Wikipedia:WikiProject Role-playing games/Style

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I've started this page for style and structure discussions, similarly to the Goals subpage. Percy Snoodle 12:30, 6 February 2006 (UTC)


(moved from main page Percy Snoodle 12:30, 6 February 2006 (UTC))

Which color should we use for stuff like the infobox, the userbox or the portal? Should we stick to #9966cc? At least for the portal this would look odd, I believe. -- Genesis 11:24, 23 January 2006 (UTC)

Looking at the portal as it currently stands, I don't think there is any real problem with it eh, and i'm not generally a fan of purple in general. If other people do want a color change please don't do brown, the association with fantasy would probably be detrimental (unless it was for a D&D specific sub section) Brehaut 08:04, 30 January 2006 (UTC)

Setting suggestion[edit]

(moved from main page Percy Snoodle 12:30, 6 February 2006 (UTC))

Suggestion: Articles referring to a certain fictional setting, game or even in general should start with a standardised line, along the line of :

In the Dungeons & Dragons Eberron campaign setting, Khorvaire is one of the larger continents of the world.

This will make it clear that the articles are in a way disconnected from the whole of Wikipedia, and will give all articles a common identity. It will also make it clear for the start that the article deals with a fictional world, making disclaimers such as 'magic doesn't exist, ofcourse, but it does with the game setting' unnecessary. Note that most articles refering to druids, for example, will need to link to a specific game definition of druid, not to a general desciption. In a way, this means that these articles are a subset within Wikipedia, linked internally, but rarely externally. -- Ec5618 14:32, 19 January 2006 (UTC)

Further to this suggestion, Robbstrd suggested on my talk page that we use a standard intro, something along the lines of:

"In many campaign settings for the Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game, subject is..."

My feeling is that this kind of intro is useful only for subjects that appear in certain campaign settings, and in articles where we're going to specify different campaign setting implementations of the subject. I don't know that it's useful to mention campaign settings in articles on Orcus or Demogorgon, for example, since these characters are almost universal in D&D campaign settings. It might be preferable to say,

"In the Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game, subject is..."

and address campaign settings as needed in the body of the article. --Muchness 02:22, 1 February 2006 (UTC)

I think a good rule of thumb would be to use "In many campaign settings. . . ." for unique individuals & items that may appear in more than one setting (such as Demogorgon, the Wand of Orcus, etc), but likely aren't universal.

I would use "In the game title role-playing game. . . ." things that aren't unique, such as orcs, elves, paladins, brooches of shielding, etc. I could make an exception, however, if a unique being or item appeared in the core rules, such as Boccob or the Hand of Vecna in D&D. Robbstrd 21:59, 1 February 2006 (UTC)

According to the guide to writing better articles, the subject of the article should be towards the beginning, so:
would be a better way to put it. In the general case,

According to the MoS, the title of the article should be the subject of the first line. It says nothing about the way in which that first line should be formatted.

The reason I advocate this wording, is that the articles referring to Dungeons & Dragons (for example) should make it clear from the start that they deal with a fictional concept. The first part of the sentence "Khorvaire is one of the larger continents of the world of Eberron" does not make it clear that this is in reference to a fictional continent, a fictional Eberron. By tweaking the line, this is clarified. "In the Dungeons & Dragons campaign setting of Eberron, Khorvaire is .."

Perhaps this should be discussed at the MoS. There have been (illfounded) discussions about removing fictional content from Wikipedia, because the distinction between fact and fiction is not immediately apparent. I propose wording that would address that issue.

Additionally, such standardised wording would bind the Dungeons & Dragons related content together, which isn't a bad thing. -- Ec5618 00:33, 7 February 2006 (UTC)

