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What are role-playing games called?

Do you know what role-playing games are called? They are games that allow players to take on the role of a character and interact with other players in a fictional world. These games are often called RPGs, which stands for “role-playing game.” In RPGs, players can choose to be a variety of different characters, such as a knight, wizard, or thief, and work together to complete quests and overcome challenges. RPGs can be played in person or online, and they offer a unique and exciting way to experience a story and interact with others. Whether you’re a fan of fantasy, science fiction, or anything in between, there’s an RPG out there for you. So, get ready to immerse yourself in a world of adventure and imagination, and discover the magic of role-playing games!

Quick Answer:
Role-playing games (RPGs) are games that involve players taking on the roles of characters in a fictional setting. These games often involve collaborative storytelling and allow players to explore different character types and scenarios. Some examples of popular RPGs include Dungeons & Dragons, World of Darkness, and Pathfinder. RPGs can be played in person or online, and they can be adapted to fit a variety of settings and genres.

Different Names for Role-Playing Games

Tabletop Role-Playing Games

Tabletop role-playing games, also known as pen and paper RPGs, are a type of role-playing game that are played using physical components such as dice, character sheets, and rulebooks. These games are typically played around a table with a group of players, and involve one player acting as the game master (GM) who guides the story and controls non-player characters (NPCs), while the other players take on the roles of their own characters and make decisions based on their actions and abilities.

Pen and Paper RPGs

Pen and paper RPGs are a specific type of tabletop role-playing game that require players to use a pen and paper to keep track of their characters’ stats, abilities, and inventory. These games often involve rolling dice to determine the outcome of actions and events, and require players to use their imagination to visualize the game world and their characters’ actions within it.

Tabletop RPGs

Tabletop RPGs is a more general term that encompasses all types of role-playing games that are played around a table, including pen and paper RPGs, as well as other games that use physical components such as miniatures, maps, and cards. These games are often played in a social setting, and can be used to tell stories, explore different genres and settings, and provide a fun and engaging way for players to interact with each other.


PnP RPGs is an abbreviation for “play-by-post RPGs,” which are a type of tabletop RPG that are played online. In these games, players take turns posting their actions and responses in a thread or forum, and the game master moderates the game and responds to the players’ actions. PnP RPGs can be played on a variety of platforms, including message boards, forums, and social media sites, and can be a great way for players to connect with others who share their interests and play their favorite RPGs from the comfort of their own homes.

Video Game Role-Playing Games

  • Console RPGs
  • PC RPGs
  • Mobile RPGs

Console RPGs

Console RPGs, or Console Role-Playing Games, are video games that are played on a home console such as PlayStation, Xbox, or Nintendo. These games typically have a longer storyline and a more complex gameplay system than other types of video games.

Console RPGs

Features of Console RPGs

  • A lengthy storyline
  • Complex gameplay system
  • Often single-player only
  • Require a gaming console to play

Examples of Console RPGs

  • Final Fantasy
  • The Legend of Zelda
  • Dragon Quest


PC RPGs, or Personal Computer Role-Playing Games, are video games that are played on a personal computer. These games often have a higher level of customization and a larger player base than console RPGs.


Features of PC RPGs

  • High level of customization
  • Large player base
  • Can be single-player or multiplayer
  • Require a personal computer to play

Examples of PC RPGs

  • The Elder Scrolls
  • Fallout
  • Baldur’s Gate

Mobile RPGs

Mobile RPGs, or Mobile Role-Playing Games, are video games that are played on a mobile device such as a smartphone or tablet. These games are often more casual and accessible than console or PC RPGs, and can be played on the go.

Mobile RPGs

Features of Mobile RPGs

  • Casual and accessible
  • Can be played on the go
  • Often free-to-play
  • Require a mobile device to play

Examples of Mobile RPGs

  • Pok√©mon GO
  • Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery
  • Final Fantasy Brave Exvius

Live-Action Role-Playing Games

Live-Action Role-Playing Games (LARPs) are a type of role-playing game that involves players physically acting out their characters in a real-world environment. LARPs can range from small, local events to large-scale productions that involve hundreds of players and span multiple days.

Freeform LARPs

Freeform LARPs are characterized by their lack of a pre-determined plot or structure. Players are free to create their own stories and interactions within the game world. This type of LARP often emphasizes player creativity and improvisation.

Parlor LARPs

Parlor LARPs, also known as “tabletop” LARPs, are a more structured form of LARP that takes place around a table rather than in a physical environment. Players use props and costumes to represent their characters and engage in dialogue and actions based on the scenario provided by the game master. Parlor LARPs often involve a pre-written story or campaign that players must follow.

