Drew Karpyshyn is a Canadian video game scenario writer and novelist. He served as a senior writer for BioWare's Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic and lead writer for the first two Mass Effect video games, he left BioWare in 2012 to focus on his Chaos Born novels, returned to it three years in 2015. On March 9, 2018, he announced. Karpyshyn was at one point employed as a loan officer. Following a car accident, he returned to college, gaining a degree in English, he got his start as a game designer for Wizards of the Coast, he has written two novels for Wizards of the Coast, both published in 2001 and both set in the Forgotten Realms setting: Baldur’s Gate II: Throne of Bhaal and Temple Hill. Karpyshyn joined the video game company BioWare in 2000, he wrote the scenario and much of the dialogue for Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, was one of the lead writers and planners on Jade Empire, as well as working on several games in the Baldur's Gate series. His next major project was the Mass Effect series of games.
His third book, Darth Bane: Path of Destruction was published by Del Rey Ballantine Books in 2006. Mass Effect was named Game of the Year, in addition to receiving four other awards at the 2008 Elan Awards. Karpyshyn moved to Texas to help with Star Wars: The Old Republic, he left BioWare in February 2012 to focus more on his own projects. He returned to BioWare 3 years in 2015 to focus on the post-release development of SWTOR, he started working on Anthem, a new game developed by Bioware. On March 9, 2018, he announced he would once again be leaving BioWare to work on other things, including more original novels, co-creating a sci-fi graphic novel, freelance gaming work. In March 2000, Karpyshyn appeared on an episode of Jeopardy!. He is a fan of the NFL's San Diego Chargers, he believes that in the NFL, Bill Belichick is most to follow the ways of the Sith, Peyton Manning is the most to be a Jedi. Though his musical tastes lean more to what he calls "mainstream alternative", such as the Foo Fighters and Green Day, he enjoys Sage Francis' song "The Best of Times".
He prefers to write at night without any music playing. He lived in Sherwood Park, Canada, with his wife Jennifer. In the spring of 2009, he moved with his family to Texas. Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn Baldur's Gate II: Throne of Bhaal Neverwinter Nights Neverwinter Nights: Hordes of the Underdark Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic Jade Empire Mass Effect Mass Effect 2 Star Wars: The Old Republic Anthem Baldur's Gate II: Throne of Bhaal Temple Hill Star Wars - Darth Bane: Path of Destruction Star Wars - Darth Bane: Rule of Two Star Wars - Darth Bane: Dynasty of Evil Star Wars: The Old Republic: Revan Star Wars: The Old Republic: Annihilation Mass Effect: Revelation Mass Effect: Ascension Mass Effect: Retribution Children of Fire The Scorched Earth Chaos Unleashed Official website Drew Karpyshyn at Wizards of the Coast Drew Karpyshyn at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database Interviews Drew Karpyshyn on Ten Minute Interviews Drew Karpyshyn Interview with RoqooDepot.com Drew Karpyshyn Star Wars Celebration VI Interview with RoqooDepot.com Drew Karpyshyn'Annihilation' Interview with RoqooDepot.com Drew Karpyshyn Interview with Game-Spectrum at the Internet Archive "Drew Karpyshyn:: Pen & Paper RPG Database".
Archived from the original on 2005-01-17
Ed Greenwood is a Canadian-born fantasy writer and the original creator of the Forgotten Realms game world. He began writing articles about the Forgotten Realms for Dragon magazine beginning in 1979, subsequently sold the rights to the setting to TSR, the creators of the Dungeons & Dragons roleplaying game, in 1986, he has written many Forgotten Realms novels, as well as numerous articles and D&D game supplement books. Ed Greenwood grew up in the upscale Toronto suburb of Don Mills, he began writing stories about the Forgotten Realms starting in the mid 1960s. Greenwood conceived of the Forgotten Realms as one world in a "multiverse" of parallel worlds which includes the Earth, he imagined such worlds as being the source of humanity's legends. Greenwood soon became a regular player, he used the Realms as a setting for his campaigns, which centered around the fictional locales of Waterdeep and Shadowdale, locations that would figure prominently in his writing. According to Greenwood, his players' thirst for detail pushed him to further develop the Forgotten Realms setting: "They want it to seem real, work on'honest jobs' and personal activities, until the whole thing into far more than a casual campaign."Beginning with the periodical's 30th issue in 1979, Greenwood published a series of short articles that detailed the setting in The Dragon magazine, the first of, about a monster known as The Curst.