  • I agree with Ec5618 that leading the introductory sentence with the subject can be misleading, at least for fictional subjects. Robbstrd 01:55, 7 February 2006 (UTC)
  • I disagree, and think we should keep to Percy Snoodle's suggestion which follows the general Wikipedia rule. Why should D&D be treated differently to other fictional subjects? ··gracefool | 03:26, 10 February 2006 (UTC)
The general 'rule' is convention, not rule. I have provided what I believe to be a good reason to change convention in this case, and would advocate changing convention for most articles on fictional worlds. If you have a different reasoning, that's fine, but please explain your views. What is the reason for insisting on a format that is neither more nor less correct than another format, when the other format has other advantages. -- Ec5618 07:08, 10 February 2006 (UTC)
If the concern is to make sure the word "fictional" is in the first clause, how about
  • "Khorvaire is one of the larger continents of the fictional world of Eberron"
which makes it pretty clear that it's fictional? If, instead, the concern is to bind the articles together, I'd worry that that will seem like a walled garden - a bad wiki practise which the anti-fiction-faction could use as an argument in favour of their case. Percy Snoodle 10:15, 10 February 2006 (UTC)
In a way, we are talking about something of a walled garden. Any reference to a druid will refer to a game-specific article on druids, and likewise, any reference to a mythical creature will be to a game-specific article. But while no traditional encyclopedia has even gone into such detail on this topic, I would argue that it is no more a walled garden than the articles on poetry for example: they are usually relevant to a select group of people.
I'm not sure what the problem is with changing the format of the first line. See, for example, Warp drive (Star Trek), the first line of which has been formatted this way for years, without problems.
Perhaps we should discuss this at the MoS, directly. In my view, we should include information on fictional worlds. In those articles, we should not only make it clear that the world is fictional, but we should mention the specific world to which the article refers from the first moment, to avoid confusion. I find the simple fact that your suggestion starts with the words 'Khorvaire is ..' a little misleading.
Finally, I don't think the anti-fiction faction will ever succeed in banning fictional content, but I do agree with them that the content on fictional topics should be demarcated from content on actual topics. Moving content on fictional topics to another Wiki is illogical. -- Ec5618 10:44, 10 February 2006 (UTC)
Demarcating fictional content from non-fictional content is a big idealogical change that I believe most people would disagree with. But yes, that should be discussed elsewhere (perhaps create a new proposal eg. Wikipedia:Distinctive fiction and add it to Requests for comment), rather than just for D&D here. ··gracefool | 12:35, 10 February 2006 (UTC)
I'm not suggesting demarcating fictional content, or even content on fictional topics. I'm not even necessarily suggesting demarcating content of fictional worlds in some official way. I was merely explaining my views further. As I said above, I suggest changing the first line of articles which are only relevant within a very specific frame of reference. I'm not sure what the big deal is, really. Simply change "Khorvaire is.." to "In the Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game, Khorvaire is.." This will make it clear that Khorvaire actually isn't (it's fictional), and will set Dungeons & Dragons related content apart (to aid in setting a constant style). It is not out of step with the Manual of Style, is not grammatically incorrect, and does not interupt flow. What's the problem? -- Ec5618 02:20, 12 February 2006 (UTC)
It doesn't flow as well, it doesn't follow the usual pattern, and I don't see the point. It's unlikely for someone to end up in a fictional article without knowing it, and in any case if they do they find out in the first sentence anyway. ··gracefool | 02:30, 12 February 2006 (UTC)
I don't see how it 'doesn't flow as well'. Reading either sentence is easy enough. And I disagree that no readers will stumble onto an acticle on fictional content, though I fail to see the relevance. Take the article on Drow as a simple example: it has a disambiguation notice, because the word 'drow' is used outside of Dungeons & Dragons. A reader might come looking for information on drow without knowing they are part of a game, might be interested in the alternative meanings of the word, or might not know which meaning ve is looking for, and will have to read the actual article.
That's not relevant though. Again, I'm suggesting a small change, that doesn't follow the usual patern, but may have advantages. Is deviating from the norm really not an option? -- Ec5618 10:43, 12 February 2006 (UTC)
