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Questions tagged [rpg-theory]

For questions about RPG theory, 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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18 votes
2 answers
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What is the collective name of the four points in the narrative where a roll might be called for?

The Forge author Ron Edwards once said that a game could theoretically ask a player to roll at four different points during the execution of any action. I think the four steps were: roll to see if ...
Zachiel's user avatar
  • 35.3k
-4 votes
1 answer
186 views

When designing a medieval style Tabletop RPG, which style has proven more popular: historically accurate social views, or modern views? [closed]

In the wake of recent events, I've become honestly curious as to what sales figures and/or other social media metrics might reveal about our shifting views regarding what is or is not popular and ...
nijineko's user avatar
  • 11.8k
3 votes
0 answers
272 views

Categorisation of GM Types [closed]

RPG theory seems to recognise the differences between player interests, and acknowledge a few loose categories/archetypes thereof - the tongue-in-cheek four in the Munchkin File, expanded to the more ...
vicky_molokh- unsilence Monica's user avatar
9 votes
1 answer
239 views

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

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, ...
Tommi's user avatar
  • 10.3k
0 votes
1 answer
250 views

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 ...
manuelBetancurt's user avatar
22 votes
6 answers
4k views

What is the general term for a tabletop RPG with no conventional game mechanics?

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 ...
enkryptor's user avatar
  • 70.3k
5 votes
1 answer
278 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 ...
Tommi's user avatar
  • 10.3k
7 votes
2 answers
624 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 (...
Tommi's user avatar
  • 10.3k
18 votes
1 answer
559 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 ...
Tommi's user avatar
  • 10.3k
43 votes
4 answers
5k 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 ...
Bob Tway's user avatar
  • 5,264
8 votes
1 answer
703 views

What can I read about how we tie the stochastic characteristics of task resolution into statements about a game system's aesthetics?

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 ...
Please stop being evil's user avatar
5 votes
2 answers
433 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 ...
Tommi's user avatar
  • 10.3k
-2 votes
2 answers
960 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 ...
user avatar
38 votes
16 answers
4k views

Why is the GM usually the driving force in RPG?

In my limited experience, the GM provides a story to the players, and their "main" characters mostly react to the environment. Having a look at a couple of random highly-voted (and IMO high-...
Vorac's user avatar
  • 4,169
101 votes
1 answer
31k views

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, ...
Jeff Fry's user avatar
  • 8,469
14 votes
3 answers
2k 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 ...
schlossblick's user avatar
17 votes
3 answers
2k views

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 ...
LitheOhm's user avatar
  • 9,557
57 votes
7 answers
7k 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 ...
Zach's user avatar
  • 8,481
25 votes
9 answers
8k 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 ...
user avatar
49 votes
11 answers
7k 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'...
Joe's user avatar
  • 17.1k
6 votes
4 answers
2k views

RPG Systems with Attribute-based learning speed [closed]

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 ...
Duralumin's user avatar
  • 473
21 votes
4 answers
887 views

What analyses exist of capitalist economies in "modern" setting RPGs? [closed]

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 ...
Samuel Russell's user avatar
12 votes
5 answers
484 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 ...
Brian Ballsun-Stanton's user avatar
10 votes
2 answers
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 ...
AncientSwordRage's user avatar
15 votes
7 answers
3k 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 ...
AncientSwordRage's user avatar
54 votes
10 answers
5k views

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 ...
Haacked's user avatar
  • 651
12 votes
2 answers
3k views

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 ...
F. Randall Farmer's user avatar
11 votes
6 answers
684 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 ...
rjstreet's user avatar
  • 2,562
38 votes
16 answers
2k views

Do role-playing games have to be fun? [closed]

There is a hypothesis that entertaining activities (like role-playing games) should be "fun." Quotes like "It doesn't matter, as long as you're having fun" and "The rules aren't important as long as ...
PiHalbe's user avatar
  • 1,284