The FAQ says?

Role-playing Games - Stack Exchange is for gamemasters and players of tabletop, paper-and-pencil role-playing games.

We've had a slight bit of discussion about LARPs that seem to indicate "maybe" but no real LARP activity.

We've discussed board games and came to the conclusion of no.

So, what about the other ancillaries, typs of roleplaying?. And how should this impact the FAQ.

Return to FAQ Index


5 Answers 5


We do include:

  • traditional roleplaying games
  • story games
  • live-action roleplaying games (LARPs)
  • experimental RPGs (which will sometimes deliberately stretch the definition of "roleplaying game" to see what happens)
  • free-form roleplaying games (Norwegian style, Jeepform, and other games with socially-mediated procedures that accomplish what traditional mechanics do)
  • home-brewed roleplaying games
  • any of the above played through an computer, letter mail, or other medium

We do not include:

  • computer roleplaying games1 (CRPGs, i.e. Final Fantasy VII, not RPGs like above that just happen to use the computer as a medium, i.e. D&D 4e over Skype)
  • board games2 (i.e. Advanced HeroQuest, Castle Ravenloft)
  • wargames2 (i.e. Warhammer 40k, Battlesystem, Heroclix)
  • Choose Your Own Adventure–type books, even if they have dice mechanics3
  • MUDs, MUSHes, MOOs, MUCKs, or other multi-user text-based worlds1
  • MMORPGs (Massively-Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Games)1
  • card games, collectible or otherwise2
  • dice games, collectible or otherwise2

We make exceptions for questions that are primarily about something on the do list that simply uses or refers to one of the do nots in some way. For example:

  • On-topic: How can I use WH40k to play out a big battle that is the background of a Rogue Trader adventure?
  • Off-topic: Are there Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim mods that add D&D equipment and magic items?

1. May be on-topic at Arqade, depending on the question.
2. May be on-topic at Board & Card Games SE, depending on the question.
3. May be on-topic at Science-Fiction & Fantasy SE, depending on the question.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Here's a borderline example to chew on: Does Neverwinter Nights count as a do not as a MMORPG or CRPG, or does it count as a do as a really elaborate virtual game table for playing D&D 3.x? \$\endgroup\$ Oct 6, 2010 at 23:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ I've heard of NWN being used as a tool to facilitate games of regular D&D. I think if the questions are in relation to this use, they should be regarded as relevant. Questions that solely treat NWN as a CRPG/MMORPG on its own should remain excluded. \$\endgroup\$
    – Iszi
    Oct 15, 2010 at 19:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Iszi That would make it fall under the exception I wrote above. Maybe that's the real test? \$\endgroup\$ Oct 16, 2010 at 4:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ MMORPGs are listed as "for the same reason as CRPGs", but I notice that CRPGs don't actually have a stated reason here. Let me be clear: I am not arguing the point, I agree that they don't seem to fit this site. However, don't we need to give a reason of some sort? I'm pretty sure I've read elsewhere that "being on-topic on one SE site is not, in and of itself, a reason for a question to be considered off-topic on another." \$\endgroup\$ Mar 10, 2016 at 20:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ @DanHenderson Sorry, yeah, the “for the same reason” was originally just meaning “because it's a kind of CRPG”, but it looks like it's referencing the parenthetical on CRPGs, which is not a reason but an exception (which is also mentioned after the list anyway). I'll remove that. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 10, 2016 at 20:47

We do include games like Once Upon A Time or The Extraordinary Adventures of Baron Munchausen, that is storytelling games where players take turns telling a story utilizing some set of mechanics.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Did you mean for lines 2 and 3 to be one entry? That's a strange split. Also, if I play Sorcerer on a MUSH (and I've done this) using all the normal procedures and rules for Sorcerer, is that in scope here? (I would think so.) Also, if I play D&D using Skype/Ventrilo and Contested Ground or some other virtual table top, is that in scope here? (I would think so.) \$\endgroup\$
    – Adam Dray
    Oct 6, 2010 at 20:12

We should add into this list (Unless I've missed them)

  • PBEM games - traditional roleplaying games but played by email/snailmail
  • PBP games - Play By Post games - roleplaying games played via a forum, IRC or similar medium.
  • \$\begingroup\$ "RPGs like above that just happen to use the computer as a medium, i.e. D&D 4e over Skype" are already in the list. \$\endgroup\$ Sep 10, 2013 at 17:34

We do not include computer RPGs of any type. There is another StackExchange for that.

