Role-Playing

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In role-playing, participants adopt characters, or parts, that have personalities, motivations, and backgrounds different from their own. Role-playing is like being in an improvisational drama or free-form theatre, in which the participants are the actors who are playing parts.

A quick explanation

A role-playing game (RPG) is a type game where people assume the role of a character in a fictional story. Then all the players involved work together to form an entire story.

Online text based role playing games ("RPs" for short) have become increasingly popular on the Internet, with those games taking place on message boards. These games have contributed to the development of Play-by-post gaming and are often called Play-by-Post or PbP games in short hand. Similarly, games which use e-mail clients are called Play-By-E-Mail or PbeM games.

When role-playing on a message board, the player controls a character, and works them into the plot along with other characters controlled by other players. It ends up like a fictional book, but every player only writes what their own character does. The end result is an unpredictable story that may or may not finish, depending on the length of story and devotion of the players.

Role-playing games

A role-playing game (RPG) is a type of game where players role-play by assuming the role of a character in a fictional story. Its origin is in miniature wargames, with rules for individual combat and the use of magic spells in fighting, hence the focus of many role-playing games on combat and on the medieval-period fantasy genre.

The term "role-playing game" originates among traditional "tabletop role-playing games" (also called "pencil and paper" (P&P or PnP) role-playing games) like Dungeons & Dragons, Tunnels and Trolls, RuneQuest or the multi-genre GURPS. However, role-playing is also a genre of computer and video games like the Final Fantasy, Ultima and the Deus Ex series. These games are differentiated from tabletop games by the terms computer role-playing game or, more rarely, console role-playing game (both referred to by the initialism 'CRPG'). More specifically, it also covers the massively multi-player online role-playing games (MMORPGs) like EverQuest, Ultima Online, and World of Warcraft.

Many role-playing games do not focus on playing the actual persona of the character, only on their role in the game as determined by their statistics or other numerical or situational characteristics. In general, it is only mandatory to remain in character in the more rigorously enforced tabletop and online role-playing games. People who choose to remain in character in such games are often called "roleplayers"; in tabletop role-playing games, people who do not act in character are variously called "roll-players", "hack-and-slashers", or other derogative terms.

A more specialized form of the role-playing game is the "live action role-playing game" (LARP), in which participants act out their characters' actions, often using elaborate costumes, fake weaponry and other props. (See the gamemaster article for an example of role-playing within a paper and pencil game).

Online role-playing

Online text based role playing games ("RPs" for short) have become increasingly popular on the Internet since the mid-1990s, with those games taking place on message boards becoming common formats. These games have contributed to the development of Play-by-post gaming and are often called Play-by-Post or PbP games in short hand. Similarly, games which use e-mail clients are called Play-By-E-Mail or PbeM games.

However, at around the same time, the advent of MUDs or "Multi User Dungeons" were created. Using predominantly Telnet (but also incorporating a similar setup to the Play-By-E-Mail games at times) these MUDs were, and still are used by many communities to make quick and easier to setup and use text style adventure games or even just chatroomesque programs for a specific audience.

When role-playing on a message board, the player controls a character and works them into the plot along with other characters controlled by other players. The end result is an unpredictable story that may or may not finish, depending on the length of story and devotion of the players. These games are divided into many different genres, topics, literacy-levels, and can even be divided based on the sexual orientation of the RP characters (not to be confused with sexual roleplaying, where 'cybering' or other various forms of sexual gratification are the sole purpose). Exceptions to the rule of a single character exist, Many roleplayers prefer to field multiple or competing characters, or in some cases large entities like corporations or nations.

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