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
The Last Threshold
The Last Threshold is a novel by R. A. Salvatore set in the Forgotten Realms campaign setting, is the fourth book in the Neverwinter Saga, it was released on March 5, 2013. The Last Threshold reached 20 on The New York Times Best Seller list on March 24, 2013; the book entered the USA Today Top 150 on March 14, 2013, was on the USA Today Best-Selling Books list for 1 week, with #70 as its best week
Villains' Lorebook is an accessory for the Forgotten Realms campaign setting for the second edition of the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons fantasy role-playing game. The 160-page book features a two-page introduction, which explains that this book is companion volume to Heroes' Lorebook; the book compiles information from other sources, as well as 1989's Hall of Heroes. The book describes 29 characters, each including an illustration, game statistics, suggestions for campaign uses, a list of the sources consulted for each character's entry. Character descriptions appear on pages 6–59, include such notables as Artemis Entreri, Elaith Craulnober, Fzoul Chembryl, Halaster Blackcloak, Kymil Nimesin and Szass Tam; the book's center 16-page section presents a series of color illustrations depicting many of the characters described in the book in a variety of scenes. Pages 60–106 provides game statistics and descriptions for several monsters, as well as notable individual creatures like Errtu and Tyranthraxus.
A number of organizations are described on pages 107-126, such as the Cult of the Dragon, the Drow of Menzoberranzan, the Red Wizards of Thay, the Zhentarim. A number of magical items and spells are described on pages 127-157. A list of sources mentioned throughout the book can be found on pages 159 and 160; the book, with product code TSR 9552, was published in 1998, was written by Dale Donovan, with cover art by Todd Lockwood and interior art by David Martin, Fred Fields, Keith Parkinson, Jeff Easley, Paul Jaquays. Donovan, Dale. Villains' Lorebook. Review: Dragon #252 http://www.rpg.net/news+reviews/reviews/rev_764.html
Icewind Dale is a role-playing video game developed by Black Isle Studios and published by Interplay Entertainment for Windows in 2000 and by MacPlay for OS X in 2002. The game takes place in the Dungeons & Dragons Forgotten Realms campaign setting and the region of Icewind Dale, utilises the 2nd edition ruleset; the story follows a different set of events than those of R. A. Salvatore's The Icewind Dale Trilogy novels: in the game, an adventuring party becomes enlisted as a caravan guard while in Icewind Dale, in the wake of strange events, discover a plot that threatens the Ten Towns of Icewind Dale and beyond. Icewind Dale received positive reviews, being praised for its musical gameplay, it was a commercial success, with sales above 400,000 units worldwide by early 2001. An expansion, Icewind Dale: Heart of Winter, was released in 2001, a sequel, Icewind Dale II, followed in 2002. A remake by Overhaul Games, entitled Icewind Dale: Enhanced Edition, was published for several platforms in 2014.
Icewind Dale's gameplay operates on a similar basis to that of Baldur's Gate, in that it incorporates a modified version of the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd edition ruleset, with the rules' intricacies automatically computed. It uses a similar user interface though with cosmetic changes, focuses on combat against large groups of enemies, with dialogue driving the main story; the player is able to order a character to engage in movement, combat, or other actions such as pickpocketing within each game location. Combat has a real-time as opposed to a turn-based system, though with the option of pausing at any time so the player can give the party orders which are carried out when the game is resumed. Along with the same inventory system and paper-doll mechanics, the game's story is divided into chapters, with a journal system archiving quests and notable entries on specific story-related information from non-player characters. Players begin the game by creating an adventuring party of up to six characters, either by creating new characters or importing those from a previous game.
Each new character created requires the player to provide them with their name, race and alignment, determine their ability scores and weapon proficiencies. The class of a character affects what alignments are available to them, what weapons and combat styles they can use, how proficient they can be in them. Characters designated as thieves require the player to allocate points to the various thieving skills, spellcasters need a few 1st level spells selected for their spellbook and one memorised for use at the start of the game. Once a party is created, characters earn experience points in the game through completing quests and defeating enemies, level up upon earning enough. Leveling up will automatically increase a character's hit points, grants spellcasters access to more spell slots including higher levels of magic, sometimes allows additional weapon proficiencies, allows thieves to improve their thieving abilities. In the town of Easthaven a party of adventurers resting in its tavern are met by the town's leader, who invites them to join him on an expedition to investigate the town of Kuldahar, after a messenger sent from there reported of strange happenings.
