be merged to this article. If anything it could be merged to Role-playing game (pen and paper). This article is about role-playing games in general, and covers computer RPGs, MMORPGS, larps, and tabletop RPGs. JRPGs are specifically a type of tabletop RPG. Ryan Paddy (talk) 03:28, 12 April 2011 (UTC)

The Dungeon Masters[edit]

This is a fairly obscure doc, but it documents numerous aspects of dnd and rpg culture. I think it needs to be mentioned, either in the "see also" or elsewhere. It doesnt have much online to support it being given a paragraph, though. (ps its really moving, pps im not the director)(mercurywoodrose) (talk) 06:02, 17 May 2011 (UTC)

Proposed move of "Role-playing game (pen and paper)"[edit]

I've proposed to move Role-playing game (pen and paper) to Tabletop role-playing game. Please comment on the talk page with your support or opposition and reasons. Ryan Paddy (talk) 20:19, 25 June 2011 (UTC)

Non-massive multiplayer roleplaying games[edit]

I feel there's a gap needing to be filled between MUDs and MMORPGs in terms of the online multiplayer RPGs that cannot be labelled massive. Even if it only consists in the Neverwinter Nights series of games (as I'm aware), I feel it deserves mentioning and linked to, considering the major success and impact the games had (and to an extend still have). If there exists other significant non-massive MORPGs, those could be mentioned too.

I'm suggesting something along the lines of:


"In addition to the MMORPGs, there exists a few games that rely on smaller multiplayer roleplay setups, such as Neverwinter Nights (2002) and Neverwinter Nights 2 (2006). Significant to these games is that they for allow select players to act as Gamemaster. Combined with the smaller amount of players, this provides for a more traditional roleplay experience bearing resemblance to the classic tabletop variant."


This could be added to the Multi-player section between "Massively multi-player online role-playing games" and "Computer-assisted gaming"- Z217 (talk) 14:01, 23 September 2011 (UTC)

Isn't an MMORPG just a MUD with a larger number of players? Having a DM/GM does set the game apart, but I personally don't feel it's so novel to warrant its own article. I mean, adding graphics to a MUD is pretty novel but you'll still find discussion about graphical MUDs in the article on MUDs, not a separate article. (The section is very short, I'll admit, but that's because graphics and increased player count typically go hand-in-hand.) Ultimately, if you can find a number of high quality sources to justify such an article, it can probably be done. I just don't think they're out there. But that's just my $0.02. Wyatt Riot (talk) 15:08, 23 September 2011 (UTC)
It is different enough that it should be listed, if reliable sources can confirm it. However, unless they use Neverwinter Nights, we shouldn't use them as an example. There are others, such as the White Wolf inspired Vampire games. I'm sure there are a few more.Jinnai 15:12, 23 September 2011 (UTC)


Wikipedia isn't a good place to try to settle outstanding disagreements over terminology and the hyphen in "role-playing" is a hotly contested item. As a result, I've added a blurb with references at the start of the article, but here are a few additional examples from titles of books and games:

  1. Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Core Rulebook
    From their community license terms: "You may refer to our game using the phrase "The Pathfinder Roleplaying Game" (never just "Pathfinder" or "The Pathfinder RPG")."
  2. Mouse Guard Roleplaying Game
  3. Open Game Table, the Anthology of Roleplaying Game Blogs
  4. Dungeons & Dragons Roleplaying Game Starter Set
  5. World of Warcraft the Roleplaying Game
  6. D20 Modern Roleplaying Game: A D20 System Core Rulebook
  7. The Lord of the Rings Roleplaying Game: Core Book
  8. The Marvel Universe Roleplaying Game: Guide to the X-Men
  9. Discworld Roleplaying Game: Adventures on the Back of the Turtle

Also "tabletop roleplaying" from Patterns in Game Design by Staffan Björk and Jussi Holopainen among many other works. -Miskaton (talk) 00:39, 4 February 2012 (UTC)

I'm dubious that this minor punctuation variation matters enough to warrant uglifying the introductory sentence. Especially given that the same logic could be applied to live action role-playing game, tabletop role-playing game, etc., logically requiring us to uglify the opening sentence of all of those as well. I'm entirely open to either with or without the hyphen (I prefer without), but I think we need to pick one and just use that, because the presence or absence of a hyphen isn't especially significant to the reader. In terms of picking one, I think it's a matter of what spelling is most commonly used and therefore most recognisable and natural per WP:TITLE. Also, I'm inclined to go with the "leave well enough alone" approach that's normally applied to alternative spellings - this is a minor spelling difference and not worth renaming masses of roleplaying articles over. Note also that both of your citations are examples of the term without a hyphen, they don't directly address the presence or absence of a hyphen, so any inference from them regarding hyphens would be WP:OR. Ryan Paddy (talk) 20:31, 4 February 2012 (UTC)

History of role-playing games?[edit]

I can find no section on history of role-playing games. What was the first RPG? Then I found History of role-playing games. Why doesn't this page link to that page? Oskar Liljeblad (talk) 20:16, 15 April 2012 (UTC)

Good catch. I'll add it. Wyatt Riot (talk) 20:40, 15 April 2012 (UTC)

Reorganization of See also section[edit]

I'm wondering if the whole See also section should be reorganized to make it a tad less cluttered. I'm thinking something like this:

Just a quick and dirty revision. Ideas? Wyatt Riot (talk) 20:51, 15 April 2012 (UTC)

Adding page for new games[edit]

Good afternoon, all. I've been wanting to add a wikipedia page for a roleplaying game that's relatively new on the market and funded via Kickstarter, which I believe makes it at least somewhat deserving of notoriety. I've only got very minimal experience editing and modifying wikis though. I'd raised a talk page asking if people with more experience or practice would be able to assist me with this, as the biggest contribution I've been able to make to wikipedia thus far was helping restructure the Wraith the Oblivion page. As pages for games are bound to sound at very least vaguely like advertising simply because they are a product for consumers, I was hoping we could get a few additional people willing to help a newcomer like me to assist in structuring the page to wiki standards. But I'm saddened that user Deb instead decided to delete the page outright, so evidently my work was either not up to standards at all or she was too hasty, I suspect the former. Sadly I also don't know how to undo this deletion, so I'm afraid that I'm rather left at this juncture with no practical idea or understanding as to how I can create a wiki page on any new product at all :( If anyone has a free few moments, could they maybe help me get this page up and running to appropriate wiki standards? It'd be for the game Shadows of Esteran, which I'd argue is notable as it has some decent praise on and has at least one product available. Really, any help at all here would be very much appreciated, I'm simply rather disheartened and at a loss as to how I can start getting some good contributions through to this site :( Anyway, thanks in advance! Justin.Parallax (talk) 10:33, 12 September 2013 (UTC)

If you're looking for collaborators, you'll probably want to use Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Role-playing games rather than here. This Talk page is for discussion of the article Role-playing game, not for general discussion of RPG-related articles on Wikipedia. Wikipedia:WikiProject Role-playing games is the official project of editors who work on all RPG-related articles. As far as User:Deb deleting your article, that user specifically refers to WP:DEL-REASON on User talk:Deb so you'll probably want to read that. If you'd like some time to work on an article, you'll find some help at Help:Userspace draft. If you have any questions, feel free to ask on my Talk page or start a new discussion on Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Role-playing games. Cheers! Woodroar (talk) 01:34, 13 September 2013 (UTC)
    • ^ Cite error: The named reference tychsen2006 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).