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Questions tagged [rpg-theory]

RPG theory is an academic effort to theorize exactly what an RPG is and isn't; and how to best categorize and understand the vast market of thousands of games we call RPGs (despite them all being very different). Not to be confused with general theoretical work with RPGs.

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Does research show that explicit game mechanical rewards affect player behaviour? [on hold]

As shown in research data, to what extent do explicit game mechanical rewards, such as various types of fate points (hero points, willpower, artha, other consumable resources) or experience points, ...
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1answer
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Role playing game for self actualization [closed]

Is there any RPG that can help in the process of self-actualization? self-actualization: the realization or fulfillment of one's talents and potentialities especially considered as a drive or need ...
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1answer
212 views

Has the threefold model (GDS) been documented in an academic publication?

The threefold model (not to be confused with the later GNS model) of roleplaying was developed in the previous millenium. John H. Kim's website includes the threefold FAQ and other content related to ...
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2answers
295 views

What are GNS, GDS, AGE model, Big model etc. called in academic publications?

Academic theory on play, games, and even roleplaying games exists. But there also exists much non-academic work on roleplaying games, including the named theories mentioned in the title, but also (...
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1answer
354 views

What was Brian Gleichman's take on threefold gamism?

The threefold (GDS) model was developed in rgfa in 1997, and is not to be confused with the more recent GNS model and Big model. A good source is the website of John H. Kim. According to Kim's ...
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4answers
3k views

What is the bad history around the three-fold or GNS model of RPG's?

On a forum elsewhere, I recently started a discussion about how people might categorise popular RPG's according to the GNS theory model. My intention was merely to stimulate discussion. I was ...
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2answers
534 views

What can I read about how we tie the stochastic characteristics of task resolution into statements about the nature of a game? [closed]

I like making RPG systems. One thing I've noticed is that different kinds of task resolution systems make the game significantly different. Background For example, games like D&D 3.X and ...
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2answers
341 views

Can I understand the 'right to dream' by choices central to the agenda?

In the big model (and earlier GNS theory), the three creative agendas are families of creative priorities that apply to a period of play. I prefer to understand the agendas by the central creative ...
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2answers
710 views

Does a proper Gamist-Narrativist hybrid system exist?

I was thinking on some game design issues, and I realized that I had never actually run across a proper Gamist-Narrativist system designed to equally support both kinds of play. I looked at this ...
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13answers
3k views

Why is the GM usually the driving force in RPG?

In my limited experience, the GM provides a story to the players, ant their "main" characters mostly react to the environment. Having a look at a couple of random highly-voted (and IMO high-quality) ...
86
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1answer
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How has D&D's guidance to DMs on when to extrapolate from written rules and when to improvise changed over time?

This answer (to a question about a levitating character trying to catch an object that exceeds the spell's weight limit in D&D 2e) states that: The spell levitate has a maximum weight limit, ...
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3answers
1k views

Do universal rules systems without any implied setting whatsoever exist?

Is it possible for a system to be universal without implying anything about setting? If it isn't, why? There are lots of universal systems, but they all seem to have mechanics that pin down ...
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3answers
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What is “RPG Theory?”

I first encountered this term a couple of months ago. A site search here found it tied into the gaming social contract here. Now that I've found it over here, I'd really like to know. What exactly is ...
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7answers
5k views

What makes a character/creature/power/ability/etc. over-powered?

In generic terms, what makes something, regardless of what game it's being used in, over powered? I hear the term a lot, and while I can recognize it when I see it in-play (often due to someone ...
24
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9answers
4k views

What is an example of a “Pure” Simulationist system?

According to the GNS Theory, there are three main different sorts of games: Gamist, Narrativist, and Simulationist. I won't bother giving their descriptions here because the link sums them up better ...
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11answers
5k views

What's the difference between a roleplaying game and a board game?

What's the difference between a roleplaying game and a non-roleplaying tabletop game? An RPG using miniatures looks (at a glance) a lot like a non-RP miniatures game. Some RPGs use cards, but they'...
6
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4answers
2k views

RPG Systems with Attribute-based learning speed

I'm a first time poster (but an old time lurker on stackoverflow). I'm implementing a RPG system (personal use only) that is currently in beta testing. The idea for skills and progression is that ...
21
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4answers
720 views

What analyses exist of capitalist economies in “modern” setting RPGs?

A number of questions exist on stack-exchange discussing feudal economies in RPGs, indicating a number of essays regarding feudal economics in RPG. What equivalent essay analyses exist of game ...
12
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5answers
457 views

How do I return enjoyment to self-defeating strategies?

This question inspired by Self-defeating Strategy that posits: What happens when players outwit their enemies, leading to their easy defeat? In most other games, this is a perfectly valid, often ...
10
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2answers
1k views

How can I make sure my character is awesome enough?

This question pulls quite a lot from Brian Ballsun-Stanton's paper on constrained optimisation (i.e. making your character awesome), so that might be a good thing to read. I know that in D&D ...
14
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7answers
2k views

What qualifies exploration gaming?

In the run up to DnD Next the designers seem to have categorised gamers and/or classes that focus on Combat, Roleplay and Exploration. See this quote from Mike Mearls: "Setting aside mechanics, I ...
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10answers
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What characterizes a “Modern” role playing game or gaming system? [closed]

I recently read about D&D clones in another question (I forget where I saw it) and noticed comments referring to gaming systems that were clones of D&D as "Old School" while others ...
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2answers
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What is/are the basic mathematical models for skill-check based systems?

It seems that there is some model-agnostic thinking around skill-check based systems, and I'm interested in finding out what designers use to model them. Ignoring the dice for a moment, and stating ...
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6answers
555 views

Have there been any games specifically designed in response to Edwards' “Big Model”? [closed]

Love it or hate it, the Big Model (and the GNS theory that is the root of the model) has become a part of the RPG landscape. As a frequent GM, I actually find the model useful for thinking through ...