Role Playing Games (RPG) are video games where a gamer is supposed to control a character(s) when undertaking a quest in an imaginary world. The gamer takes the responsibilities of the character by literary acting or through a series of a decision-making process. A gamer may succeed in the quest depending on the guidelines and system of rules of the game. There are different forms of RPG games with a tabletop role-playing game (TRPG) and live action playing games (LAPG) being the most popular types. In a TRPG, the quest is conducted through a discussion while in LAPG the players perform the actions of the character. Varieties of RPG games include the following:
These are the games that are conducted through a discussion mainly in small social gatherings. The game master is responsible for determining inhabitants and the game world while the other players describe the intended actions of their characters. The game master describes the outcomes of the games although some outcomes can be determined by the game system itself. Dungeons & Dragons is one of the most popular games that have this approach. However, tabletop games have become less popular after the introduction of modern MMORPG games.
Here, participants act out the actions of their characters rather than describing them. In live action games, players are costumed just as their characters and they use props whenever the need arises. It is important to understand that LARP games vary in size with some having only a few players while others have several thousand. These games also differ in their duration of play with some taking only a couple of hours to play while others require several days to achieve the objective. Finally, since LARP games have more players than tabletop games, the players might interact in separate physical spaces although the main aim of the game is to entertain. To avoid confusions and to make the game entertaining, game sessions in LARP are managed in a distributed manner.
Lately, TTRP games have been translated into several electronic formats. Electronic formats usually share the same rules with tabletop RPGs although in electronic media character advancement is emphasized than storytelling. This has resulted in a number of electronic media games with either single or multiple players. In a single-player role-playing video game, one player controls a team or a character to undertake certain quests. To further advance the game, the player might have capabilities that advance when statistical mechanics are used.
On the other hand, multiplayer games involve many players to achieve different roles. Some of the players might use an internet connection to play the game while others rely on a text-based interface to play the same game.
Finally, there are three different types of people in an RPG game that you need to know about.
i. The game master – this is the participant who has the role of arbitrating the results, maintain the flow of the narrative and present fictional setting. In Video RPG, GM roles are fulfilled by a game engine while in a tabletop the roles are fulfilled by a person playing the game.
ii. Player character – this is a character in an imaginary world who is controlled by the person playing the game.
iii. Non-player character – these are characters who are controlled by the game engine or the game master. They can act as bystanders, allies or even antagonists to the player characters.