He wrote voluminous entries to Dragon magazine, using the Realms as a setting for his descriptions of magic items and spells. In 1986, the American game publishing company TSR began looking for a new campaign setting for the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons game, assigned Jeff Grubb to find out more about the setting used by Greenwood in his articles for Dragon magazine. According to Greenwood, Grubb asked him "Do you just make this stuff up as you go, or do you have a huge campaign world?". TSR felt that the Forgotten Realms would be a more open-ended setting than the epic Dragonlance setting, chose the Realms as a ready-made campaign for AD&D 2nd Edition. Greenwood agreed to work on the project, began to prepare his Forgotten Realms material for official publication, he sent TSR a few dozen cardboard boxes stuffed with pencil notes and maps, sold all rights to the Realms for a token fee. The following year, Greenwood used this material as a basis for writing the Forgotten Realms Campaign Set along with coauthor Jeff Grubb.
The campaign setting was a major success, Greenwood continued to be involved with all subsequent incarnations of the Forgotten Realms in D&D. He retained the rights to his fictional universe and went on to write numerous Forgotten Realms novels. Many of these center around the wizard Elminster, whom Greenwood has portrayed at conventions and gaming events. Greenwood feels his work on the Realms that he likes best are "those products that impart some of the richness and color of the Realms, such as the novel I wrote with Jeff Grubb, Cormyr, he found that it has been easy to keep his enthusiasm for the Realms over the years, as so many people care about it, ask him questions about the world's lore, share with him what they have done. He has stated that the Forgotten Realms, as run by him in his own games, is more "dark" and edgy than it is in sanctioned, published works. Greenwood has been contributing editor and creative editor of Dragon magazine. Greenwood has published over two hundred articles in Dragon Magazine and Polyhedron Newszine, is a lifetime charter member of the Role Playing Game Association network, has been Gen Con Game Fair guest of honor many times.
Greenwood has written over thirty-five novels for TSR, written, co-written, or contributed to over two hundred books and game products from other publishers. Greenwood has contributed to The Book of All Flesh, an anthology based on All Flesh Must Be Eaten, written short stories based on the Silver Age Sentinels role-playing game. Greenwood's Castlemourn setting was published by Margaret Weis Productions, he is co-creator of the Mornmist fantasy setting. He has contributed to most Forgotten Realms gaming accessories, authored many more—including the detailed Volo's Guide series—and continues to DM his own campaign, he writes regular Realmslore columns for the Wizards of the Coast website. In addition to all these activities, Greenwood works as a library clerk and has edited over a dozen small press magazines; when not appearing at conventions, he lives in an old farmhouse in the countryside of Ontario. As of 1998, Greenwood lived in applegrowing country on Lake Ontario, still working full-time at the North York Community Library, as he had since 1974, continued to run his original Waterdeep campaign with the same core group he started with, albeit meeting only sporadically.
He has stated that it is important for people who do freelance writing for roleplaying games to be active as both players and as dungeon masters. Greenwood is an award-winning game designer, he was inducted into the Gamer's Choice Hall of Fame in 1992 and the Academy of Adventure Gaming's Hall of Fame in 2003. Shandril's Saga Spellfire.
Faerûn is a fictional continent, the primary setting of the Dungeons & Dragons world of Forgotten Realms. It is described in detail in the Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting from Wizards of the Coast, various locales and aspects are described in more depth in separate campaign setting books. Around a hundred novels and several computer and video games use the Faerûn setting. Economically and technologically, Faerûn is comparable to Western Europe during the late Middle Ages, giving most new players using this campaign setting an intuitive grasp of the way the society functions. Gunpowder, known here as the magical substance smoke powder and different in its composition from historical gunpowder, is starting to make an appearance, but much of the armament is still dominated by pre-gunpowder weaponry such as swords and bows. Most of the population of Faerûn consists of farmers, who are organized somewhat loosely in a semi-feudal system. There are a number of notable cities, trade between nations is common, as in the Renaissance era.