Tactical Role-Playing Games

Tactical role-playing games (TRPGs) are a subgenre of role-playing games that emphasize tactical combat and strategic decision-making. These games often involve a team of characters that work together to defeat a common enemy or complete a mission. TRPGs can be played in person or online, and they often require a high level of communication and teamwork between players.


Wargames are a type of TRPG that focus on simulating military combat scenarios. These games often involve a detailed representation of military units and equipment, and players must use strategy and tactics to defeat their opponents. Wargames can be played with miniature figures or on a digital platform, and they are often used as a way to simulate and study historical battles.

Miniatures games

Miniatures games are another type of TRPG that involves the use of physical figures to represent characters and units. These games often have a strong emphasis on tactical movement and positioning, and players must use their figures to outmaneuver their opponents. Miniatures games can be played in person or online, and they are often used as a way to simulate fantasy or science fiction battles.

Tactical RPGs

Tactical RPGs are a subgenre of TRPGs that emphasize turn-based combat and strategic decision-making. These games often involve a team of characters that work together to defeat a common enemy or complete a mission. Tactical RPGs can be played in person or online, and they often require a high level of communication and teamwork between players. Examples of tactical RPGs include the Fire Emblem series and the XCOM series.

Role-Playing Game Genres

  • Fantasy RPGs
    • Examples: Dungeons & Dragons, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
    • Characteristics: set in imaginary worlds with magic, mythical creatures, and medieval settings
  • Science Fiction RPGs
    • Examples: Fallout, Deus Ex
    • Characteristics: set in futuristic or technologically advanced worlds with science fiction elements
  • Horror RPGs
    • Examples: Resident Evil, Silent Hill
    • Characteristics: focus on survival and facing fear in a horror-themed world
  • Superhero RPGs
    • Examples: Marvel’s Avengers, DC Universe Online
    • Characteristics: allow players to take on the role of superheroes with unique abilities and powers
  • Historical RPGs
    • Examples: Assassin’s Creed, Civilization
    • Characteristics: set in real-world historical periods and allow players to interact with historical events and figures

Role-Playing Game Systems

Role-playing game systems are specific game mechanics that govern the rules and gameplay of a role-playing game. Some popular role-playing game systems include:

  • Dungeons and Dragons: This is perhaps the most well-known role-playing game system, created by Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson in 1974. It is a fantasy-based game that involves players creating characters and embarking on quests in a fictional world.
  • GURPS: This is a generic role-playing game system that can be used for any genre or setting. It was created by Steve Jackson Games in 1986 and is known for its flexible and customizable gameplay.
  • Savage Worlds: This is a fast-paced role-playing game system that is designed to be easy to learn and play. It was created by Claytonian Studios in 2003 and is used for a variety of genres, including fantasy, sci-fi, and historical.
  • Fate Core: This is a role-playing game system that emphasizes player agency and creativity. It was created by Evil Hat Productions in 2012 and is used for a variety of genres, including fantasy, sci-fi, and modern-day.
  • Cypher System: This is a role-playing game system that was created by Bruce R. Cordell and Lisa J. Steele in 2004. It is used for a variety of genres, including fantasy, sci-fi, and horror, and is known for its dynamic and fluid gameplay.

The Appeal of Role-Playing Games

Imagination and Creativity

Role-playing games offer players the opportunity to explore their imagination and creativity. Here are some ways in which these games allow players to tap into their imaginative and creative sides:

Exploring new worlds

One of the most exciting aspects of role-playing games is the ability to explore new and fantastical worlds. Players can delve into a wide range of settings, from magical realms filled with mythical creatures to futuristic landscapes where technology has advanced beyond our wildest dreams. In these worlds, players can encounter a variety of challenges and obstacles, which adds to the excitement and unpredictability of the game.

Creating unique characters

Another way in which role-playing games encourage creativity is by allowing players to create unique characters. Each character is typically defined by a range of attributes, such as strength, intelligence, and charisma, which players can customize to create a character that is truly their own. Players can also choose their character’s backstory, personality traits, and even physical appearance, giving them a sense of ownership over their character and making the game even more engaging.

Developing original storylines

Finally, role-playing games often involve developing original storylines that are created collaboratively by the players and the game master. This means that each game is unique and can take unexpected turns, depending on the choices made by the players. This level of collaboration and creativity is what makes role-playing games so appealing to many players, as it allows them to use their imagination and creativity to craft a story that is truly their own.

Social Interaction

  • Collaborative problem-solving:
    • Players work together to overcome challenges and obstacles in the game world.
    • This requires communication, cooperation, and creative thinking.
    • Players must rely on each other’s strengths and skills to succeed.
  • Building friendships and relationships:
    • Role-playing games provide a unique social experience where players can connect with others who share similar interests.
    • Through shared experiences and common goals, players can develop strong bonds and friendships.
    • These relationships often extend beyond the game and can last a lifetime.
  • Working together as a team:
    • Role-playing games require players to work together to achieve a common goal.
    • Each player has a specific role to play, and they must work together to make the team successful.
    • This teamwork can translate into real-life situations, as players learn to rely on each other and work towards a common goal.