On the road to Kuldahar, the expedition is ambushed by frost giants, who cause an avalanche, blocking the path back to Easthaven. With only the adventurers surviving, they continue to Kuldahar and meet with Arundel, the village's archdruid, who explains that a mysterious evil force has been kidnapping villagers, causing abnormal weather patterns and monster behaviour, resulting in the magical warmth provided by the giant tree that the village resides under to begin to recede. Asking for their help to discover the source of the evil before the tree dies, the adventurers begin by searching the Vale of Shadows, an area containing Kuldahar's crypts, due to rumours of undead creature sightings, but discover from a cursed barbarian spirit named Kresselack that the threat lies elsewhere. Reporting this back to the druid, Arundel instructs the group to retrieve an ancient scrying item called the Heartstone Gem, so he may discover the source of the evil more quickly. After finding that the gem was stolen from a temple that the druid suspected it to be in, the party travel to the caverns of Dragon's Eye, finding a number of the missing villagers being held there by lizard men, finding the gem being used by powerful demonic creature named Yxunomei.
After killing Yxunomei and retrieving the gem, the party return to find Kuldahar under attack, that a shapeshifter disguised as Arundel had attacked the archdruid. After the shapeshifter vanishes, the group find the real Arundel, who advises the party to take the Heartstone to Larrel at the fortress of the Severed Hand, the only one capable of using it now, before dying from his wounds. Arriving at the fortress, the party discover that Larrel had gone insane, aid him with a task he mentions, helping him to regain his sanity. Using the gem, Larrel discovers the source of the evil to reside in the former dwarven city of Dorn's Deep. Fighting their way through the city, the group come across the source of the evil in the form of a priest who came to the region – Brother Poquelin. Poquelin reveals himself to be a demon, exiled from his home realm by his superiors, that both he and Yxunomei maintained a vendetta against each other, getting out of control. Predicting she would following him to the material plane, the demon sought a base of operation in the region to form a military force that cou
Balor (Dungeons & Dragons)
In the Dungeons & Dragons fantasy roleplaying game, a balor is one of the most powerful types of tanar'ri demons. Of all the inhabitants of the Abyss, balors are second in power only to the demon lords and myrmyxicus. In first edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, balors were known as "type VI demons"; the balors found in Dungeons & Dragons have little relation to the mythical Balor of Irish mythology being based on the balrogs of The Lord of the Rings, some of its derivation can be seen in its physical description, with its fiery aura and flaming whip. In the original Dungeons & Dragons pamphlets, this breed of demon was known as balrog, but the name was revised in subsequent supplements to "type VI demon" so as not to infringe on J. R. R. Tolkien's copyright. In second edition AD&D, the name "type VI demon" was revised to "balor," taking the name of the greatest individual of their rank as the name for the entire breed. In second edition, balors now had vorpal swords. Gary Gygax, in his Gord the Rogue novels, has alternately called them conflagranti.
The type VI demon appeared under the demon entry in the Eldritch Wizardry supplement. The type VI demon appears in the first edition Monster Manual. In this incarnation of the game there were only six Type VI Demons in existence across all of the planes of the multiverse, they were ranked in power below only the Demon Lords and Princes of the Abyss, who were each unique in both name and form; each Type VI Demon had its own individual name as an indication of their importance and power, as lesser demons had only a species name, not individual appellations. Their names were listed in an appendix of the Dungeon Master's Guide, given as: Errtu, Ter-Soth and Wendonai, with Balor itself being the greatest and most powerful of them all; this edition of the D&D game included its own version of the type VI demon, known as the roaring demon, first appearing in the Immortal Rules set, in the DM's Guide to Immortals. The roaring lesser fiend appeared in the Wrath of the Immortals set, in "Book One: Codex of the Immortals".