There are regions where more barbaric tribes and customs persist. A major difference between the setting and Earth is the presence of magic; the system of magic is subdivided into divine and arcane categories, with the former empowered by a Faerûnian deity, the latter by rituals or innate abilities which manipulate a mystical field called the Weave, the source of magical energies on Toril. Faerûn has a pantheon of deities; these are comparable to mythological deities of the ancient Greek pantheon, cover a range of ethical beliefs and portfolios of interests. Faerûn is home to a number of non-human creatures of varying degrees of barbarism. Among these are several different races of dwarves, gnomes and elves, as well as goblins, lizardmen, various giants, dragons. There are a number of organized alliances with each pursuing their own particular agenda. A few are dedicated to decent and honest causes, such as the Harpers, who protect the good-natured races and seek a balance between civilization and nature.
The Harpers are opposed by evil organizations, including the Red Wizards of Thay and the nihilistic Cult of the Dragon. In the northern lands, the Zhentarim is an evil network seeking to dominate the region, their efforts are being resisted by the Lords' Alliance, a council of knights that pursues the interests of the northern cities. Other organizations of Faerûn include the magical Seven Sisters, a band of assassins called the Fire Knives, a group of ruthless thieves operating out the city of Waterdeep named Xanathar's Guild, the mysterious Shades—-the returning survivors of the long-fallen Netheril empire; the sub-continent of Faerûn is set on the planet Toril, or, more formally, "Abeir-Toril." Faerûn is the western part of an unnamed supercontinent, quite similar to real-world Afro-Eurasia. This continent includes Kara-Tur, the original setting of the D&D Oriental Adventures campaign setting, Zakhara, home to the Arabian Nights setting Al-Qadim. Maztica, home of a tribal, Aztec-like civilization is far to the west, across an Atlantic-like ocean called the Trackless Sea.
The subterranean regions underneath Faerûn are called the Underdark. Faerûn includes terrain, as varied as that of Europe, western Asia, much of Africa is on our planet Earth. Role-playing campaigns in Faerûn can be set in a wide variety of locations, each with its own hazards and potential rewards for the participants; the region that the players explore can determine what types of monsters they will face, which famous individuals they will encounter, what types of missions they assume. Besides the exterior coastline to the west and south, the most dominant feature on the continent is the Sea of Fallen Stars; this is an irregular inland sea that keeps the neighboring lands fertile and serves as a major trade route for the bordering nations. Next in significance is the Shaar, a broad region of grasslands in the south that, together with a large body of water called the Lake of Steam, separates the area around the inland sea from the coastal nations at the southern edge of the continent. To the east, Faerûn is bordered by a vast region of steppe.
In the north are massive glaciers, named Pelvuria and Reghed, a region of tundra. South of the continent, separated by the Great Sea, is a sub-tropical land called Zakhara. To the northwest, Faerûn is a region of wilderness, difficult winter weather, hordes of orcs, barbarous human tribes; this region is referred to as "The North". It is a mostly-untamed region that lies between the large Anauroch desert in the east and the expansive Sea of Swords to the west; this area contains huge wooded regions such as the High Forest and the Lurkwood, the frozen Icewind Dale to the north, an untamed region called the Savage Frontier, which includes the Silver Marches. The coastal region is called the Sword Coast. Here lies the large port city of Waterdeep. Deep inland are the ancient dwarven citadels of Mithral Hall, Citadel Felbarr and, the largest of the three, Citadel Adbar., featured in the Legacy of the Drow series of novels. This area is one of the most popular regions for role-playing campaigns set in Faerûn, has been the setting for a number of popular role-playing video games.
