Role-playing game

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A role-playing game (RPG) is a broad family of games 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.[1] Actions taken within the game succeed or fail according to a formal system of rules and guidelines.[2]

The original form, sometimes called the pen-and-paper RPG, is conducted through speech, whereas in live action role-playing games (LARP) players physically perform their characters' actions.[3] 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 other player plays the role of a single character.[4]

Several varieties of RPG also exist in electronic media, including 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 whose capabilities advance using statistical mechanics. These games often share settings and rules with pen-and-paper RPGs, but emphasize character advancement more than collaborative storytelling.[5][6]

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.[7] The term is also sometimes used to describe roleplay simulation games and exercises used in teaching, training, and academic research.


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