In this edition, demons were reintroduced in the Outer Planes Appendix of the Monster Compendium, relabeled as tanar'ri, the Type I through VI designations were dropped in favor of a species name for each type. This creature became known as the balor, a "true tanar'ri", taking the name of the most powerful of the Type VI Demons as the species name for the entire breed and removing much of their individuality. and reprinted in the Monstrous Manual. The balor true tanar'ri appeared for the Planescape campaign setting in the first Planescape Monstrous Compendium Appendix. Balors were most no longer given individual names in print referred to as "a balor demon" or similar, their numbers were increased drastically, from only six in existence to hundreds of thousands or more, as the plane they inhabited, the Abyss, was said to be composed of an infinite number of infinite layers and the numbers of tanar'ri were said to be infinite. Balors were no longer ranked just below the Demon Lords and Princes, several other types of non-unique tanar'ri were introduced above them, such as the molydeus.
The balor appears in the Monster Manual for this edition. The tanar-ri were now said to have been created by another, older subtype of demon, the obyrith, any native inhabitant of the Abyss is referred to as a demon; the relative power level of the balor remains the same as in 2nd Edition, but now allowance is made for varying power levels within the balor type, with increased size and hit dice possible, the possibility of a balor having character class levels Balors are once again given individual names in print in many instances and much of their individuality is restored, with class levels and varying hit dice being listed for individual balors The balor appears in the revised Monster Manual for this edition. The balor appears in the Monster Manual for this edition, again under the demon entry; the balor appears in the Monster Manual for this edition, again under the demon entry. The balor appeared in the D&D Miniatures: Underdark set #41, it appeared in the Legendary Evils set. Within the game world, balors are native to the Abyss.
In the original Monster Manual, balors are 12-foot-tall, winged humanoids with horns and demonic features. They prefer to wield many-tailed whips, they are able to shed darkness at will. They possess a strong charisma, they tend towards organized evil. Six balors are known to exist in the game's first edition. In the 2nd edition Monstrous Manual, balors are the most powerful tanar'ri, they exist to wage the Blood War, roam the Abyss, forming legions to command in battle. They have huge wings, venomous fangs, are surrounded by flame, they wield a greatsword that resembles a bolt of lightning. In the game's second edition, at least 24 balors are known to exist. In third edition version of the Monster Manual, balors are 12-foot-tall humanoids with bat wings, bull horns, clawed hands, a mane, their dark
Balrogs are fictional creatures in J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle-earth legendarium, they first appeared in print in his novel The Lord of the Rings, where the Fellowship of the Ring encounter one known as Durin's Bane in the Mines of Moria. Balrogs appeared in Tolkien's earlier writings, published posthumously in The Silmarillion and books. Balrogs are tall and menacing beings who can shroud themselves in fire and shadow, they appeared armed with fiery whips "of many thongs", used long swords. In Tolkien's conception, they could not be vanquished—a certain stature was required by the would-be hero. Only dragons rivalled their capacity for ferocity and destruction, during the First Age of Middle-earth, they were among the most feared of Morgoth's forces. According to The Silmarillion, the evil Vala Melkor corrupted lesser Maiar to his service in the days of his splendor before the making of Arda; these became known as "Demons of Might": Valaraukar in Quenya, Belryg in Sindarin. Upon the awakening of the Elves, the Valar captured Melkor and destroyed his fortresses Utumno and Angband.