ps. Since the article on, for example, the cyclops is linked to from within Dungeons & Dragons related content, readers will be directed to a wholly irrelevant article (assuming they are interested in finding out about the cyclops of Dungeons and Dragons). Cyclops is even in the Category:Dungeons & Dragons creatures, even though the article doesn't address Dungeons & Dragons. How should we address that? -- Ec5618 10:43, 12 February 2006 (UTC)
With my standard response pointing to policy: categories are descripions, not definitions. By belonging in the category, we are saying that the monster described is also a D&D creature. ··gracefool | 11:10, 15 February 2006 (UTC)
Since I disagree with your opinion on flow, and have tried to make clear that there are advantages to changing the formatting, I remain unconvinced. There is nothing wrong with the formatting as I suggest it, yet it offers benefits. Changing the wording seems logical. -- Ec5618 07:42, 15 February 2006 (UTC)
As we are unconvinced about your stated benefits. Note it is you who is promoting a change (ie. your side made the first change to the worlding), rather than keeping things the way they were. ··gracefool | 11:10, 15 February 2006 (UTC)
I, too, remain unconvinced by the "flow" argument, and feel that starting the article with the subject is not always correct. For example, not all of the entries in Britanica put the subject of the article as the first word of the sentence, though many do. If something is setting specific, I think it best to begin with the setting information. It's much easier to demarcate fictional subjects this way. For instance, the Elminster entry starts off as if he's a real person: "Elminster Aumar (born in 212 DR), the Sage of Shadowdale, is a powerful wizard in the Forgotten Realms, a Dungeons & Dragons campaign setting." There's a good argument there for the anti-fiction crowd. However, if the article started like: "In the Forgotten Realms campaign setting for the Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game, Elminster. . . " one knows it's a fictional person before his name & role are mentioned. Clarifying that subjects are "fictional" is not a good solution either, especially when writing about a settings' deities: "Paladine is a fictional god in the Dragonlance campaign setting. . . " seems problematic, as some people think that all deities are fictional. Robbstrd 00:51, 16 February 2006 (UTC)
Hi there. I stumbled into all of this because of some changes to some Greyhawk-related pages, and thought that I should bring a slightly broader view to this. Wikipedia has dealt with this sort of issue many times, and role playing games really aren't terribly special. First off, I suggest breaking down the goals:
  • Be a valid Wikipedia article (obviously, I would expect)
  • Highlight the fictional nature of the topic
  • Highlight some category that the topic belongs to (e.g. Dungeons & Dragons campaign settings)
  • Highlight the topic of the article
  • Provide a sense of unity to related articles.
These goals are generally accomplished (in many places) with the use of three tools:
  • a terse introductory sentence than leads with the topic name (bold), and then sets up its general relation to the rest of the Wikipedia. A good example: The Path of Daggers
  • a side-bar for navigating the most specific (and yet large enough to merit such treatment) group to which the topic belongs. One example: Anatolian languages
  • sometimes additional side-bars (or even the primary one) go at the bottom of the article when they grow too large. Example: Berlin Wall
  • additional side-bars are sometimes provided for articles which have a common set of statistical or historical information. Example: Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom
Using these techniques judiciously, it is possible to accomplish all of the goals that I listed above, and which I believe encapsulate what this proposal was originally setting out to do for role playing game article style. The first step in the implementation of this would be to draw up some general guidelines as to what the sorts of groups it makes sense to gather these articles into and then start building sidebars for each category in templates. Something like this would work User:Harmil/Greyhawk template example just by way of illustration. Above all, remember that the key ingredient is NOT formatting, but content. Good content can always be prettied up and made more naviagable, but good formatting doesn't help content that is lacking. -Harmil 06:47, 16 February 2006 (UTC)
  • Thanks a bunch Harmil, those are good suggestions. A side-bar can make a subject even more obvious than any change in wording. Actually, what you said should probably go in a style guideline somewhere — any idea where? ··gracefool | 10:55, 16 February 2006 (UTC)
Sorry, no clue. -Harmil 12:09, 16 February 2006 (UTC)


