Character creation is the process of defining a game character or other character. A character's individual strengths and weaknesses are represented by a set of statistics. Games with a fictional setting may include traits such as race and class. Games with a more contemporary or narrower setting may limit customization to physical and personality traits. Character creation is the first step taken by the players in preparation for a game; the result of character creation is a direct characterization, recorded on a character sheet. In its most comprehensive form it includes not only a game-specific representation of the character's physical, mental and social properties in terms of statistics, but often less formal descriptions of the character’s physical appearance, personal back-story and possessions. During play, only a character’s appearance is described explicitly while other traits are characterized indirectly, with the exact statistics known to the character’s player and the game master, but not to other players.
Character advancement refers to the improvement of a character’s statistics in the game. The player will modify existing stats and add new ones by spending experience points or when gaining a new experience level. Character advancement uses similar rules as character creation. To avoid unrealistic sudden changes in character concept, character advancement is more restricted than the initial character creation. For example, attributes are always harder to change during character advancement; the term character development is, in some contexts, used interchangeably with character advancement, whereas elsewhere character development refers instead to the player’s indirect characterization of the character through role-playing. A character’s initial attribute scores are either generated randomly or determined by distributing character points, some systems use a combination of both possibilities; some game systems allow attribute scores to be increased in the game in a way similar to skills by some sort of point distribution system.
Characters can gain a number of skills. What types of skills the characters can learn and how they can be learned depends on if the character creation system is “class based” or “skill based”; the process of creating a character for a given game involves a number of decisions: What advantages and disadvantages will the character have? What particular statistic will a certain value be assigned to? What values are there to assign anyway? For most of them, there will be a rule outlining by whom. Most of these rules can be classified into one of the three groups described below, they differ in several aspects, the most prominent being ease of use as well as game balance and diversity of the generated results. So, most decisions in character creation are made according to the following principles: Prescription: The decision is predetermined by the rules, or it is made by the game master prior to character creation. Examples would be the skill bonuses a character gets from his attributes in many games or the amount of character points a player gets to use for character creation.
This method facilitates fast and easy decisions that are to be balanced according to the judgement of the game’s author and the game master, but doesn’t allow for variation if not combined with other options. In an extreme case, characters are predesigned by the author of a scenario, but then, players may choose their character from the selection provided; this technique is used to save time for short games run on gaming conventions. Random Choice: Random choices are made by rolling dice and either using the result directly or looking it up in a table, depending on the decision, to be made. For example, in Dungeons & Dragons 3rd edition the player rolls 4d6 and adds the highest three numbers to generate an ability score from 3 to 18. In the first editions of the Stormbringer roleplaying game, the character’s race and class both are determined by rolling 1d100 and looking up the result in the appropriate table. A random generation system allows the full range of values to be generated for each stat, leading to a great diversity among newly generated characters.
Thus, it is possible for a character to start the game with all-maximum scores. On the other hand, players have little control over the scores, rolling low scores can be frustrating for some players; this method is less concerned with game balance than with ease of use. Player’s Choice: Another option is to let the player make decisions within defined restrictions; these restrictions involve allowing players to distribute a number of character points among various statistics. In such a point distribution system, higher scores cost more points per level than lower ones, costs may vary between statistics within a category. There is an upper and lower limit for each score. Additional constraints may apply, depending on the game system. How these points are spent will determine if the character will refer to himself as a warrior, a thief, or a sc
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
A player character is a fictional character in a role-playing game or video game whose actions are directly controlled by a player of the game rather than the rules of the game. The characters that are not controlled by a player are called non-player characters; the actions of non-player characters are handled by the game itself in video games, or according to rules followed by a gamemaster refereeing tabletop role-playing games. The player character functions as a fictional, alternate body for the player controlling the character. Video games have one player character for each person playing the game; some games offer a group of player characters for the player to choose from, allowing the player to control one of them at a time. Where more than one player character is available, the characters may have different abilities and weaknesses to make the game play style different. A player character may sometimes be based on a real person in sports games that use the names and likenesses of real sports people.
Historical people and leaders may sometimes appear as characters too in strategy or empire building games such as in Sid Meier's Civilization series. Curiously, in the case of Civilization, a player's chosen historical character is the same throughout the course of the game despite the fact that a campaign can last several hundred years before and after the lifetime of the real historical persona; such a player character is more properly an avatar as the player character's name and image have little bearing on the game itself. Avatars are commonly seen in casino game simulations. In many video games, first-person shooters, the player character is a "blank slate" without any notable characteristics or backstory. Pac-Man, Crono and Chell are examples of such characters; these characters are silent protagonists. Some games will go further, never showing or naming the player-character at all; this is somewhat common in first-person videogames, such as in Myst, but is more done in strategy video games such as Dune 2000 and Emperor: Battle for Dune.
