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The metaplot is the overarching storyline that binds together events in the official continuity of a published role-playing game campaign setting. Major official story events that change the world, or simply move important non-player characters from one place to another, are part of the metaplot for a game. For example, White Wolf Game Studio's World of Darkness was brought to an end by major events in the metaplot as part of the Time of Judgment. Because of events like this, many gaming groups choose to ignore the metaplot for a game entirely.
Metaplot information is usually included within gaming products such as rule books and modules as they are released. Major events in the metaplot are often used to explain changes in the rules in between versions of the games, as was the case in White Wolf's World of Darkness and in Wizard of the Coast's Forgotten Realms and Dragonlance.
Settings with metaplot
The following settings and role-playing games contain well known metaplots:
- BattleTech – Expanded in various novels and sourcebooks, mostly by Michael A. Stackpole
- Dark Sun
- Forgotten Realms – The Time of Troubles, The Spellplague
- Ravenloft - The Grand Conjunction and The Grim Harvest
- Rifts – War on Tolkeen, a 6 book metaplot
- The Dark Eye
- Torg's "infiniverse"
- Traveller – Assassination of the emperor and the division of the empire
- World of Darkness – the Time of Judgment
- Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay - The Storm of Chaos