Defining TTRPGs and the the International Roguelike Development Conference's "Berlin Interpretation"

@hawkeyefan that's a good start.

As a nod to the solo journaling genre and the very recent lyric game families on itch.io that spiritually descend from Yoko Ono's performance poetry, I'd broaden the definitions:
  • One or more participants adopt fictional roles
  • There are one or more fictional spaces, which may be shared between participants
Lyric games be wild. I should know, I make them!
 

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To put us into perspective: computer RPGs might not qualify in our minds, but TTRPGs are a mere footnote in the economically massive world of CRPGs.

So definitions that overlap with your Roguelikes, Baldur's Gates and World of Warcrafts? Might want to consider those as well.

But don't worry, my brain isn't trying to fit LARPs in yet, despite the cross-pollination into TTRPGs from parlour larping and Norwegian larp.

....or should it
 

Endroren

Adventurer
Publisher
Wouldn't you say the answer to your question is in the name? If you take on the role of an imaginary (or perhaps historical) character in the game, and the choices you make in the game are based on what that character wants/needs/desires, and in any social interactions (whether between players or game elements like NPCs) you act the part of that character, it's a roleplaying game?

We've played Monopoly as a roleplaying game, with each person taking on personas and interacting and making decisions as that persona. I've played tabletop war games where we've done the same thing. It seems to me the ruleset and the minis and the flow of the game doesn't make a huge difference. "Being" the character is what sets the experience apart.
 

payn

He'll flip ya...Flip ya for real...
Maybe TTRPG is too broad in the same way that 'video/computer/console game' is likewise too broad of a starting point. 'Roguelike' represents a genre or arguably sub-genre of games, so maybe we should not be looking at what qualities TTRPGs share on the whole, but, rather, look at different TTRPGs out there as a families or genres of games and the traits that they share. What are the "genres" or "types" of TTRPGs that are out there?
I like where you are going with this, however, getting D&D dialed in will be the tough. I mean, if you ask folks what TTRPG to use for high school romance in an anime style, you'll get at least one person adamantly stating that D&D does it best.
 

dragoner

KosmicRPG.com
That's exactly what Gygax wanted.

So now there are two of us? Though d20's are still the defining element, just look at the adds on facebook and twitter.
 

Aldarc

Legend
I like where you are going with this, however, getting D&D dialed in will be the tough. I mean, if you ask folks what TTRPG to use for high school romance in an anime style, you'll get at least one person adamantly stating that D&D does it best.
My sense of genre or family in regards to TTRPGs is less about "high school romance in an anime style" and more akin to "PbtA" or "OSR." This is to say, games that generally have an overlapping set of design principles, approaches, aesthetics, or even system mechanics. A game setting's genre is often the lipstick on the pig, even if many use incredibly similar shardes of lipstick: e.g., a world of medieval fantasy adventure but with a twist!
 

payn

He'll flip ya...Flip ya for real...
My sense of genre or family in regards to TTRPGs is less about "high school romance in an anime style" and more akin to "PbtA" or "OSR." This is to say, games that generally have an overlapping set of design principles, approaches, aesthetics, or even system mechanics. A game setting's genre is often the lipstick on the pig, even if many use incredibly similar shardes of lipstick: e.g., a world of medieval fantasy adventure but with a twist!
I agree, but many folks dont get or care about the distinction.
 

Aldarc

Legend
I agree, but many folks dont get or care about the distinction.
Sure, but it's worth pointing out an obvious point: the people who get or care about the distinction between Roguelikes and others games are the one's who are making the list of qualities Roguelikes may share and not the people who don't get or care about those distinctions.
 

payn

He'll flip ya...Flip ya for real...
Sure, but it's worth pointing out an obvious point: the people who get or care about the distinction between Roguelikes and others games are the one's who are making the list of qualities Roguelikes may share and not the people who don't get or care about those distinctions.
The advantage is that there are so many more videogamers and designers out there. Its ok to have sub-genres cause folks naturally gravitate to their interests. Nobody thinks all video games are Super Mario Brothers quite like folks think all TTRPG are D&D.
 


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