North of the Sea of Fallen Stars is a region that stretches from the wide Anauroch desert in the west to the eastern edge of the inland Moonsea, in the northern region of the continent. It is a region of contrasts, with the forested Dalelands, the desert wastes of Anauroch, the coastline of the Moonsea with the infamous Zhentil Keep, the bitterly cold steppes
Forgotten Realms is a campaign setting for the Dungeons & Dragons fantasy role-playing game. Referred to by players and game designers alike as "The Realms", it was created by game designer Ed Greenwood around 1967 as a setting for his childhood stories. Several years Greenwood brought the setting to the D&D game as a series of magazine articles, the first Realms game products were released in 1987. Role-playing game products have been produced for the setting since, as have various licensed products including novels, role-playing video game adaptations, comic books; the Forgotten Realms is one of the most popular D&D settings due to the success of novels by authors such as R. A. Salvatore and numerous role-playing video games, including Pool of Radiance, Eye of the Beholder, Baldur's Gate, Icewind Dale and Neverwinter Nights; the Forgotten Realms is a fantasy world setting, described as a world of strange lands, dangerous creatures, mighty deities, where magic and supernatural phenomena are quite real.
The premise is that, long ago, the Earth and the world of the Forgotten Realms were more connected. As time passed, the inhabitants of planet Earth have forgotten about the existence of that other world – hence the name Forgotten Realms. On the original Forgotten Realms logo, used until 2000, small runic letters read "Herein lie the lost lands", an allusion to the connection between the two worlds; the focus of the Forgotten Realms setting is the continent of Faerûn, part of the fictional world of Abeir-Toril called Toril, an Earth-like planet with many real-world influences. Unlike Earth, the lands of the Forgotten Realms are not all ruled by the human race: the planet Toril is shared by humans, elves, goblins and other peoples and creatures. Technologically, the world of the Forgotten Realms is not nearly as advanced as that of Earth. However, the presence of magic provides an additional element of power to the societies. There are several nation states and many independent cities, with loose alliances being formed for defense or conquest.
Trade is performed by ship or horse-drawn vehicle, manufacturing is based upon cottage industry. Toril consists of several large continents, including Faerûn, the western part of a continent, modeled after the Eurasian continent on Earth. Faerûn was first detailed in the original Forgotten Realms Campaign Set, published in 1987 by TSR; the other continents include Kara-Tur, Zakhara and other yet unspecified landmasses. Kara-Tur corresponding to ancient East Asia, was the focus of its own source book Kara-Tur: The Eastern Realms, published in 1988. There is a vast subterranean world called the Underdark beneath the surface. Various products detailing specific areas of Faerûn, such as the 2nd edition FR13 Anauroch, FR15 Gold and Glory, FR16 The Shining South, FRS1 The Dalelands, have been released, through these much of the continent has been detailed and documented, creating a developed setting. In early editions of the setting, The Realms shared a unified cosmology with various other campaign settings called the Great Wheel.
In this way each of the Dungeons & Dragons campaign settings were linked together to form one interwoven world connected by various planes of existence. With the release of the 2001 Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting, the setting was given its own distinct and separate cosmological arrangement, with unique planes not explicitly connected to those of the other settings. Religion plays a large part in the Forgotten Realms, with deities and their followers being an integral part of the world, they do not have a passive role, but in fact interact directly in mortal affairs, answer prayers, have their own personal agendas. All deities must have worshipers to survive, all mortals must worship a patron deity to secure a good afterlife. A huge number of diverse deities exist within several polytheistic pantheons. Much of the history of The Realms detailed in novels and source books concerns the actions of various deities and The Chosen such as Elminster, Fzoul Chembryl and the Seven Sisters. Above all other deities is the Overlord.
