RPG = Role Playing Game
Games that involve taking on the objectives, beliefs and/or attitudes of a pre-determined or self-determined entity, ranging from the normal to the fantastic. While games like chess involve specific, logical, and pre-determined boundaries, RPGs focus more on social games with human interaction which is often many times more complex. The gamer behaves like an actor in a play, borrowing motives to simulate another person for the purposes of recreation. It is also often itself a social activity involving communicating with other players, game characters, friends and enemies, etc. who are also themselves playing
Roleplaying is also used for modern therapy and since before recorded history in enacted dramas (plays). Some real-life communities reenact historic figures such as the US Civil War or the European Renaisance while others learn Klingon or dress up as comic book characters. Cybersex often involves playing a role.
The Internet has a wide variety of role playing systems using Chat Clients, MUDs, and MMORPGs. One-player RPG computer games are usually distiguished by pre-written human interaction and a non-linear or semi-linear plot.
Some common terms almost universal throughout role playing games are:
- Hit Points - A rating of a character's health that can be diminished by damage or battle.
- In Character - chosing an action or attitude because it is what a given character would do and not what is logical or obvious. Authors and live-action actors must do this constantly.
- Dice - or any random element placed into a game that allow for the unexpected. Often these random outcomes are affected by character stats or by pre-existing physics, such as not being able to see well at night or during a storm.
- Dungeon Master (DM), Game Master (GM) - often another person who guides the activities of the other players, sometimes as a referee, sometimes as a storyteller, and sometimes as a guide. In Online games, due to the number of people, GMs are often referred to as Admins instead, trying to do drive-by government and dispute handling.
- Non-Player Character (NPC) - someone who is either controlled by the computer or by the DM/GM.