In such games, the only real indication that the player has a character, is from the cutscenes during which the character is being given a mission briefing or debriefing. In gaming culture, such a character was called Ageless, Gender-Neutral, Culturally Ambiguous Adventure Person, abbreviated as AFGNCAAP. Fighting games have a larger number of player characters to choose from, with some basic moves available to all or most characters and some unique moves only available to one or a few characters. Having many different characters to play as and against, all possessing different moves and abilities, is necessary to create a larger gameplay variety in such games. In role playing games such as Dungeons & Dragons or Final Fantasy, a player creates or takes on the identity of a character that may have nothing in common with the player; the character is of a certain race and class, each with strengths and weaknesses. The attributes of the characters are given as numerical values which can be increased as the gamer progresses and gains rank and experience points through accomplishing goals or fighting enemies.
A secret or unlockable character is a playable character in a video game available only after completing the game or meeting another requirement. In some video games, characters that are not secret but appear only as non-player characters like bosses or enemies become playable characters after completing certain requirements, or sometimes cheating. Alternate character Avatar Non-player character
A gamemaster is a person who acts as an organizer, officiant for regarding rules and moderator for a multiplayer role-playing game. They are more common in co-operative games in which players work together than in competitive games in which players oppose each other; the act performed by a gamemaster is sometimes referred to as "Gamemastering" or "GM-ing". The role of a gamemaster in a traditional table-top role-playing game is to weave the other participants' player-character stories together, control the non-player aspects of the game, create environments in which the players can interact, solve any player disputes; the basic role of the gamemaster is the same in all traditional role-playing games, although differing rule sets make the specific duties of the gamemaster unique to that system. The role of a gamemaster in an online game is to enforce the game's rules and provide general customer service. Unlike gamemasters in traditional role-playing games, gamemasters for online games in some cases are paid employees.
The term gamemaster and the role associated with it could be found in the postal gaming hobby. In typical play-by-mail games, players control armies or civilizations and mail their chosen actions to the GM; the GM mails the updated game state to all players on a regular basis. Usage in a wargaming context includes Guidon Games 1973 ruleset, Ironclad. In a role-playing game context, it was first used by Dave Arneson while developing his game Blackmoor in 1971, although the first usage in print may have been Chivalry & Sorcery; each gaming system has its own name for the role of the gamemaster, such as "judge", "narrator", "referee", "director", or "storyteller", these terms not only describe the role of the gamemaster in general but help define how the game is intended to be run. For example, the Storyteller System used in White Wolf Game Studio's storytelling games calls its GM the "storyteller", while the rules- and setting-focused Marvel Super Heroes role-playing game calls its GM the "judge".
The cartoon inspired role-playing game Toon calls its GM the "animator". A few games apply system- or setting-specific flavorful names to the GM, such as the Keeper of Arcane Lore; the gamemaster prepares the game session for the players and the characters they play, describes the events taking place and decides on the outcomes of players' decisions. The gamemaster keeps track of non-player characters and random encounters, as well as of the general state of the game world; the game session can be metaphorically described as a play, in which the players are the lead actors, the GM provides the stage, the scenery, the basic plot on which the improvisational script is built, as well as all the bit parts and supporting characters. Gamemasters can be in charge of RPG board games making the events and setting challenges. GMs may choose to run a game based on a published game world, with the maps and history in place. Alternatively, the GM may build their own script their own adventures. A good gamemaster draws the players into the adventure.
Good gamemasters have quick minds, sharp wits, rich imaginations. Gamemasters must maintain game balance: hideously overpowered monsters or players are no fun, it was noted, in 1997, that those who favor their left-brain such as skilled code writers do not make it in the ethereal gamemaster world of storytelling and verse. Author: The GM plans out the plot of the story of which the player characters will become heroes. Director: During the game, while each of the other players controls the actions of one of the player characters, the GM decides the actions of all the NPCs as they are needed; the GM may direct a particular "NPC" that travels with the party, but this may be open to abuse since the Game Master having a "pet" NPC may compromise their neutrality. Referee: In most tabletop RPGs, the rules are supplied to resolve conflicting situations; the GM is expected to provide any necessary interpretation of those rules in fuzzier situations. The GM may approve or provide House Rules in order to cover these corner cases or provide a different gaming experience.
Manager: The least prescribed portion of GMing, thus the part that takes people the most by surprise. The GM is the one to organize the game in the first place, find players, schedule sessions, figure out a place to play, as well as acting as a mediator and having to balance the needs and desires of all participants—sometimes having to divine the real desires of indecisive or inexperienced players. In early virtual worlds gamemasters served as a administrator. Gamemastering in the form found in traditional role-playing games has been used in a semi-automatic virtual worlds. However, human moderation was sometimes considered unfair or out of context in an otherwise automated world; as online games expanded, gamemaster duties expanded to include being a customer service representative for an online community. A gamemaster in s