Personal Growth

Role-playing games offer a unique opportunity for personal growth, providing players with a chance to develop critical thinking skills, enhance communication abilities, and overcome challenges and obstacles.

Developing Critical Thinking Skills

One of the key benefits of role-playing games is that they encourage players to think critically about their actions and decisions. In these games, players must make strategic choices that can have a significant impact on the outcome of the game. This requires them to evaluate the potential consequences of their actions and weigh the pros and cons of different options. By engaging in this type of problem-solving, players can develop their critical thinking skills and learn to make more informed decisions in real-life situations.

Enhancing Communication Abilities

Another advantage of role-playing games is that they can help players improve their communication skills. In these games, players must work together to achieve a common goal, which requires them to communicate effectively with one another. This can involve negotiating with other players, coordinating actions, and collaborating to solve problems. By practicing these skills in a safe and supportive environment, players can become more confident and effective communicators in their everyday lives.

Overcoming Challenges and Obstacles

Finally, role-playing games can help players overcome challenges and obstacles by providing a safe and controlled environment in which to practice. In these games, players face a variety of challenges and obstacles that they must overcome in order to succeed. This can help them develop resilience and persistence, as well as teach them how to approach problems in a more systematic and strategic way. By learning to overcome challenges in a game, players can gain the confidence and skills they need to tackle real-life obstacles and achieve their goals.

The Enduring Popularity of Role-Playing Games

Role-playing games have been around for decades, and despite the numerous technological advancements in the gaming industry, they continue to hold a special place in the hearts of gamers worldwide. There are several reasons why role-playing games have remained popular for so long, including:

  • Adaptability to different formats and platforms: Role-playing games have been adapted to various formats and platforms, from traditional tabletop games to video games, mobile games, and even virtual reality experiences. This adaptability has allowed role-playing games to reach a wide audience and continue to be relevant in an ever-changing gaming landscape.
  • Ability to appeal to a wide range of interests and preferences: Role-playing games offer a unique blend of storytelling, character development, and strategic gameplay that appeals to a wide range of interests and preferences. Whether players are interested in epic battles, complex character relationships, or intricate world-building, role-playing games offer something for everyone.
  • Ongoing evolution and innovation in the industry: The role-playing game industry has seen continuous evolution and innovation over the years, with new games and systems constantly being developed. This innovation has allowed role-playing games to stay fresh and exciting, with new mechanics, storylines, and gameplay elements constantly being introduced.

In addition to these factors, the community aspect of role-playing games also contributes to their enduring popularity. Many players enjoy the social aspect of playing role-playing games with friends or online communities, and the sense of camaraderie and shared experience that comes with it.

Overall, the enduring popularity of role-playing games can be attributed to their adaptability, appeal to a wide range of interests, ongoing evolution and innovation, and the sense of community and shared experience that they offer.


1. What are role-playing games?

Role-playing games (RPGs) are a type of game where players assume the roles of characters in a fictional setting. Players typically create a character and assume their characteristics, such as their personality, skills, and abilities. The game usually involves a narrative, where players make decisions that affect the outcome of the story.

2. What are some examples of role-playing games?

There are many different types of role-playing games, including tabletop RPGs like Dungeons & Dragons, video games like The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, and online multiplayer games like World of Warcraft. Some other examples include the Pathfinder RPG, Vampire: The Masquerade, and the Shadowrun RPG.

3. What is the difference between tabletop and video game RPGs?

Tabletop RPGs are typically played in person, with players gathering around a table and using dice and other game components to determine the outcome of actions. Video game RPGs, on the other hand, are played on a computer or gaming console, with players controlling their characters using a controller or keyboard and mouse. Both types of RPGs involve creating a character and making decisions that affect the outcome of the story.

4. What is the difference between pen-and-paper and computer RPGs?

Pen-and-paper RPGs, also known as tabletop RPGs, are played using a set of rules and game mechanics that are written down on paper or in a book. Computer RPGs, on the other hand, are played on a computer or gaming console, with the game mechanics and rules programmed into the game. Both types of RPGs involve creating a character and making decisions that affect the outcome of the story, but the mechanics and rules of the game are different.

5. What is the history of role-playing games?

The origins of role-playing games can be traced back to medieval fantasy wargames, which were played with miniature figures and focused on simulating battles. The modern concept of role-playing games as we know them today began to take shape in the 1970s, with the publication of games like Dungeons & Dragons. Since then, the genre has grown and evolved, with many different types of RPGs being developed for various platforms.

What is an RPG? | Role Playing Games Explained | Game Terms Explained

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