Playing a tabletop RPG usually assumes using specific game system — character sheet and statistics, conflict resolution mechanics, particular dice rolls and other conventional rules like "in order to determine the outcome of action A — expend your resource X, roll Y and add Z".
However, there are tabletop RPGs without any mechanics. "Without mechanics" doesn't mean "without rules" though — there are rules, that's why it is called a "role-playing game", not "collaborative fiction". The most basic rules are:
- There are two distinctive roles: "players" and "game master"
- Each game has only one game master and at least one or more players
- These roles do not change during the whole game
- Each player is responsible for one particular character (so-called "Player's Characterer"). Instead of using a specific character sheet, this character is supposed to be described in any format
- The game master is responsible for the rest of the world, including people, other living beings, laws of physics, forces of nature, etc.
- The play of the game goes according to these pattern:
- The game master describes a situation
- The players describe their characters' actions — what are they trying to do
- The game master narrates the results, creating a new situation
- Being a player, you can't "win" or "lose" the game. The point of playing the game is so that everyone has fun.
- The game master is the ultimate referee and always has the last word. He/she does not play "against" players, but helps them to move the story forward.
What words should I use to call this kind of game? "Freeform role-playing game" term comes to mind, but as far as I know, it is more about LARP games, not tabletop ones.
We played a game last night. It was D&D 5e technically, but there were no combat encounters yet, and even no skill checks, so we were basically playing ...