We've got one firm recommendation under structure (references) - I wonder what people would think to the following recommended layout:

  • Lead sentence - Foo is a genre [[role-playing game]], designed by designer and published by current publisher. Brief explanation what is notable about the game.
  • ==System==
    • full description of the game system if the game uses a custom system, or:
    • Main article: [[game system]]
      brief description of game system; full description of what's different in this game if it's shared across many games
  • ==Setting==
    • full description of the game setting if the game uses a custom setting, or:
    • Main article: [[game setting]]
      brief description of setting; full description of anything added or fleshed out for the game
  • ==History==
    • full history of different editions of and supplements to the game, if any, and any awards won by the game. If there is only one thing to mention, put the game's publication date in the lead sentence and omit this section.
  • ==See also==
    • brief list of very similar RPGs, or other games in the same product line - but not just a list of games in the same genre (that's why we have the categories)
  • ==References==
    • as suggested on the front page
  • ==External links==
    • any external resources not covered under references
  • [[Category:Appropriate genre of role-playing games]]
    • or more than one if appropriate System, Setting and History could come in any order, depending on what's most important for the game in question. This is the layout I've been trying to adhere to in my articles, and I notice it's the layout that has arisen in Nobilis, too. Percy Snoodle 10:42, 3 February 2006 (UTC)
Yeah, that should do it. -- Genesis 10:51, 3 February 2006 (UTC)
It looks good, both the flow of the text it generates and that it covers many different aspects of the games. It's no coincidence I put Nobilis as an example article on the project front page - I think the structure in it is very nice. Flexibility in the order of sections is ok, but I think we should aim for having the setting section before the system section in the general case, as I think the casual reader will be more interested in that it's a western game than that it uses D6's for resolution. My suggestion is to switch places on System and Setting in your description and move it to the front page. Very good work!
Added afterthought: Also, we should have a recommendation that important terms be put in bold, like in the Nobilis article. That way it's easy to see what the paragraph you're reading is about. Also, we could recommend that if you're writing a stub article, you could skip the headings but still write a sentence or two from each section. Jonas Karlsson 11:33, 3 February 2006 (UTC)
OK, that's up on the front page. I've put setting before system, but retained the comment about flexibility, and added the note about bolding. I'm not sure that the <nowiki> look works on that page, though - perhaps it should be real sections? Percy Snoodle 13:10, 6 February 2006 (UTC)

Singlular vs. plural[edit]

Proposed guideline:

Page titles on Wikipedia should be singlular, and role-playing game-related articles are no exception.

When a page's title needs to be disambiguated from a page with the same name, it is common Wikipedia practice to put a topic in parentheses. For role-playing game articles, such titles should contain the phrase "(role-playing game)" (e.g. Champions (role-playing game)). In some cases, however, such articles will refer to more than one game. In those cases, the parenthetical should be pluralized (e.g. Alignment (role-playing games)). This follows the guidelines for "articles on groups of specific things, rather than a class of things" from Wikipedia:Naming conventions (plurals).

Yeah, that was the reason why I in fact moved Psionics (role-playing game) to Psionics (role-playing games). I just didn't know about the naming convention on groups of things. My fault. But I agree that this should be a guideline -- Genesis 23:26, 23 February 2006 (UTC)
Additionally the plural convention would avoid confusion between e.g. the role of psionics in various role-playing games and a role-playing game named Psionics -- Genesis 07:43, 24 February 2006 (UTC)
Agreed, with the additional (perhaps obvious) comment that if an article is about a concept from exactly one RPG, the parenthesised bit should be the title of that RPG. - so (for example) Druid (Dungeons & Dragons). Percy Snoodle 16:28, 2 March 2006 (UTC)

Subject counterparts in multiple games, genera, and reality[edit]

I propose that separate articles should exist for subjects that have the same name as, but are different from their counterparts in other games, genera, and "reality" (such as myth or legend). The title of the article should be followed, in parentheses, by the name of the game system. For example, there are already separate articles for Wizard and Wizard (Dungeons & Dragons), as well as for Orc (Dungeons & Dragons) & Orc (Warcraft). However, I'd advise against doing this for every single thing--there's no need, for example, for an article called Broadsword (Dungeons & Dragons) or Automobile (Car Wars). Robbstrd 21:11, 5 March 2006 (UTC)

I agree. Category:World of Darkness already is designed that way. Articles that do not have any counterparts don't get specifications in parentheses (e.g. Land of Nod). Articles concerning role-playing games in genereal or are about a role-playing game itself get (role-playing game) or (role-playing games) (e.g. Orpheus (role-playing game)). Articles about topics that are specific to a certain world or setting get the name of the role-playing game or the setting name (e.g. Lilith (World of Darkness)). -- Genesis 17:34, 6 March 2006 (UTC)

Lists of sourcebooks[edit]

I'd like to add the following to the style section, under 'history':

It is intended that this section is more of a narrative history of the game. Long lists of all books published for a given game or system are not recommended for inclusion in articles (see "indiscriminate collections of information"); however, an external link pointing to such a list is strongly recommended.