Ao does not sanction distances himself from mortals. He is single-handedly responsible for the Time of Troubles, or Godswar, as seen in The Avatar Trilogy; the setting is the home of several iconic characters popularized by authors, including Elminster the wizard, who has appeared in several series of novels created by Greenwood himself, Drizzt Do'Urden, the popular Drow, or dark elf, ranger created by R. A. Salvatore. Ed Greenwood began writing stories about the Forgotten Realms as a child, starting around 1967. Greenwood came up with the Forgotten Realms name from the notion of a multiverse of parallel worlds. In Greenwood's original conception, the fantastic legends of Earth derive from a fantasy world, the way to, lost. Greenwood discovered the Dungeons & Dragons game in 1975, became a serious role-playing enthusiast with the first AD&D game releases in 1978; the setting became the home of Greenwood's personal campaign. Greenwood began a Realms campaign in the city of Waterdeep started another group known
Editions of Dungeons & Dragons
Several different editions of the Dungeons & Dragons fantasy role-playing game have been produced since 1974. The current publisher of D&D, Wizards of the Coast, produces new materials only for the most current edition of the game. Many D&D fans, continue to play older versions of the game and some third-party companies continue to publish materials compatible with these older editions. After the original edition of D&D was introduced in 1974, the game was split into two branches in 1977: the rules-light system of Dungeons & Dragons and the more complex, rules-heavy system of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons; the standard game was expanded into a series of five box sets by the mid-1980s before being compiled and revised in 1991 as the Dungeons & Dragons Rules Cyclopedia. Meanwhile, the 2nd edition of AD&D was published in 1989. In 2000, the 3rd edition, called Dungeons & Dragons, debuted; the 4th edition was published in 2008. The 5th edition was released in 2014; the original D&D was published as a box set in 1974 and featured only a handful of the elements for which the game is known today: just three character classes.
The rules assumed that players owned and played the miniatures wargame Chainmail and used its measurement and combat systems. An optional combat system was included within the rules that developed into the sole combat system of versions of the game. In addition, the rules presumed ownership of Outdoor Survival, a board game by then-unaffiliated company Avalon Hill for outdoor exploration and adventure. D&D was a radically new gaming concept at the time, it was difficult for players without prior tabletop wargaming experience to grasp the vague rules; the release of the Greyhawk supplement removed the game's dependency on the Chainmail rules, made it much easier for new, non-wargaming players to grasp the concepts of play. It inadvertently aided the growth of competing game publishers, since just about anyone who grasped the concepts behind the game could write smoother and easier to use rules systems and sell them to the growing D&D fanbase. Supplements such as Greyhawk, Eldritch Wizardry and Gods, Demi-Gods & Heroes, published over the next two years expanded the rules, character classes and spells.
For example, the original Greyhawk supplement introduced the thief class, weapon damage varying by weapon. In addition, many additions and options were published in the magazines The Strategic Review and its successor, The Dragon. An updated version of D&D was released between 1979 as Advanced Dungeons & Dragons; the game rules were reorganized and re-codified across three hardcover rulebooks, compiled by Gary Gygax, incorporating the original D&D rules and many additions and revisions from supplements and magazine articles. The three core rulebooks were the Monster Manual, the Player's Handbook, the Dungeon Master's Guide. Major additions included classes from supplements like assassin, monk and thief, while bard and ranger, which had only appeared in magazine articles, were added to the core rulebooks. Supplements for AD&D included Deities & Demigods, Fiend Folio, Monster Manual II, Oriental Adventures and Unearthed Arcana, the latter of which compiled material published in Dragon magazine, others.
While AD&D was still in the works, TSR was approached by an outside writer and D&D enthusiast, John Eric Holmes, who offered to re-edit and rewrite the original rules into an introductory version of D&D. Although TSR was focused on AD&D at the time, the project was seen as a profitable enterprise and a way to direct new players to anticipate the release of the AD&D game, it was published in July 1977 as the Basic Set, collecting together and organizing the rules from the original D&D boxed set and Greyhawk supplement into a single booklet, which covered character levels 1 through 3, included dice and a beginner's module. The booklet featured a blue cover with artwork by David C. Sutherland III; the "blue booklet" explained the game's concepts and method of play in terms that made it accessible to new players not familiar with tabletop miniatures wargaming. Unusual features of this version included an alignment system of five alignments as opposed to the three or nine alignments of the other versions.