But they overlooked the deepest pits, with many of Melkor's other allies, the Balrogs fled into hiding. When Melkor returned to Middle-earth from Valinor, now bearing the epithet Morgoth, he was attacked by Ungoliant, a spider-like creature; when the Noldor arrived in Beleriand in pursuit of Morgoth, they won a swift victory over his Orcs in the Dagor-nuin-Giliath. Fëanor pressed on towards Angband, but the Balrogs came against him, Fëanor was mortally wounded by Gothmog, Lord of Balrogs. Fëanor's sons fought off the Balrogs. In The Lays of Beleriand, The Lay of Leithian mentions Balrog captains leading Orcs: "the Orcs went forth to rape and war, Balrog captains marched before". Tolkien tells of two Balrogs slain by Elves in the fall of Gondolin. During the assault on the city, Ecthelion of the Fountain fought Gothmog, "each slew the other." Glorfindel fought a Balrog. In the War of Wrath that ended the First Age, most of the Balrogs were destroyed, although some including the Balrog known as Durin's Bane, managed to escape and hide in "caverns at the roots of the earth".
In The Fellowship of the Ring, the Fellowship ventured through Moria and were attacked in the Chamber of Mazarbul by Orcs and the Balrog. Gandalf faced the Balrog at the Bridge of Khazad-dûm and broke the Bridge, but was dragged down by the Balrog, he slew the Balrog but perished himself at the same time—to be sent back as the more powerful Gandalf the White. Tolkien's conception of Balrogs changed over time. In all his early writing, they are numerous. A host of a thousand of them is mentioned in the Quenta Silmarillion, while at the storming of Gondolin Balrogs in the hundreds ride on the backs of the Dragons, they are of twice human size, were killed in battle by Elves and Men. They were fierce demons, associated with fire, armed with fiery whips of many thongs and claws like steel, Morgoth delighted in using them to torture his captives, they were loyal to Morgoth, once came out of hiding to save him from capture. In the published version of The Lord of the Rings, Balrogs became altogether more sinister and more powerful.
Christopher Tolkien notes the difference, saying that in earlier versions they were "less terrible and more destructible". He quotes a late margin note, not incorporated into the text saying "at most seven" existed. In writings they ceased to be creatures, but are instead Maiar, lesser Ainur like Gandalf or Sauron, spirits of fire whom Melkor had corrupted before the creation of the World. Power of the order of Gandalf's was necessary to destroy them, as Maiar, only their physical forms could be destroyed. Tolkien says of the Valar that they can change their shape at will, move unclad in the raiment of the world, meaning invisible and without form, but it seems that Morgoth and their associated Maiar could lose this ability: Morgoth, for example, was unable to heal his burns from the Silmarils or wounds from Fingolfin and Thorondor. Tolkien does not address this for Balrogs though at least in his conception they are Maiar. In "the Bridge of Khazad-dûm" in The Fellowship of the Ring, the Balrog appears "like a great shadow, in the middle of, a dark form, of man-shape maybe, yet greater".
Though the Balrog had entered the "large square chamber" of Mazarbul, at the Bridge of Khazad-dûm it "drew itself to a great height, its wings spread from wall to wall" in what was a vast hall. The Balrog's size and shape, are not given precisely; when Gandalf threw it from the peak of Zirakzigil, the Balrog "broke the mountain-side where he smote it in his ruin". Whether Balrogs have wings is unclear; this is due to Tolkien's changing conception of Balrogs, but to his imprecise but suggestive and figurative description of the Balrog that confronted Gandalf in Moria. The three key quotations: His enemy halted again, facing him, the shadow about it reached out like two vast wings. … it drew itself up to a great height, its wings were spread from wall to w
The Lord of the Rings
The Lord of the Rings is an epic high fantasy novel written by English author and scholar J. R. R. Tolkien; the story began as a sequel to Tolkien's 1937 fantasy novel The Hobbit, but developed into a much larger work. Written in stages between 1937 and 1949, The Lord of the Rings is one of the best-selling novels written, with over 150 million copies sold; the title of the novel refers to the story's main antagonist, the Dark Lord Sauron, who had in an earlier age created the One Ring to rule the other Rings of Power as the ultimate weapon in his campaign to conquer and rule all of Middle-earth. From quiet beginnings in the Shire, a hobbit land not unlike the English countryside, the story ranges across Middle-earth, following the course of the War of the Ring through the eyes of its characters, not only the hobbits Frodo Baggins, Samwise "Sam" Gamgee, Meriadoc "Merry" Brandybuck and Peregrin "Pippin" Took, but the hobbits' chief allies and travelling companions: the Men, Aragorn, a Ranger of the North, Boromir, a Captain of Gondor.