Thus we do not include

  • Single-Player Games
  • Text-based
  • Multi-user Games (MUDs, MUSHs, MU*)
  • Graphical Online Games or MMORPGs
  • Social Media Games
  • Alternate Reality Games
  • Or any other flavor of computer game
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ By "Single-Player Games" do you mean "Single-Player Computer Games"? Because this question about solo, non-computer RPGs seems to be uncontroversial, at least regarding whether it's on-topic. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 6, 2010 at 22:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thus the "We do not include computer RPGs of anytype" \$\endgroup\$
    – anon186
    Oct 7, 2010 at 15:31

We include Shared-author fiction when they become storytelling games.

Shared-author fiction is where a story is told (or written) in successive pieces by different authors. It is distinct from other forms of collaborative writing in that each piece of text is written by a single author. Thus, a simplistic shared-author piece might be made by two people where one person writes odd-numbered pages while the other writes even-numbered pages. The story is written in order, where each author must pick up where the last one left off and continue in a coherent narrative.

This becomes role-playing when each author has associated characters which they own. Then each author may write a section about what their character does. These are role-playing games of a sort which these days are typically played online using web-based bulletin boards or other internet forums to post the story text. Unlike most computer games or tabletop games, a true shared-author game has rules structured as etiquette and style guides rather than means of resolution (i.e. "no curse words", "no sexual situations", etc.). Often the author of a given character has final word over anything that seriously impacts that character. i.e. A character can only be wounded or killed with that player's permission.

Shared-author/role-playing sites frequently are based on science fiction and fantasy television series -- evolving out of the phenomenon of "fan fiction". There are numerous Star Trek shared-author RPGs, for example, along with Xena, Buffy, and various Japanese anime series.

Really, there is no clear line between shared-author RPGs and others. The form is distinct mainly in that it creates a (hopefully) coherent text narrative as its product. However, it certainly can overlap with tabletop play and online computer games. Some tabletop games are played over email (called Play-By-Email or PBEM). I list below a few links to what I would consider shared-author roleplaying games.

Summary taken from http://www.darkshire.net/jhkim/rpg/whatis/ because I'm lazy.

  • \$\begingroup\$ IMO out of scope \$\endgroup\$
    – mxyzplk
    Oct 6, 2010 at 19:15
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ Why? Is the requirement a rules book? Where do you draw the line? If we carve this as out we should carve all online play as being out of scope. And then theres a rather deep set bias along gender lines that we should be very, very careful about. \$\endgroup\$
    – anon186
    Oct 6, 2010 at 19:40
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ I think the difference is vanishingly small between shared-author fiction and many "story games" that we recognize as RPGs. In my discussions with people who play these games, they think of them as RPGs and they can usually explain pretty complicated social rules for playing them. The rules often are just not written down. \$\endgroup\$
    – Adam Dray
    Oct 6, 2010 at 20:10
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ I think the differentiator isn't whether the sharing authors have characters, but whether there is a game-style mediation of the shared process. Story-telling + game-able rules → story-telling game. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 6, 2010 at 22:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ Montsegur doesn't have any real "game-style mediation of the shared process." It's just storytelling and role-playing, with no conflict resolution system at all, yet it's clearly (to me) a roleplaying game. Montsegur is very similar to what shared-author-fiction is doing, if not identical but for the internet medium. \$\endgroup\$
    – Adam Dray
    Oct 7, 2010 at 15:10
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ Theoretical wonkery aside, I think this site will serve people pretty well if it's "I play Baron Munchausen/Montsegur and have this question," I think it won't serve them or others well if it's "I like to tell stories." Online MMOs are out of scope so it doesn't make me sad for online collaborative fiction to be out of scope. I'm not saying shared author fiction shouldn't have its own SE, but it isn't this one. Some RPGs get close to being board games, but board games are off topic. There's never a line in the sand in reality, but there's clear borders when you step back and look. \$\endgroup\$
    – mxyzplk
    Oct 7, 2010 at 21:59
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @AdamDray Montsegur 1244 totally has rules that mediate and shape play. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 8, 2013 at 21:51

You must log in to answer this question.