By Eric Teeters
Role-playing has many forms, but I am here to only talk about a few of them and the types of role-players. First off, role-playing is for anyone who has an active imagination or just likes to play things where they decide outcomes through choices. Some people look down on role-playing for various reason, but they might not understand that role-playing promotes creativity, quick thinking, and strategic planning to name a few. There are also many different types of roleplaying games.
Tabletop/ Pen & Paper RPGs
Tabletop RPGs (Role Playing Games), which include Dungeon & Dragons, Pathfinder, and The Hero System, usually have set rules to create characters and use abilities. They also cover a lot of challenges and rewards for the characters. The players work on a quest and exp/loot system, which means you get a quest and then you can gain exp and loot from the creatures you fight during the quest. The tabletop design for an RPG works with friends getting around a table and one person usually is the one who calls the shots and describes the setting and the characters in it. The ones who aren’t calling the shots usually are the main characters in the role-play. The shot-caller usually paints a pretty good picture of the situation for the characters to decide what to do and to either interact with the other characters or the NPCs (Non-playable characters). The shot-caller usually plays the voices of the NPCs making them interact back with the characters. For the players, there is no script, the players have to try and act out what their character might decide, based on their abilities and role.d
In Text-Based RPGs, the players usually use forums or other forms of messaging systems (I personally use a messenger app). This type of role-playing is my favorite because there is a main story, but you don’t have a one-line path you have to follow because your choices are determined by you and not a dice. Text RPGs are sometimes usually made up of a group of 10 or so, but if you’re just starting out, I suggest that you start out with a smaller group so you can get a feel for the whole program. When you have been in it for awhile then move to bigger groups, and then you can get more practice with those bigger groups.
There are a lot of things that I could tell you about text-based RPGs, but I’ll keep it short and simple. First, don’t make your character OP(overpowered). It will make everyone unhappy. Two, don’t play as too many characters at once because it can get overly complicated and even sometimes confuse the player themselves (I speak from experience). Three, text-based is a way of channeling some escape from reality. It really shows people who you want to be. Always remember that your character is an extension of yourself so use some of your actual personality. The last bit of advice I could give for this form is to keep it simple and have fun.
LARPING (Live Action Role-Playing)
LARPING is a different form of RPG because it brings it into the real life, and it actually looks really fun. I haven’t done it myself, but I understand the concept of it. You dress up as an original character, and you go out to a field and kind of just fight it out. You can also interact with more of the characters/NPCs, and the rules are a lot alike to those of Tabletop gaming. There are still a lot of rules you have to follow, but other than that, the complete immersion to this form is what makes it great. There is no script like many other RPGs, and the character gets to act out their character in the real world. If you wanna be really active in a fantasy world, then I suggest this form of RPG.
MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games)
Although this form takes things from the previous forms, this one is on a much bigger scale with players from all over the world. The previous is either in real life, on paper, or just texting, but a MMORPG is a virtual game where you still level up. The difference is that the creators create the world for you, and you just run your character through the world. Unlike many other forms of RPGs, this is set with a goal with side quest to help you level up, so you can take on the main quest. Many games that are well known by the MMORPG community are World of Warcraft, Everquest, or EVE online. This form of RPG offers more depth into a storyline, and sometimes the MMORPG characters are what LARPers use as their characters for real-life battles. This form is chosen by many RPG players, but all role-players chose their own way to do RPG and a few do all of them.
Alongside the different forms of Role-plays one can do, you also have types of Role-players who either help or hinder the role-play. I will be listing all seven of the types, and if you play RPGs, then maybe you are one of these. So without further ado, lets start with our first type.
The 24/7 Role-Player
This type seems to always to be online whenever you role-play. It almost seems as if they don’t put down their phone. There is a lot of theory that they don’t sleep at all, but I mean that is because every time the chat is revived they are online. They are usually the most experienced; other times its because they have no one to talk to. Usually, this type of role-player has a dark and mysterious past.
This person usually drifts in and out of RPs and has a hard time catching up. They will hear from them for that day and maybe not for the rest of the week. This form usually has the worst timing but a very interesting RP style. They usually have problems with internet slang. They usually hinder the RP especially if the story is crucial to them.
The One-Liner Role-Player
This type is another that can hinder a RP. It all has to do with what they say and the actions they take. While other types usually type long paragraphs of what their character is doing and saying, this one will usually only reply with either a sentence of dialogue or action. This can get frustrating because the other person usually has to do most of the work, and while these types can get frustrating, they are the most common among role-players. This type comes in handy when playing multiple characters at once, and you are running out of things to say with all of your characters you are trying to play as. In a way, this type both hinders and helps RPs.
The Literate Role-Player
This type, unlike the previous one, writes out long paragraphs stating what their character is doing, saying, and how they feel. These ones usually take the longest to reply back to you because while they have a very detailed explanation of where their character stands in the RP, they usually take 5-10 minutes to get back to you. These type of role-players help a lot to the RP because they push more detail to the scene that was previously set up.
The OP (Over Powered) Role-Player
This type is the type of people that irritate role-player because they one-punch everything and think they are stronger than all the characters. This is one of the people that hinder a RP from being good especially when other players are trying to develop serious plot lines. They don’t usually build up to anything very interesting because they don’t develop their characters. Basically, their character was “born” awesome. Last thing I will say is they are extremely boring and are annoying.
The Off-Topic Role-Player
This type of role-player are the ones who join into a RP but have no intent to follow the rules. They are super annoying and don’t follow the plot line and really hinder those who are trying to actually accomplish a story. They make up random stuff, and they never take the RP seriously. Every RP has one, and you know who you are.
The Know it all Role-Player
This type usually knows everything about whatever your role-playing about, which can help the RP. If some of the other players get lost, this type is always there to help. They have knowledge of various of fighting styles and weapons, so when these types get put into a RP, get ready for an extensive knowledge that you might or might not care about.