The work was intended by Tolkien to be one volume of a two-volume set, the other to be The Silmarillion, but this idea was dismissed by his publisher. For economic reasons, The Lord of the Rings was published in three volumes over the course of a year from 29 July 1954 to 20 October 1955; the three volumes were titled The Fellowship of The Two Towers and The Return of the King. Structurally, the novel is divided internally into six books, two per volume, with several appendices of background material included at the end; some editions combine the entire work into a single volume. The Lord of the Rings has since been translated into 38 languages. Tolkien's work has been the subject of extensive analysis of its origins. Although a major work in itself, the story was only the last movement of a larger epic Tolkien had worked on since 1917, in a process he described as mythopoeia. Influences on this earlier work, on the story of The Lord of the Rings, include philology, mythology and the author's distaste for the effects of industrialization, as well as earlier fantasy works and Tolkien's experiences in World War I.
The Lord of the Rings in its turn is considered to have had a great effect on modern fantasy. The enduring popularity of The Lord of the Rings has led to numerous references in popular culture, the founding of many societies by fans of Tolkien's works, the publication of many books about Tolkien and his works; the Lord of the Rings has inspired, continues to inspire, music and television, video games, board games, subsequent literature. Award-winning adaptations of The Lord of the Rings have been made for radio and film. In 2003, it was named Britain's best novel of all time in the BBC's The Big Read. Thousands of years before the events of the novel, the Dark Lord Sauron had forged the One Ring to rule the other Rings of Power and corrupt those who wore them: three for Elves, seven for Dwarves, nine for Men. Sauron was defeated by an alliance of Men led by Gil-galad and Elendil, respectively. In the final battle, son of Elendil, cut the One Ring from Sauron's finger, causing Sauron to lose his physical form.
Isildur claimed the Ring as an heirloom for his line, but when he was ambushed and killed by the Orcs, the Ring was lost in the River Anduin. Over two thousand years the Ring was found by one of the river-folk called Déagol, his friend Sméagol fell under strangled Déagol to acquire it. Sméagol was hid under the Misty Mountains; the Ring gave him long life and changed him over hundreds of years into a twisted, corrupted creature called Gollum. Gollum lost the Ring, his "precious", as told in The Hobbit, Bilbo Baggins found it. Meanwhile, Sauron took back his old realm of Mordor; when Gollum set out in search of the Ring, he was tortured by Sauron. Sauron learned from Gollum. Gollum was set loose. Sauron, who needed the Ring to regain his full power, sent forth his powerful servants, the Nazgûl, to seize it; the story begins in the Shire, where the hobbit Frodo Baggins inherits the Ring from Bilbo Baggins, his cousin and guardian. Neither hobbit is aware of the Ring's nature, but Gandalf the Grey, a wizard and an old friend of Bilbo, suspects it to be Sauron's Ring.
Seventeen years after Gandalf confirms his guess, he tells Frodo the history of the Ring and counsels him to take it away from the Shire. Frodo sets out, accompanied by his gardener and friend, Samwise "Sam" Gamgee, two cousins, Meriadoc "Merry" Brandybuck and Peregrin "Pippin" Took, they are nearly caught by the Black Riders, but shake off their pursuers by cutting through the Old Forest. There they are aided by Tom Bombadil, a strange and merry fellow who lives with his wife Goldberry in the forest; the hobbits reach the town of Bree, where they encounter a Ranger named Strider, whom Gandalf had mentioned in a letter. Strider persuades the hobbits to take him on as their protector. Together, they leave Bree after another close escape from the Black Riders. On the hill of Weathertop, they are again attacked by the Black Riders, who wound Frodo with a cursed blade. Strider leads the hobbits towards the Elven refuge of Rivendell. Frodo falls deathly ill from the wound; the Black Riders nearly capture him at the Ford of Bruinen, but flood waters summoned by Elrond, master of Rivendell, rise up and overwhelm them.