A roleplaying game (RPG) is a type of game where players assume the roles of fictional characters via improvisations. At its core, an RPG is a form of interactive and collaborative storytelling. Whereas cinema, novels and television shows are passive, RPGs engage the participants actively, allowing them to simultaneously be audience, actor, and author.
Tabletop roleplaying games
In a tabletop RPG, participants play the parts of characters in an imaginary scenario that is organized, adjudicated, and sometimes created by a "gamemaster" or "GM," whose role is both to describe the setting and cast of characters for the players to interact with, and to adjudicate how these interactions proceed. He or she may also be responsible for advancing some kind of storyline or plot, albeit one which is subject to the somewhat unpredictable behavior of the players or outcome of the dice rolls.
There have been, to date, two producers of licensed Star Wars roleplaying products. West End Games, produced Star Wars: The Roleplaying Game from 1987 until 1998. The creation of background material for the West End Games' game line had considerable influence on consolidating the formerly disorganized Expanded Universe into a coherent fictional universe. Wizards of the Coast took over the license and produced its Star Wars Roleplaying Game from 1999 until 2010. Apart from these official games, unauthorized free "conversions" of the Star Wars setting for other roleplaying systems have appeared online.
The webcomic Darths & Droids is a parodic work based on the premise that the Star Wars story is an evolving campaign being played by players in a new setting invented by their GM.
Computer roleplaying games
The term roleplaying game is also used for certain video games where the player takes on the role of a character in an imaginary world, and makes choices which advance a story. These games are often based on the "table-top" or "pencil-and-paper" RPGs described above, and describe characters using their rules. However, without the improvisation of a human gamemaster and other human players, the storyline tends to be slightly more restricted.
While many Star Wars video and computer games have storylines and elements of roleplaying, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic and its sequel, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords are the only single-player computer roleplaying games set in the Star Wars galaxy. Both games are based on the mechanics of Wizards of the Coast's Star Wars Roleplaying Game. However, the creation of "modifications" has led to an expanded RPG universe where one would not exist. Such an example includes Star Wars: Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy which has various groups implementing RPG modifications to turn a free-for-all into a roleplayable universe.
Another type of computer roleplaying game is the "Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game", or "MMORPG", where numerous players take on characters and interact online. Star Wars: Galaxies was one of three Star Wars MMOs, along with Star Wars: The Old Republic and the free-to-play Clone Wars Adventures. Its rules are not derived from either of the table-top RPGs.
- Role-playing game on Wikipedia
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