Percy Snoodle 10:34, 7 June 2006 (UTC)

Done. Percy Snoodle 15:06, 14 June 2006 (UTC)

Percy invited me to join this discussion after I reverted his removal of a list of sourcebooks from Star Trek role-playing game (FASA). I may join the project at some point, but I'm not ready to do so yet. =) Anyway, it's my contention that a list of sourcebooks (or, analogously, a discography or filmography or bibliography) does not constitute an "indiscriminate collection of information", at least not as it's defined in WP:NOT. On the contrary, I find it to be, in most cases, invaluable information for someone searching for more information on the topic. A link to another site that contains the list might (or might not) be preferable, and in the case of certain long lists, might be better as a separate article. However it is presented, though, I think the information is generally relevant and useful. Powers 19:46, 22 June 2006 (UTC)

I did this to Changeling: The Dreaming last night. What exactly constitutes a 'long list'? 10+ titles? Urbandale (talk) 22:19, 18 June 2009 (UTC)

Notable Artists[edit]

The list of artists seems to be appended to the bottom of the list of writers. I would like to work on adding articles about notable artists and it seems to me they should have a separate list. Also, concerning the definition of notable artist, I propose that any artist who is the cover artist for a published game system core book qualifies as notable. What do others think? Vampyrecat 05:03, 1 July 2006 (UTC)

My feeling is that any artist who has worked on an RPG product at all is worthy of inclusion on List of role-playing game artists, but that to justify their own article, they need to pass WP:BIO. The ones I see as relevant for RPG artists are:
  • "received multiple independent reviews of or awards for their work"
  • "...whose work is widely recognized (for better or worse) and who are likely to become a part of the enduring historical record of that field"
The latter would probably give you the cover artists for particularly notable games (especially the ones mentioned on History of role-playing games). Percy Snoodle 17:12, 1 July 2006 (UTC)
Okay. I will work on aList of role-playing game artists which will include all published RPG artists. I will also work on bios of cover artists of noteable games, starting with the artists featured prominently (cover art, lots of interior art) in the games in the History of role-playing games. I will probably use Pen&Paper and to verify, with an external link at the bottom as a source of information for verification purposes. Vampyrecat 21:43, 1 July 2006 (UTC)

I have another suggestion: The template for information boxes for individual game entries doesn't have a listing for the cover artist. I think it would be appropriate to add the name of the cover artist for games with their own entry, what do others think? Vampyrecat 05:50, 3 July 2006 (UTC)

It's an interesting question. What do you do for games with multiple editions? Is the cover artist always the most notable artist, or should the option be a more general one? Percy Snoodle 08:55, 3 July 2006 (UTC)
What about multiple artists (including designers?) for the same edition? For example, the cover art for the first volume of GURPS Basic Set, “Characters”, is by John Zeleznik (who also did the cover of the 3rd edition), but the cover design is by Victor R. Fernandes. What’s worse, the second volume (“Campaigns”) even has three cover artists (Jeff Koke, Christopher Shy, and Rogério Vilela), while the cover designer is the same. So we would have to list four cover artists and possibly one designer to give full credits for the cover art of only the 4th edition of the GURPS Basic Set. Listing all these in the info box seems impractical to me. But then again, this may be the only book with that many cover artists. --TowerDragon 23:06, 14 August 2006 (UTC)

Artist Template[edit]

I propose that we develop a template for Artists to help facilitate the creation of articles about RPG Artists. Vampyrecat (talk) 17:29, 13 April 2010 (UTC)

RPG Convention Template[edit]

I propose that we develop a template for RPG Conventions to facilitate the creation of articles about RPG Conventions. The Gencon article is a good article and could help serve as a guide for making the template. Vampyrecat (talk) 17:29, 13 April 2010 (UTC)