This Basic Set was popular and allowed many to discover and experience the D&D game for the first time. Although the Basic Set is not compatible with AD&D, as some rules were simplified to make the game easier for new players to learn, players were expected to continue play beyond third level by moving on to the AD&D version. Once AD&D had been released, the Basic Set saw a major revision in 1981 by Tom Moldvay, followed by the release of an Expert Set written by David Cook, to accompany the Basic Set, extending it to levels 4 through 14, for players who preferred the simplified introductory ruleset. With this revision, the Basic rules became their own game, distinct both from original D&D and AD&D; the revised Basic rules can be distinguished from the original ones by cover colors: the Basic booklet had a red cover, the Expert booklet a blue one. Between 1983 and 1985 this system was revised and expanded by Frank Mentzer as a series of five boxed sets, including the Basic Rules, Expert Rules, Companion Rules, Master Rules (black, supporting levels 26 through 3
Dungeons & Dragons
Dungeons & Dragons is a fantasy tabletop role-playing game designed by Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson. It was first published in 1974 by Tactical Studies Rules, Inc.. The game has been published by Wizards of the Coast since 1997, it was derived from miniature wargames, with a variation of the 1971 game Chainmail serving as the initial rule system. D&D's publication is recognized as the beginning of modern role-playing games and the role-playing game industry. D&D departs from traditional wargaming by allowing each player to create their own character to play instead of a military formation; these characters embark upon imaginary adventures within a fantasy setting. A Dungeon Master serves as the game's referee and storyteller, while maintaining the setting in which the adventures occur, playing the role of the inhabitants of the game world; the characters form a party and they interact with the setting's inhabitants and each other. Together they solve dilemmas, engage in battles, gather treasure and knowledge.
In the process, the characters earn experience points in order to rise in levels, become powerful over a series of separate gaming sessions. The early success of D&D led to a proliferation of similar game systems. Despite the competition, D&D has remained as the market leader in the role-playing game industry. In 1977, the game was split into two branches: the rules-light game system of basic Dungeons & Dragons, the more structured, rules-heavy game system of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons. AD&D 2nd Edition was published in 1989. In 2000, a new system was released as D&D 3rd edition, continuing the edition numbering from AD&D; these 3rd edition rules formed the basis of the d20 System, available under the Open Game License for use by other publishers. D&D 4th edition was released in June 2008; the 5th edition of D&D, the most recent, was released during the second half of 2014. As of 2004, D&D remained the best-known, best-selling, role-playing game, with an estimated 20 million people having played the game, more than US$1 billion in book and equipment sales.
The game has been supplemented by many pre-made adventures, as well as commercial campaign settings suitable for use by regular gaming groups. D&D is known beyond the game itself for other D&D-branded products, references in popular culture, some of the controversies that have surrounded it a moral panic in the 1980s falsely linking it to Satanism and suicide; the game has been translated into many languages. Dungeons & Dragons is a open-ended role-playing game, it is played indoors with the participants seated around a tabletop. Each player controls only a single character, which represents an individual in a fictional setting; when working together as a group, these player characters are described as a "party" of adventurers, with each member having their own area of specialty which contributes to the success of the whole. During the course of play, each player directs the actions of their character and their interactions with other characters in the game; this activity is performed through the verbal impersonation of the characters by the players, while employing a variety of social and other useful cognitive skills, such as logic, basic mathematics and imagination.
A game continues over a series of meetings to complete a single adventure, longer into a series of related gaming adventures, called a "campaign". The results of the party's choices and the overall storyline for the game are determined by the Dungeon Master according to the rules of the game and the DM's interpretation of those rules; the DM selects and describes the various non-player characters that the party encounters, the settings in which these interactions occur, the outcomes of those encounters based on the players' choices and actions. Encounters take the form of battles with "monsters" – a generic term used in D&D to describe hostile beings such as animals, aberrant beings, or mythical creatures; the game's extensive rules – which cover diverse subjects such as social interactions, magic use and the effect of the environment on PCs – help the DM to make these decisions. The DM may choose to deviate from the published rules or make up new ones if they feel it is necessary; the most recent versions of the game's rules are detailed in three core rulebooks: The Player's Handbook, the Dungeon Master's Guide and the Monster Manual.
