Roleplaying Games

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    A role-playing game (RPG and sometimes roleplaying game) 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 or 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 RPG, 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 game master (GM) usually decides on the rules and setting to be used and acts 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 offline 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.

    Subgenres:

    • Tabletop RPG: A tabletop role-playing game, pen-and-paper role-playing game, or table-talk role-playing game is a form of role-playing game (RPG) in which the participants describe their characters' actions through speech. Participants determine the actions of their characters based on their characterization, and the actions succeed or fail according to a formal system of rules and guidelines. Within the rules, players have the freedom to improvise; their choices shape the direction and outcome of the game.
    • Console RPGs often focus on cinematic narratives and memorable characters, usually (but not always) with more linear gameplay and less direct customization than Computer RPGs; Console RPGs typically feel like visual novels, movies or anime. Until recently, most such games came from Japan, and are thus nicknamed JRPGs. A good point of distinction is that Computer RPGs typically have some Character Customization, whereas an Console RPG will more likely have a preformed Player Character, who might have some customization applied to their abilities but always looks the same. Console RPGs tend to use a turn based or pseudo turn based system where the player individually inputs actions for every character in the team each turn. Good examples of this genre are the Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest, and Pokémon franchises.
    • Computer RPGs often focus on greater character customization and free-roaming exploration. The main character in this genre tend to have little predefined personality, allowing the player to decide the personality and characterization of the main character via interactive dialogue. Computer RPGs tend to bear a great resemblance to Tabletop RPGs. Examples of this genre include the Baldur's Gate series, Mass Effect, and The Elder Scrolls series.
    • Action RPGs use the combat interface of an Action Game (usually Fighting Game or Third Person Shooter combat), incorporating the experience and item systems of a traditional RPG. Action RPGs often overlap or are related to games with RPG Elements, as Action RPGs are essentially an in-between, or RPGs with Shooter Elements. As such, distinguishing between Action RPGs and games that simply have RPG Elements is hard, but typically Action RPGs have all skills be viable options for winning the game, whereas games with RPG Elements focus more extensively on action. The best example of this genre is the original Deus Ex.
    • Tactical RPG: What separates the Tactical RPG subgenre from other RPGs is that they tend to greatly resemble Strategy Games, but with RPG Elements.
    • Strategy RPGs closely resemble Real Time Strategy or Tabletop RPGs. The distinction separates games that are on a grid system with standard Console RPG characters (with abilities, more attack options, and so on) and games that are on a grid system but characters are more properly units (they typically have only base attacks, may not have equipment, and so on). A good comparison would be Final Fantasy Tactics to the Fire Emblem series.
    • Roguelikes take their name from the early 1980s ASCII graphics game Rogue. They are defined by the combination of randomly generated worlds and permanent death, meaning that every time time your character dies you have to start completely over in a different set of levels. The focus also tends to be much more on very complex Nintendo Hard gameplay than story.
    Tropes used in Roleplaying Games include: