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A role-playing game is a game in which one or more players take on an imagined persona in pursuit of a common goal.

Tabletop role-playing games

These are traditional RPGs like Dungeons & Dragons and includes storytelling games like Vampire: The Requiem where you take on the role of a character. They are played face-to-face using a pen, paper, dice, and sometimes miniature figures.

Role-playing games have their roots in wargaming, which in turn has its roots in strategy board games, such as Chess and Go.

In some ways, Chess is the first role-playing game. It had basic RPG mechanics, such as a tactical turn-based combat system, a level up mechanic, and character roles with their own unique abilities. Tabletop RPG designer John Wick considers Chess to be no less of a role-playing game than Dungeons & Dragons, arguing that both are combat simulation board games that players could turn into role-playing games.[1]

The first tabletop RPG was Dungeons & Dragons (D&D), developed by Gary Gygax and released in 1974. The second tabletop RPG released that same year, Empire of the Petal Throne,[2] developed by Muhammad Abd-al-Rahman Barker (MAR Barker),[3] and was notable for introducing the critical hit mechanic. In turn, Empire of the Petal Throne influenced Gygax and later editions of D&D.

Role-playing video games

Sub-genres

Platforms

List

Roots of RPGs

The following diagram shows the roots and influences of various role-playing games:

RPG roots

References