I don't think play and game are redundant; there are forms of play that do not map much to even a loose definition of game.
A few, actually.I am being contradictory here, but again: Do we even have any products that people are ignoring because they are not defined as RPGs, but might be intersted in as RPG fans?
There have been a number of one vs many wargames, and multiplayer many on one scenarios in many more.I think some people might consider Lancer: Battlegroup in the hybrid wargame/RPG category, although as a cooperative party-vs-GM system, it's actually a closer cousin to D&D 4e than any wargame.
Prelude This is Lancer: Battlegroup! Against the stark black of deep space, the long silhouettes of capital ships drift in tightening gyres, training their guns and missile tubes on enemies hundreds of thousands of kilometers away. Inside their hushed command decks, officers listen to the...www.enworld.org
True, I was speaking more to today's mainstream perceptions (since Warhammer 40k is monolithic and massive in the wargaming scene now). I've seen some fun group-vs-GM wargames at conventions, and I've been one of the rotating GMs in Eclipse Phase and Night Witches.There have been a number of one vs many wargames, and multiplayer many on one scenarios in many more.
Also, some RPGs don't use single-GM. Rotational GMing on a scene by scene is a feature in Cosmic Patrol, and many flavors of PBTA/AWE games have advice on GM-less play.
Lancer crosses the line by intent (and character focus), not because of a many on one.
Participants adopt roles - fictional isn't necessary. Some people just play themselves, but in a fictional world.Just a few to get started, but here we go:
- Participants adopt fictional roles
- There is a shared fictional space thought of as the game world
- There are rules and processes that determine what happens in the fictional space and who gets to decide and when
- There is usually some randomizing factor used to help determine the results of actions when the outcomes are in doubt
You're reading too much into this. Tun Kai Poh was using passive voice, so I sought clarification.Cooperative games are not a new concept. Sometimes they're indirectly competitive, but sometimes they just have a collective win/loss condition.
I also fail to see why, even if its the common case, a GM is a required component of a roleplaying game.
Most of these are not necessary for our definition. I take issue with the single-player RPG idea; such a game is an edge case, not a general one. See also: we probably don't want to call it a TRPG when gamers play with themselves.So to the original question: what are qualities of an RPG.
The way I see it there are two main operatives in the term RPG. Role and Play. Game is redundant, play implies a game (and vice versa.)
This leads me to the following definition:
One or more players take on a role and play with it in a fictional setting. (I think a fictional setting is inherent to the nature of play.)
To this you can add, well, almost anything:
Playing boards for those pieces.
Stats. Which is to say mathematical models that model aspects of the play space that can be used to interact with other models within the play space.
Rules that govern the types of interactions available within the play space and how those interactions are carried out.
Rules that define the diegetic limits of the play space. By which I mean game worlds and the "physics" by which they operate.
Randomisers. Dice, coins, random number generators, the I-Ching. Used to add or heighten already existing dramatic tension.
A defined end to the play. Win/Loss states. The end of a series of events/scenes/tactical decisions/story elements.
A player in a position of official opposition. By which I mean the traditional GM. Someone who's role is to provide drama. This position can be given to different players at different times. This position is granted by some non-diegetic consideration, eg. the rules.
Players taking oppositional roles (on a temporary basis?) as suggested by diegetic concerns. Can range from the very simple "You killed me with a fireball. My next character is going to kill you!" to designing characters with the intent that they shall provide one another with dramatic tension.
Beyond things that can define the actual play we can get into things like fandoms and such forth. The social aspects of it. But that's probably getting off base.
Aside: I also think that aspects of playing a role can be (easily) imported into other games. In post #14 Endroren mentions playing traditional board and war games from within assumed roles. I've done the same with Diplomacy and Empires in Arms.
Most of these are not necessary for our definition. I take issue with the single-player RPG idea; such a game is an edge case, not a general one. See also: we probably don't want to call it a TRPG when gamers play with themselves.
If costumes become necessary, I'm getting another hobbySorry. I wasn't clear about exactly what I meant with my list of add-ons. My list is of things that can be added to my basic definition of RPG, but are not necessary to a game being an RPG.
Sorry, what's TRPG? Table top RPG? Traditional RPG? Something else?