The only items required to play the game are the rulebooks, a character sheet for each player, a number of polyhedral dice. Many players use miniature figures on a grid map as a visual aid during combat; some editions of the game presume such usage. Many optional accessories are available to enhance the game, such as expansion rulebooks, pre-designed adventures and various campaign settings. Before the game begins, each player creates their player character and records the details on a character sheet. First, a player determines their character's ability scores, which consist of Strength, Dexterity, Intelligence and Charisma; each edition of the game has offered differing methods of determining these statistics. The player chooses a race such as human or elf, a character class such as fighter or wizard, an alignment, other features to round out the character's abilities and backstory, which have varied in nature through differing editions. During the game, players describe their PC's intended actions, such as punching an opponent or pi
A role-playing game is a game in which players assume the roles of characters in a fictional setting. Players take responsibility for acting out these roles within a narrative, either through literal acting, or through a process of structured decision-making regarding character development. Actions taken within many games succeed or fail according to a formal system of rules and guidelines. There are several forms of role-playing games; the original form, sometimes called the tabletop role-playing game, is conducted through discussion, whereas in live action role-playing, players physically perform their characters' actions. In both of these forms, an arranger called a game master decides on the rules and setting to be used, while acting as the referee. Several varieties of RPG exist in electronic media, such as multiplayer text-based Multi-User Dungeons and their graphics-based successors, massively multiplayer online role-playing games. Role-playing games include single-player role-playing video games in which players control a character, or team of characters, who undertake quests, may include player capabilities that advance using statistical mechanics.
These electronic games sometimes share settings and rules with tabletop RPGs, but emphasize character advancement more than collaborative storytelling. This type of game is well-established, so some RPG-related game forms, such as trading/collectible card games and wargames, may not be included under the definition; some amount of role-playing activity may be present in such games. The term role-playing game is sometimes used to describe games involving roleplay simulation and exercises used in teaching and academic research. Both authors and major publishers of tabletop role-playing games consider them to be a form of interactive and collaborative storytelling. Events and narrative structure give a sense of a narrative experience, the game need not have a strongly-defined storyline. Interactivity is the crucial difference between traditional fiction. Whereas a viewer of a television show is a passive observer, a player in a role-playing game makes choices that affect the story; such role-playing games extend an older tradition of storytelling games where a small party of friends collaborate to create a story.
While simple forms of role-playing exist in traditional children's games of make believe, role-playing games add a level of sophistication and persistence to this basic idea with additions such as game facilitators and rules of interaction. Participants in a role-playing game will generate an ongoing plot. A consistent system of rules and a more or less realistic campaign setting in games aids suspension of disbelief; the level of realism in games ranges from just enough internal consistency to set up a believable story or credible challenge up to full-blown simulations of real-world processes. Role-playing games are played in a wide variety of formats ranging from discussing character interaction in tabletop form to physically acting out characters in LARP to playing characters in digital media. There is a great variety of systems of rules and game settings. Games that emphasize plot and character interaction over game mechanics and combat sometimes prefer the name storytelling game; these types of games tend to minimize or altogether eliminate the use of dice or other randomizing elements.
Some games are played with characters created before the game by the GM, rather than those created by the players. This type of game is played at gaming conventions, or in standalone games that do not form part of a campaign. Tabletop and pen-and-paper RPGs are conducted through discussion in a small social gathering; the GM describes its inhabitants. The other players describe the intended actions of their characters, the GM describes the outcomes; some outcomes are determined by the game system, some are chosen by the GM. This is the format; the first commercially available RPG, Dungeons & Dragons, was inspired by fantasy literature and the wargaming hobby and was published in 1974. The popularity of D&D led to the birth of the tabletop role-playing game industry, which publishes games with many different themes and styles of play; the popularity of tabletop games has decreased since the modern releases of online MMO RPGs. This format is referred to as a role-playing game. To distinguish this form of RPG from other formats, the retronyms tabletop role-playing game or pen and paper role-playing game are sometimes used, though neither a table nor pen and paper are necessary.
A LARP is played more like improvisational theatre. Participants act out their characters' actions instead of describing them, the real environment is used to represent the imaginary setting of the game world. Players are costumed as their characters and use appropriate props, the venue may be decorated to resemble the fictional setting; some live action role-playing games use rock-paper-scissors or comparison of attributes to resolve conflicts symbolically, while other LARPs use physical combat with simulated arms such as airsoft guns or foam weapons. LARPs vary in size from a handful of players to several thousand, in duration from a couple of hours to several days; because the number of players in a LARP is larger than in a tabletop role-playing game, the players may be interacting in separate physical spaces, there is less of an emphasis on maintaining a narrative or directly entertai